discussion unilateral and preemptive action

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  1. Our strategies permit us unilateral, preemptive action. Does this justify action against Iran or North Korea with their nuclear programs? Does the national security strategy make us appear to the international community as aggressive, loners, passive, or cooperative?
  2. How will we know if our homeland security strategies are a success? What should we establish as gauges of success? Where does domestic terror threats play a role?

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Deterrence Influence in Counterterrorism A Component in the War on al Qaeda Paul K. Davis Brian Michael Jenkins Prepared for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency R National Defense Research Institute Approved for public release; distribution unlimited The research described in this report was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The research was conducted in RAND’s National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies under Contract DASW01-01-C-0004. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Davis, Paul K., 1943– Deterrence and influence in counterterrorism : a component in the war on al Qaeda / Paul K. Davis, Brian Michael Jenkins. p. cm. “MR-1619.” Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-8330-3286-0 1. Terrorism—Prevention. 2. Qaida (Organization) 3. September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001. I. Jenkins, Brian Michael. II.Title. HV6431 .D3 2002 363.3'2—dc21 2002035800 RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND® is a registered trademark. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of its research sponsors. Cover design by Barbara Angell Caslon © Copyright 2002 RAND All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from RAND. Published 2002 by RAND 1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 1200 South Hayes Street, Arlington, VA 22202-5050 201 North Craig Street, Suite 202, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1516 RAND URL: http://www.rand.org/ To order RAND documents or to obtain additional information, contact Distribution Services: Telephone: (310) 451-7002; Fax: (310) 451-6915; Email: order@rand.org PREFACE This monograph summarizes the findings of a six-month project on deterrence of terrorism, conducted jointly by RAND and the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). The project was initiated at the request of Dr. Anthony Tether, the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). RAND and IDA worked closely throughout the research and together held two day-long seminar/discussion meetings with a senior advisory group. The two organizations, however, developed separate final reports. These were by no means independent, because of the extensive prior interchange, but they provided DARPA with separate “takes” on the issues. The material in this monograph was initially provided to DARPA as an annotated briefing in July 2002, along with accompanying background papers. The project was sponsored by the Director of DARPA and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Center of RAND’s National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the defense agencies, and the unified commands. RAND provided research support funds to prepare this report. Comments may be addressed to Paul K. Davis (pdavis@rand. org), the project leader, or to RAND consultant Brian Jenkins (Brian_Jenkins@rand.org). iii CONTENTS Preface......................................... iii Figures and Tables ............................... ix Summary....................................... xi Acknowledgments ................................ xix Chapter One INTRODUCTION .............................. Objectives ................................... Approach .................................... 1 1 2 Chapter Two BACKGROUND: WHY DETERRING TERRORISTS IS SO DIFFICULT ............................... Overview .................................... Obstacles to Deterrence ........................ Terrorist Motivations Are Strong................ Deterrence and Eradication Do Not Fit Together Easily ................................... Terrorism Is a Way of Life ..................... Traditions of Violence Persist in the Clash of Civilizations .............................. There Is No Single Type of Terrorist ............. Chapter Three PRINCIPLES FOR INFLUENCING TERRORISTS ..... Going Beyond Deterrence ....................... Viewing Terrorist Organizations as Complex Adaptive Systems ......................... v 3 3 3 3 5 5 5 7 9 9 13 vi Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism A Broad View of System Influences ............. Decomposing the System into Classes of Actors................................... Decomposing the System into Classes of Influence ................................ Decomposing the System into a Life-Cycle Perspective ............................... A Decomposition in the Realm of Ideas .......... Other Decompositions ........................ Finding Situations Where Influencing Efforts May Work.................................... Conducting a Broad-Front Strategy ............... Developing a Persuasive, High-Minded Strategy ..... Manifest Strength, Purpose, and Determination ... Relentlessness and Effectiveness ............... Consistency with American Values and Moral Validity Apparent to Others ................. Balanced Strategy ........................... Chapter Four BROAD ISSUES OF STRATEGY .................. Orchestrating a Broad-Front Strategy ............. Improving the Capacity for Effective Distributed Decisionmaking and Action ................. Improving the Capacity for Rapid Centralized Decisions ................................ Relationship to the Influence Component of Counterterrorism.......................... The Strategic Significance of Efficiency, Even in War .................................. A Paradigm for Defense ........................ Chapter Five SOME CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES ................ Deterring Acquisition and Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction ......................... Threatening Anyone Who Even Tolerates WMD-Related Terrorism .................... Deterring Biological Weapons .................. Political Warfare: The Neglected Component of Antiterrorism Strategy...................... 13 14 16 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 27 27 28 31 31 31 33 35 36 37 39 39 40 41 46 Contents Putting at Risk What the Terrorists Hold Dear ...... Challenges in U.S.