This pattern suggests that Americans should brace for a coming swarm. Right now, most of our cities would be as hard-pressed as Mumbai was to deal with several simultaneous attacks. Our elite federal and military counterterrorist units would most likely find their responses slowed, to varying degrees, by distance and the need to clarify jurisdiction.
While the specifics of the federal counterterrorism strategy are classified, what is in the public record indicates that the plan contemplates having to deal with as many as three sites being simultaneously hit and using "overwhelming force" against the terrorists, which probably means mustering as many as 3,000 ground troops to the site. If that's an accurate picture, it doesn't bode well. We would most likely have far too few such elite units for dealing with a large number of small terrorist teams carrying out simultaneous attacks across a region or even a single city.
I have yet to see evidence that on a large scale the network capacity of "good guys" is definitely going to get out maneuvered by the terrorist cells (as many military centralized power control types would suggest). Just because the reaction to controlling the economy, intelligence, crime, disaster response and violence has been centralized does not mean that it will remain so.
From my perspective, I see much of the activity and action (stopping shoe bomber, trans-atlantic bombing plot, London night clubs, many other plots ...are spoiled BECAUSE everyone has cell phones.) As the barriers to acting "bad" have dropped SO TOO has the barrier to reporting and acting good. Good tips flow from people that don't want this nonsense to succeed.
The last of the 4 planes on 9/11 didn't reach Washington because people in the seats also had cell phones. They figured out within 20 min that the world had changed and figured out they needed to rush the cabin. The effectiveness of distributed attacks will also go down as culture becomes more "wired". Our relief efforts after every major crisis in the US has been significantly enhanced by increasing power of ad hoc networks of good guys (9/11 (clean up), the earthquakes in Ca, Katrina (Cajun Navy) the Tsunami. I am even betting we pull out of the economic crisis a hell of a lot faster than anyone is thinking BECAUSE we are hyper-connected and faster learning. Watch how fast confidence spreads)
The challenge is not as the military would suggest further powering the military and police but further engaging the public. Giving the public better tools to communicate and react in times of crisis (which many "military minds" want to cut off).
The obsession with the power of the terror networks (and arming up in response to the fear) does little to leverage the same network dynamics fueling the strength of the many. The rest of humanity that wish to live in a just, happy and peaceful world and until we start seeing ways to level communications imbalance between the bad guys and the bulk of humanity.