When, on September 11, 2001, the world community witnessed hitherto unimaginable brutal terroristic attacks, this marked the beginning of a new era in the fight against terrorism. The attacks not only targeted at the United States of America but against all free and democratic communities. The European Union reacted immediately by founding a network of Special Intervention Units: the ATLAS Network. 20 years later, 38 counter-terrorism units out of 27 member states of the European Union and the three associated countries Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland, as well as the United Kingdom belong to this network. They all are united in the motto “ALL TOGETHER TO PROTECT YOU”. The primary aim of ATLAS is to harmonize the standards of all European counter-terrorism units. So that the units can act in their best possible way during joint operations and can meet their legal mandate to protect the lives of innocent from terrorism and violent crime. The new release “ATLAS Network – European Special Intervention Units Combating Terrorism and Violent Crime” is the first reference book reporting this unique network. Therefore, the ATLAS Network and its 38 participating units opened their doors and archives. As a result, a fascinating and exclusive insight into this European success story has emerged. The book gives a detailed introduction about the development of the ATLAS Network, about the milestones and about upcoming key aspects.
The organisational structure and the close cooperation with Europol are explained in detail. The many forums and expert groups of ATLAS focus on special topics and build up a platform for professional exchange and joint exercises. They will be presented in words and vision so that a wide insight into the numerous activities of the network is given. The meanwhile 38 special units of ATLAS will be illustrated with their operations, selection processes, training procedures and specific characteristics. Thus, the book provides a detailed encyclopaedia of European counter-terrorism units. To complete the portrait a chapter about weaponry and equipment is added.
To guarantee full authenticity, all 38 ATLAS units authorised their portraits. Several hundred, mostly unpublished and in some cases extremely spectacular photos offer fascinating insights into the everyday life of European counter- terrorism units.