Dry Runs

Most terrorist attacks are meticulously planned prior to execution. An important part of the planning process is the dry run, also known as the test run or rehearsal. The dry run allows terrorists the opportunity to see if the attack can be successfully carried out without encountering obstacles or detection. Dry runs may involve probing the effectiveness of screening equipment or procedures; the presence of law enforcement or security at specific times; or the presence of a desired number of victims.

Dry runs may involve determining if a specific substance, weapon or concealment method will be detected. So as to not reveal the plot, the terrorist may use a substance, article or concealment method that closely mimics the one to be used on the day of the attack, but that employs no unlawful item or activity. If the substance, article, or concealment method eludes detection, the dry run may be considered a success.

A vigilant observer may be alerted to a dry run owing to the suspicious nature of the activity. Any activity considered to be a test run should be reported. This may include leaving vehicles unattended in unusual locations, artfully concealing items while going through screening, or other unexplained suspicious circumstances.


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