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 RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Brian A. Jackson

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.tandf.co.uk

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.