As Sheddi said, I got the pre-approval to post this here. I hope there is something everyone can glean from it.
This Executive Summary contains a brief list of details of the attacks in Mumbai starting on 26 November.
• 10 men who are associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) performed the attacks (Rabasa et al., 2009)
• Attacks occurred at the following locations: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Leopold Café, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Oberoi Trident Hotel, Metro Cinema, Cama and Albless Hospital, and Nariman House. (CNN Library, 2014)
• Attacks started at approximately 9:20 PM on November 26 and hostilities ceased at approximately 9:00 AM November 29 (CNN Library, 2014).
• Total estimated dead between 164 (CNN Library, 2014) and 172 (Rabasa et al., 2009).
• Weapons used by the attackers were conventional weapons along with explosive devices. Some of the weapons included: AK-56 (Chinese AK-47 variant), H&K MP5 (assumed taken from Indian Security units), 9mm pistols, hand grenades, and IEDs. (Rabasa et al., 2009).
• 10 men were split into teams (3 2-man teams and a 4-man team) and given separate targets, this would prevent all the attackers from being in one area. This added to the chaos and conflicting reports as to where attacks were taking place. (Rabasa et al., 2009)
• Communication gear used by the attackers included: cell phones, a satellite phone, and Blackberries. (Rabasa et al., 2009)
• Attacks served as a message to common Indian citizens that the government cannot protect you from us. This would cause fear in the middle class who use most of the public locations which came under attack. The attacks would also cause additional tensions in the Kashmir providence which is a mix of Muslim and Hindu religions. (Rabasa et al., 2009)
In February of 2008, a suspected terrorist was arrested with a drawing of the Taj Hotel in his possession and during interrogation he stated he had begun reconnaissance in late 2007. (Rabasa et al, 2009). This should have been an indicator to Indian Intelligence and law enforcement that an attack was in the planning. Additional resources should have, at a minimum, been allocated to increase security around the Taj Hotel. Then additional analysis should have been able to lead to other soft targets with a similar profile such as the Oberoi Trident Hotel. These two hotels accounted for approximately 60 of the deaths during the entire Mumbai terror attack (CNN Library, 2014).
Intelligence agencies within India had received warnings from multiple sources of an impending attack (Rabasa et al, 2009). These were ignored due to no specific dates or places being named within those intelligence channels. Communication of these warnings also never trickled down to local authorities who might have been able to increase preparations and response times in the event of an attack.
Also the providence of Kashmir has been a point of conflict between India and Pakistan since they British rule ended in 1947. Several wars have been fought over Kashmir between India and Pakistan. This shows a historical pattern of violence toward India and several previous terrorist attacks on India outside the Kashmir region.
Port and coastal security seemed to be lax when considering the Indian fishing vessel was not searched or even radioed for information. By entering by sea, they could bypass any security at land checkpoints where access would be more restrictive. The entire attack could have been stopped in this phase of the terrorist operations since all the terrorist and their equipment were on that single fishing vessel.
Another environmental risk was media coverage and the use of civilians posting information on Twitter. This allowed the attackers to know what the media knew, and in this incident, the media was reporting more than even the law enforcement agencies knew at many times. By allowing the terrorist to see media content, they could see what law enforcement was doing, where they are moving, and theorized what they are planning.
The two hotels attacked, the Taj Hotel and Oberoi Trident Hotel, were known to be hotels used by international travelers and the elite within India. The nature of these targets would gather world media outlets to cover the attacks since it would become a more international affair with citizens from multiple nations being affected.
With the knowledge of a possible attack occurring, Indian officials knowing it is a possible Muslim group should have informed the Nariman House, which is run by the Jewish Chabad Lubavitch movement, due to the history of attacks against Jews. They may have been able to make their own plans to implement if an attack was started. Also they may have left the area knowing an attack had been rumored in the intelligence community.
