There is no sense of it being the new war - or the next war. On this, the republican assessment matches the analysis of the intelligence world.
The dissidents, while capable of "something", are not capable of a "struggle" or a "campaign".
Those days are over. There is not the wherewithal, in terms of numbers, weapons and support.
But, for the first time in a long time, the dissidents have the security and the political worlds thinking and talking.
Those two recent shootings, two police officers wounded, the threats against republicans and members of the Orange Order, all of this has been knit together to create a sense of real and present danger.
The dissidents will do something more. This is their moment.
But for what purpose - where is it leading, and for how much longer will it be tolerated?
This is MI5's first test in its new lead role on national security here.
So, can it with all its intelligence gadgetry get inside the heads of those who are pulling the strings?
Up until those recent shootings, dissident activity had been an embarrassment of one operational failure followed by another.
They were infiltrated and easy to interrupt.
Certainly that was the story. Then, one police officer was shot and then another, all within a matter of days.
The dissidents have moved when there is an issue and an opportunity.
That issue is republican support for policing - something on which the dissidents can play.
They also know that they can move without the threat of an IRA response - an IRA that is emerging more and more into the political process.
But what if a police officer is killed? And what if a republican is attacked? What new pressures would that create?
These are questions that now have to be asked. It is the "something" the dissidents are capable of.
"That's why you need the intelligence. That's how you stop it."
These are the words of a senior police officer, who is talking about intelligence at a number of levels, not just the information that is gleaned through surveillance and bugging.
This is also a test of the new relationship between the republican community and the PSNI.
"Are people going to stand up to be counted?" that senior police officer asked.
"You can't go in and close your door and hope it all goes away," he continued.
He does not see any significant change in the overall dissident threat.
"Somewhere down the line some of this was going to come off for them. They will not be able to sustain it."
But they could do damage.
What if a republican was attacked? And what if an IRA that is melting into the peace, was forced to respond?
Is this part of the dissident calculation - part of its plan to destabilise the new political arrangements, or is that thinking too much about what is happening, giving strategic thought to activity that is often sporadic, opportunistic and which has never been sustained?
The dissidents have not got a war capability - but, in these most recent activities and in the threats they have made since, they are making people think.
"What struck me in the last few times that I myself have been threatened, is the reaction from my children, saying, 'Well what does that mean? Do we need to keep the door closed - take more precautions?'" This is the Sinn Fein representative Gerry Kelly speaking.
"So it does have quite a considerable impact on your family. And there are people who have been threatened for the first time, and it has taken them by surprise. I can see it when I'm talking to them. So, we have to take this seriously."
And that is what is happening. The threats are being taken seriously - but the dissidents are not a new IRA with the ability to make war.