On April 15, our nation was the victim of a terrorist attack at one of our most celebrated sporting events, the Boston Marathon. Citizens from across America were affected, including Nicole Gross, a personal trainer from Charlotte who suffered severe injuries to both legs. The images of chaos and destruction from this cowardly act were a stark reminder the freedoms we enjoy daily must be defended, yet like Nicole Gross, America must also show the resolve to march on.

The global landscape is constantly changing. America’s greatest threat is no longer the conventional armies of nation-states but unconventional warfare deployed by governments and loosely connected terrorist factions. Because of these constantly evolving threats, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R–VA) asked me to revive the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, which he previously chaired. This task force will enable Members of Congress to actively participate in monitoring new threats against our nation while providing a venue to inform the American people.

We have made great strides in protecting our nation from traditional terrorist threats, but there are other areas where we must improve dramatically.

  • Most Americans are unaware that our financial industry, defense agencies, and critical infrastructure systems endure thousands of cyber attacks each day.
  • Few understand the catastrophic effect of an electromagnetic pulse attack, which would cause widespread power outages and cripple the distribution of food, water, fuel, communications, emergency services, and all other infrastructure supporting our national welfare.
  • The incredible death toll that could result from a chemical weapon attack is rarely discussed, even amidst the turmoil in Syria, where known stockpiles of sarin have the potential to fall into the hands of Hezbollah or al-Qaeda.

Many experts and high-ranking officials consider these unconventional tactics to be the greatest threats to our nation. As chairman and member of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, I am dedicated to ensuring that due diligence is paid to each threat. Each member of this task force will be briefed by relevant agencies, committees, experts, and military personnel, allowing for honest and open communication in drafting effective, common-sense legislation. Our working relationship with Heritage will provide a great benefit to Members and their staff in advancing the goal of national security.

According to the Constitution, the primary role of the federal government is to protect against threats to American citizens. This task force is designed to achieve that goal.

Representative Robert Pittenger (R) represents the ninth congressional district of North Carolina.

Join Heritage and Representative Pittenger on July 25 at noon ET for a discussion on changing the paradigm of domestic counterterrorism.