Response times by authorities was a huge issue when dealing with this terrorist attack. Local units took almost 5 hours and when they arrived they did not completely execute their protocols such as isolation of the terrorist and setup of command posts (Rabasa et al., 2009). The next special response team, the Marine Commandos (a.k.a. The Marcos), did not arrive until later and were responsible for perimeter security for later operations (Black Cats Corner the Terrorists). Finally, 11 hours later, the special operations unit, National Security Guard (NSG) also known as the Black Cat Commandos, arrived and began operations. Their commander had 4 key points for his commandos (Black Cats Corner the Terrorists):
1. No loss of innocent lives
2. Try and take the terrorists alive
3. Minimize collateral damage
4. Screen hostages to prevent terrorist from slipping through their security net.
These teams had limited knowledge of the areas where they were going to be performing hostage rescue, but the terrorists had intimate knowledge through their reconnaissance efforts earlier (Rabasa et al., 2009). This reduced the effectiveness of the commando teams since the terrorist could attack and then move via secret areas throughout the hotels. The clearing of the hotel was a slow process. The Black Cats were also under equipped and did not have access to night vision gear which made a night time attack impossible.
Announcement by Indian officials as to when certain units were being deployed and how many men would be in those units, gave critical information to the terrorists as to when potential rescue operations would be taking place (Rabasa et al., 2009).
The RAND report (Rabasa et al., 2009) defined a deficiency in the response protocols used by Indian authorities. By addressing this weakness, local law enforcement should have implemented a means to remove communications in the area through jamming devices or disconnecting multimedia devices such as internet and television cable, and ensure their devices would not be affected. Jamming devices can be set for a group of frequencies, such as cell phones, in order to stop everyone in the area, especially the terrorist, from communicating with external sources. Eventually, Indian Intelligence intercepted communications and discovered that these attacks were being “supervised” by another individual in Pakistan. By adding the process of limiting or elimination communication methods used by the terrorist teams, the teams will not be able to get information to which they can respond or react. The action would also have removed their ability to see media stories and online sources such as Twitter.
The RAND report (Rabasa et al., 2009) suggested there are gaps in the coastal surveillance capabilities of India due to a shortage of ships and aviation units. One way to improve the coastal securities is to allow for vessels to monitor themselves by installing some form of panic device which could be required on all vessels tied to Indian cities. If another vessel were to be under attack, a crew individual could trigger the device which could indicate to Indian Coastal Authorities that additional attention needs to be paid to a particular craft. Also, the device should indicate GPS of the vessel. Once the device is activated, it stays activated until the monitoring agency has determined the status, such as false alarm, or even a hijacking. The device could be tied in with standard radio equipment of seagoing vessels. This should reduce costs to implement this solution due to the reuse of standard equipment on all seagoing vessels. This could also increase the response time to active incidents instead of performing random checks in order to find suspicious activities. There is also a possibility that the system could be used to draw off law enforcement officials by those involved with smuggling or other illegal activities by having a clean ship trigger an alarm, thus allowing the ship with the illegal cargo to slip by authorities.
As detailed in the Operational Risks, the response times were excessive. A new plan to spread out the NSG Black Cat Commandos could position teams closer to major cities and be assigned a region of responsibility. They should also work in conjunction with local law enforcement to assign roles and responsibilities for each group involved. By working directly with these law enforcement units, everyone involved with a future incident would be more prepared to isolate incidents and protect the civilians. Mock tabletop exercises could be a monthly event held to keep leadership informed and ready to implement their response plans. Through these exercises, communications among the units involved would increase familiarity between the units to understand while unit A is blocking off street traffic, unit B is establishing a perimeter around the event, and unit C is gathering information about the building and local resources.
Black Cats Corner the Terrorists. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://www.ahctv.com/videos-3/black-cat
Black Ops Extra: Mumbai Attacks Testimonials. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://www.ahctv.com/videos-3/mumbai-at
CNN Library. (2014, November 19). Mumbai Terror Attacks Fast Facts - CNN.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/world/asi
Did Terrorists Use Twitter to Increase Situational Awareness? (2013, February 14). Retrieved February 27, 2015, from http://irevolution.net/2013/02/14/terro
Mumbai Attacks a Mixture of Confusion and Terror. (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2015, from http://www.ahctv.com/videos-3/mumbai-at
Rabasa, A., Blackwill, R.D, Chalk, P., Cragin, K., Fair, C.C., Jackson, B.A, ... Tellis, A.J (2009, January 9). The Lessons of Mumbai.
Timeline: Mumbai under attack. (2008, January 12). Retrieved February 27, 2015, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7754438.stm