“Strategic Counter Terrorism”
Professor Richard J. Chasdi
Department of Management
(RSIS Visiting Fellow under Fulbright Specialist Programme)
Professor Rohan Gunaratna
International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR)
This presentation will describe some of the essential characteristics of strategic counterterrorist efforts in specific operational environments, usually defined as countries or regions with similar political, and cultural attributes. One underlying theme is that a set of “contextual factors” in unusual combinations characterize each operational environment and influence terrorist group formation, terrorist assaults and terrorists campaigns, thereby working to inform us how counterterrorism efforts should be crafted. Accordingly, each set of counterterrorism packages, with “hard-line” and “soft-line” (non-kinetic) efforts that dovetail well, must be tailor made to the contextual factors at hand. It follows there is no Manichean, single unifying theory to counterterrorism. This approach lends itself well to complexity systems analysis where stakeholders, assumptions, stressors and explanatory variables are depicted. Those explanatory variables with a set of connections within and across three levels of analysis reflect what structural realists or neo-realists call a “three level analysis” to explain conflict. Some of the efforts that will be described include the prospect of terrorist group “splintering” to the advantage of policy makers, positive inducements to constituent groups, the “war of ideas” intrinsic to effective counterterrorism, radicalization prevention efforts, soft-line counterterror types and some trends about counterterrorism effectiveness. In addition, difficulties the threat of lone wolves pose will be described along with some new research findings about lone wolf terrorist characteristics.