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What is Terrorism?

Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience


beyond the immediate victim
History of Terrorism
• Terrorist acts or the threat of such action have been in
existence for millennia Over the past 20 years,
terrorists have committed extremely violent acts for
alleged political or religious reasons
Terrorist Behavior
• There is clearly a wide choice of definitions for
terrorism. Despite this, there are elements in common
among the majority of useful definitions. Common
threads of the various definitions identify terrorism as:

• Political
• Psychological
• Coercive
• Dynamic
• Deliberate
Differences between Terrorism and Insurgency
• A key difference is that an insurgency is a movement -
a political effort with a specific aim. This sets it apart
from both guerilla warfare and terrorism, as they are
both methods available to pursue the goals of the
political movement.
State Sponsored Terrorism
• Three different ways that states can engage in the use
of terror are:

• Governmental or "State" terror


• State involvement in terror
• State sponsorship of terrorism
Goals and Motivations of Terrorists
• common form of symbolism utilized in terrorist
targeting is striking on particular anniversaries or
commemorative dates
Terrorist Groups
• There are two general categories of organization;
hierarchical and networked. The age of an
organization is one of the determinants of whether it is
likely to adopt a network or hierarchical structure
The Evolution of Terrorism
• Terrorism is continually changing. While at the
surface it remains "the calculated use of unlawful
violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate
fear
Future Trends in Terrorism
• As a conflict method that has survived and evolved
through several millennia to flourish in the modern
information age, terrorism continues to adapt to meet
the challenges of emerging forms of conflict, and
exploit developments in technology and society
Terrorism Glossary
• Definitions of some common terrorist and counter-
terrorism terms (A-B)
Terrorism is not new, and even though it has
been used since the beginning of recorded history it can be
relatively hard to define. Terrorism has been described
variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy
duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable
abomination. Obviously, a lot depends on whose point of
view is being represented. Terrorism has often been an
effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict. As an
asymmetric form of conflict, it confers coercive power with
many of the advantages of military force at a fraction of the
cost. Due to the secretive nature and small size of terrorist
organizations, they often offer opponents no clear
organization to defend against or to deter Terrorist acts
or the threat of such action have been in existence for
millennia. Despite having a history longer than the modern
nation-state, the use of terror by governments and those that
contest their power remains poorly understood. While the
meaning of the word terror itself is clear, when it is applied to
acts and actors in the real world it becomes confused. Part
of this is due to the use of terror tactics by actors at all levels
in the social and political environment. Is the Unabomber,
with his solo campaign of terror, a criminal, terrorist, or
revolutionary? There is clearly a wide choice of definitions
for terrorism. Despite this, there are elements in common
among the majority of useful definitions. Common threads of
the various definitions identify terrorism as:

• Political
• Psychological
• Coercive
• Dynamic
• Deliberate
A key difference is that an insurgency is a movement - a
political effort with a specific aim. This sets it apart from both
guerilla warfare and terrorism, as they are both methods
available to pursue the goals of the political movement.
Three different ways that states can engage in the use of
terror are:

• Governmental or "State" terror


• State involvement in terror
• State sponsorship of terrorism
The type of target selected will often reflect motivations and
ideologies. For groups professing secular political or social
motivations, their targets are highly symbolic of authority;
government offices, banks, national airlines, and
multinational corporations with direct relation to the
established order. Likewise, they conduct attacks on
representative individuals whom they associate with
economic exploitation, social injustice, or political repression.
While religious groups also use much of this symbolism,
there is a trend to connect it to greater physical devastation.
There also is a tendency to add religiously affiliated
individuals, such as missionaries, and religious activities,
such as worship services, to the targeting equation
There are two general categories of organization;
hierarchical and networked. The age of an organization is
one of the determinants of whether it is likely to adopt a
network or hierarchical structure. Newer groups tend
towards organizing or adapting to the possibilities inherent in
the network model. Ideology can have an effect on internal
organization, with strict Leninist or Maoist groups tending
towards centralized control and hierarchical structure. Within
the larger structure, virtually all groups use variants of
cellular organizations at the tactical level to enhance security
and to task organize for operations. Terrorism is continually
changing. While at the surface it remains "the calculated use
of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to
inculcate fear…" it is rapidly becoming the predominant
strategic tool of our adversaries. As terrorism evolves into
the principal irregular warfare strategy of the 21st century, it
is adapting to changes in the world socio-political
environment. Some of these changes facilitate the abilities of
terrorists to operate, procure funding, and develop new
capabilities. Other changes are gradually moving terrorism
into a different relationship with the world at large. As a
conflict method that has survived and evolved through
several millennia to flourish in the modern information age,
terrorism continues to adapt to meet the challenges of
emerging forms of conflict, and exploit developments in
technology and society. Terrorism has demonstrated
increasing abilities to adapt to counter-terrorism measures
and political failure. Terrorists are developing new
capabilities of attack and improving the efficiency of existing
methods. Additionally, terrorist groups have shown
significant progress in escaping from a subordinate role in
nation-state conflicts, and becoming prominent as
international influences in their own right. They are becoming
more integrated with other sub-state entities, such as
criminal organizations and legitimately chartered
corporations, and are gradually assuming a measure of
control and identity with national governments Definitions of
some common terrorist and counter-terrorism terms (A-B):

A-B

AAIA: Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, a.k.a. Islamic Army of


Aden based in Yemen

ABB: Alex Boncayao Brigade based in the Philippines

ADF: Allied Democratic Forces based in Uganda and the


Congo

AIAI: Al-Ittihad al-Islami, a.k.a. Islamic Union based in


Somalia

Al-Badhr: Al-Badhr Mujahidin based in Pakistan


ALF: Animal Liberation Front

ALIR: Army of the Liberation of Rwanda

anti-terrorism: (AT) (JP 1-02) - Defensive measures used to


reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to
terrorist acts, to include limited response and containment by
local military forces. See FMs 31-20 and 100-20.

ASG: Abu Sayyaf Group based in the Philippines

asset (terrorist): A resource - person, group, relationship,


instrument, installation, or supply - at the disposition of an
terrorist organization for use in an operational or support
role. Often used with a qualifying term such as suicide asset
or surveillance asset. Based upon JP 1-02 asset
(intelligence).

AUC: Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a.k.a. United Self-


Defense Forces/Group of Colombia

AUM: Aum Supreme Truth, a.k.a. Aum Shinrikyo and Aleph


based in Japan

biological agent: (JP 1-02) - A microorganism that causes


disease in personnel, plants, or animals or causes the
deterioration of materiel.

biological weapon: (JP 1-02) - An item of materiel, which


projects, disperses, or disseminates a biological agent
including arthropod vectors.