Searching the ADF website does not reveal a precise definition but does reveal past discussion papers which have confirmed that a clear definition is needed to help future planning of counter-terrorist measures as distinct from planning for conventional military action. For example, Major Adam Boyd uses the FBI definition of terrorism and then states that “a pre-eminent strategic studies speaker” at the 2004 Australian Command and Staff Course was “adamant that Australia did not have a comprehensive strategy to combat macro-terrorism” (15).
We need to be hardheaded and unsentimental about this, just as we’re hardheaded about the prevention of crime, disease, car accidents, and a thousand other more run-of-the-mill risks. How much do we think more police (or border guards or NSA programs or bombs) will make a difference, and at what point will we see diminishing marginal returns? At what point do we say: Yes, we could reduce the risk of successful terrorist attacks by another 5 percent if we added 5,000 more border guards, but the costs are just too high? Or even: We could reduce the risk by 85 percent if we turn France or the United States into police states, but we’d rather accept the added short-term risk than abandon the values that make our countries what they are?