-Saudi Relations ............... Shared Interests but Competing Ideologies ....... The Next Steps.............................. The Pakistan Problem .......................... Balancing Interests: Realpolitik versus Idealism .... Upholding American Values in the War Against al Qaeda ................................. Chapter Six CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ........ The Story in Brief ............................. Next Steps for Research ........................ Appendix A. Cold War Concepts of Deterrence ................ B. Selected Definitions ........................... C. Methods for Analyzing Counterterrorism in a Complex Adaptive System ...................... D. Adapting the Constructs of Effects-Based Planning .. vii 47 49 49 51 52 53 54 59 59 61 63 67 69 73 Bibliography .................................... 77 About the Authors................................ 85 FIGURES AND TABLES Figures S.1. An Escalation Ladder of the Coerciveness of Influence ................................. 3.1. An Escalation Ladder of the Coerciveness of Influence ................................. 3.2. Two Types of Terrorists ..................... 3.3. The Actors in a Terrorist System .............. 3.4. A Systemic Perspective ...................... 3.5. The Life-Cycle Process of Individual Terrorists ... 3.6. A System Decomposition of a Would-Be Martyr’s Decision.................................. C.1. A Simple Game-Structured View .............. C.2. Factors in Red’s Decisions ................... D.1. Effects-Based Operations Operate in Physical and Cognitive Domains ..................... xii 10 11 15 17 19 21 70 71 75 Tables 3.1. Response to Islamist Terrorist Attacks Prior to September 11 ............................. 5.1. Threatening What the Terrorists and Their Supporters Hold Dear ....................... ix 27 48 SUMMARY PRINCIPLES This study was initiated by a request to develop a framework for deterring terrorism. It was subsequently broadened to address influence as well, which greatly increased the operating space for our research (Figure S.1), allowing us to consider measures ranging from co-optation to full-scale military attacks executed to deter future terrorist attacks (by al Qaeda or by others). This broadening of the problem also reflected a lesson gleaned from reviewing historical experience with terrorism: Successful strategies to combat terrorism spawned by serious, deep-rooted problems have involved first crushing the current threat and then bringing about changes to make terrorism’s reemergence less likely. Thus, although concepts such as co-optation and inducement are not effective for dealing with terrorists who have the unshakable commitment of a bin Laden, they do apply to others that the United States must try to influence. It is a mistake to think of influencing al Qaeda as though it were a single entity; rather, the targets of U.S. influence are the many elements of the al Qaeda system, which comprises leaders, lieutenants, financiers, logisticians and other facilitators, foot soldiers, recruiters, supporting population segments, and religious or otherwise ideological figures. A particular leader may not be easily deterrable, but other elements of the system (e.g., state supporters or wealthy financiers living the good life while supporting al Qaeda in the shadows) may be. What is xi xii Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism Deter next time by crushing now Deter next time by defeating now Increasing violence Deter next time by punishing now Deter by denial (defeat the attacks) Deter by increasing risks and disruption Deter by threat Dissuade Hold at risk what is dear to our enemies? Persuade Induce positively Co-opt Figure S.1—An Escalation Ladder of the Coerciveness of Influence needed is a multifaceted strategy that tailors influences to targets within the system. Terrorists are not a uniform group with an on-off switch. Deterrence, likewise, does not have an on-off switch. Although causing a member of al Qaeda to change his stripes may be out of the question, deterring individuals from attacking individual targets is not. To the contrary, the empirical record shows that even hardened terrorists dislike operational risks and may be deterred by uncertainty and risk. A foot soldier may willingly give his life in a suicide mission, and organizations may be quite willing to sacrifice such pawns, but mission success is very important and leaders are in some ways risk-averse. Terrorists recognize that their power depends on perceptions of whether they are winning or losing; their leaders are deeply concerned with control; and martyrdom in a stymied mission lacks the appeal of dying in a spectacular, successful attack. Summary xiii It is also important to recognize that al Qaeda does not have a single “center of gravity” whose destruction would bring down the whole organization. Nor does the United States have the information that would enable it to pursue such a finely tuned strategy. Consequently, the United States should adopt a broad-front strategy aimed at influencing the many different parts of the al Qaeda system. Where and when the big payoff will occur is a matter for future historians to ponder. This approach is feasible because different organs of government (regular military, special forces, law enforcement, and economic, diplomatic, and political elements) can be employed. Finally, to sustain its effort for the long term, the United States needs to have and disseminate a persuasive, high-minded strategy, analogous to the Cold War strategy that served the nation so well. Key attributes of that strategy should be: • Manifest strength and, perhaps even more important, manifest purpose and determination. • Consistency with American values in war and a moral validity apparent to others with whom the United States needs to work. • A balance between efforts to crush a particular terrorist organization and efforts to mitigate the factors that give the organization appeal and power (requiring consistent attention by policymakers and those who execute the strategy). CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES OF STRATEGY Turning to more specific issues, we conclude that the following challenges are of particular cross-cutting significance. Orchestrating the Broad-Front Strategy The campaign to defeat al Qaeda cuts across all of the normal boundaries of war (military, diplomatic, economic, law enforcement, etc.). It needs complex orchestration, requiring simultaneous initiatives at the polar ends of a dichotomy to develop the following: xiv Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism • Distributed actions. Theory, doctrine, rules of thumb, rules of engagement, and information systems are needed to facilitate near-continual distributed decisionmaking and timely, effective action by the diverse elements