Groups, Networks, or Movements

A Command-And-Control-Driven Approach to Classifying Terrorist Organizations and Its Application to Al Qaeda

Published in: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, v. 29, no. 3, May 2006, p. 241-262

Posted on on January 01, 2006

by Brian A. Jackson

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Appropriately describing the properties and defining the boundaries of terrorist groups is frequently challenging. Public and policy discussion of Al Qaeda as a group, network, or broad social movement is described as an example of this problem, with an emphasis on the consequences of placing a terrorist organization in each of these different categories. To resolve the confusion that such uncertainties can introduce into discussion, an approach is described focusing on the strength of command-and-control linkages with an organization for laying out the differences between groups, networks, and movements and defining the boundaries between them.

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