Dissuading Terror

Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against Terrorism

Kim Cragin
Scott Gerwehr
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 134
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Dissuading Terror
    Book Description:

    U.S. government decisionmakers face a number of challenges as they attempt to form policies that aim to dissuade terrorists from attacking the United States, divert youths from joining terrorist groups, and persuade the leaders of states and nongovernmental institutions to withhold support for terrorists. The successes or failures of such policies and campaigns have long-lasting effects. The findings of this research help U.S. decisionmakers more closely refine how and in what circumstances strategic influence campaigns can best be applied.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4055-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The U.S. government has long used influence campaigns in pursuit of national security objectives. These efforts range from covert support for the anticommunist underground media networks in Eastern Europe during the 1980s to public diplomacy efforts in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yet the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the subsequent struggle against terrorism have raised new challenges. The U.S. government must now consider how it can prevent terrorists from attacking the United States, discourage sympathizers from supporting terrorist adversaries, and reduce the number of potential new recruits for terrorist groups.

    This report examines the...

  9. CHAPTER TWO The Theoretical Underpinnings of Strategic Influence
    (pp. 13-26)

    The assumption behind strategic influence is that a persuasive campaign—e.g., utilizing media or other forms of information operations—can help advance national interests. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. government identified terrorism as a key national security issue.² For this reason, strategic influence has a role to play in the struggle against terrorism, by attempting to shape the actions of existing and potential terrorist adversaries. This chapter explores the theoretical underpinnings of strategic influence to better understand both its uses and its limitations.

    To do this, we draw on experimental research in the scientific literatures of social...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Theory into Practice: What Influence Can Hope to Achieve
    (pp. 27-40)

    Although the theory of persuasion provides parameters for the use of influence campaigns, it is difficult to conceptualize these parameters in the day-to-day existence of U.S. national security policy. The purpose of this chapter is to help alleviate this difficulty. To do this, we provide a short overview of past influence campaigns, including discussions of the methods used as well as lessons learned from U.S. efforts in post–World War II Germany, Vietnam, and Poland. We next examine performance measures, which can help policymakers determine the effectiveness of an influence campaign. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of the limitations...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Potential Audiences in the Muslim World
    (pp. 41-60)

    The Muslim world incorporates substantially diverse societies and cultures. For this reason, tension exists between designing an overall strategy for influence campaigns throughout the Muslim world and implementing such campaigns effectively in multiple discrete societies. To address this tension, we chose to focus our analysis on Muslim communities in three countries: Yemen, Germany, and Indonesia. By limiting our analysis to three countries, we can examine in detail the unique characteristics of the anti-U.S. terrorist groups and their surrounding environments.

    On October 12, 2000, two men crashed a small boat loaded with explosives into the USSCole, a U.S. Navy destroyer,...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Implications for the Struggle Against Terrorism
    (pp. 61-68)

    Our research led us to two primary observations: first, successful influence campaigns match objectives, sequencing, and methods to target audiences, and second, diverse audiences exist in the Muslim world, even among those who support al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists. We conclude that an influence campaign will need to beflexibleto adjust to the differences between audiences’ attitudes and beliefs in the Muslim world andstrategicto account for conflicts between parallel influence operations as well as other foreign or domestic policy objectives.

    In this chapter, we attempt to provide guiding principles for U.S. policymakers as they design new, and...

  13. CHAPTER SIX New Challenges Ahead
    (pp. 69-72)

    Three years after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. government is still struggling with exactly how to wage a war on terrorism. Billions of dollars have been committed to the issue, including military operations in Afghanistan and homeland security grants for state and local responders. Yet it is arguable that the threat of terrorism is as real and pervasive today as it was on September 10, 2001. It is a sobering thought. Despite the fact that the United States and its allies have removed a key state sponsor of terrorism from power (the Taliban), arrested numerous members of al...

  14. APPENDIX A The Military Perspective on Strategic Influence
    (pp. 73-80)
  15. APPENDIX B Strategic Influence in Action:Advertising and Marketing
    (pp. 81-84)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 85-116)