of the U.S. counterterrorism effort. Timely action is essential because of the distributed, fleeting, and networked nature of the enemy. Centralized command-control is not a good model here. • An improved capability for rapid, centralized decisions. No matter how successful the distributed-decisonmaking effort is, however, some tactical-level decisions that may have profound strategic and political effects will have to be made centrally. Traditional processes for such decisions are likely to be too slow. Efficiency Although effectiveness, not efficiency, is most important in war, the United States could defeat itself economically by attempting to do everything everywhere and protect everything too well. Because U.S. vulnerabilities are essentially infinite, the methods of systems analysis, including the influence component, should be applied to the war on terrorism. Focusing on Adaptiveness, Flexibility, and Robustness Deterrence depends significantly on convincing organizations such as al Qaeda and those who support it that any notion of defeating the United States—much less “bringing the United States down”—is ridiculous. Although it is unclear whether bin Laden and his associates ever had such grandiose notions, we know that the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan had a major impact on their thinking. As bin Laden stated in a 1998 interview,1 ______________ 1 John Miller, “Greetings America, My Name Is Osama bin Laden,” Esquire, February 1, 1999, based on an interview conducted in May 1998 (see Frontline, “Hunting for bin Laden,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ binladen/, updated September 13, 2001). Summary xv There is a lesson to learn from this for he who wishes to learn. . . . The Soviet Union entered Afghanistan in the last week of 1979, and with Allah’s help their flag was folded a few years later and thrown in the trash, and there was nothing left to call the Soviet Union. Even if bin Laden has finite goals, such as causing the United States to leave Saudi Arabia and back away more generally from Israel and the Middle East, he has spoken of defeating the U.S. by hitting its economy,2 and the zealotry of his agents is surely enhanced to the extent that the United States is seen as deeply vulnerable at home. The United States needs to demonstrate that it will not be brought down and will not close itself down; it must show that it is resilient and will take any punches, recover, and hit back very hard. Strengthening capabilities in this regard will depend on incentives and standards that encourage modularity, networking, rapid adaptation, and recovery. TROUBLESOME ISSUES Weapons of Mass Destruction A problem of profound concern is the specter of truly catastrophic terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which some terrorists are eager and willing to use. We suggest two approaches beyond those already being taken. The first is to credibly announce that any state or nonstate organization that even tolerates the acquisition of WMD by terrorists within its borders will be subject to the full wrath of the United States. It must be clear that the United States will lower standards of evidence in ascribing guilt and may violate sovereignty; it may preemptively attack and remove regimes by force. ______________ 2 Al Jazeera tape, December 28, 2001, and BBC transcripts, December 27, 2001. Quoted from http://www.truthout.org/docs_01/12.28A.OBL.Vid.Exrpts. htm: “We say that the end of the United States is imminent, whether bin Laden or his followers are alive or dead, for the awakening of the Muslim umma (nation) has occurred. . . . It is important to hit the economy [of the United States], which is the base of its military power.” xvi Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism The relentless U.S. efforts against al Qaeda and the Taliban have helped in this regard, but causing states to turn actively against terrorists in their midst who are involved with WMD presents an additional challenge. Establishing the credibility of a policy that makes tolerance of such terrorist actions intolerable is not easy. Actions will speak louder than words. The second approach is quite different and controversial: • Deterrence of the use of biological weapons—a special and frightening case—could be greatly enhanced if everyone in the Middle East believed that such an attack on the United States would inevitably lead to disease spreading into the Middle East, where huge segments of the population would die. A first step would be to encourage recognition of the fact that, because of international travel, infectious diseases such as smallpox would spread rapidly across borders, causing a global pandemic. Political Warfare Political warfare is an essential component of any campaign. It should not be confused with the issue of addressing root problems, although that is also a worthy objective; nor should apologies be made for its use. Assuring, for example, that broad-ranging debate occurs within the Middle East (rather than leaving the field to Islamist extremists) is something that can be accomplished in ways that are consistent with American values, including aversion to false propaganda. This subject needs urgent attention. Placing at Risk What the Terrorists Hold Dear: Convincing Regional Allies to Act One of the lessons learned from reviewing the ways various influences could be used against the al Qaeda system was that identifying instruments and targets is the easy part. The hard part is making something happen, especially when many of the possible measures would need to be taken by the states from which terrorists come or in which they reside. America’s Euro- Summary xvii pean allies began crackdowns and extensive cooperation with U.S. authorities soon after September 11. Egypt and Pakistan are now doing the same, although Pakistani President Musharraf clearly has major political tensions to deal with. Saudi Arabia is a special case. On the one hand, the United States and Saudi Arabia have long had a strong strategic relationship. The two countries continue to have shared interests, and Saudi Arabia has even attempted to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. On the other hand, the spread of religious fundamentalism in the form sometimes characterized by Middle East scholars as “Wahhabiism” constitutes a root problem. It encourages intolerance and can lead to a religious fanaticism that is certainly not intended by the Saudi government, nor is it characteristic of mainstream Islam (which is practiced by many Saudis). Looking to the future, if influence is to be a meaningful component of counterterrorism, it woul ...
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