2014 Mine Warfare Essay Contest Second Prize Winner
On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda—an international terrorist network—attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and tried to target the White House in Washington, DC. These terrorists sought to inflict damage upon American centers of economic, government, and military power, and to make clear that—despite superpower status—the United States is highly vulnerable to asymmetric attack. It is a stated goal of al-Qaeda and its splinter organizations to inflict economic pain, mass casualties, and panic upon the American homeland.
As a continental nation, the United States is bound to the planet’s waterways for both commerce and defense, and operates an intricate network of lake-, river-, and sea-ports as part of its Marine Transportation System.