Understanding Why Terrorist Operations Succeed or Fail

by Brian A. Jackson, David R. Frelinger


Full Document

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.7 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback40 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Understanding why terrorist attacks succeed and fail is important for homeland security and counterterrorism planning. Delving into the literature on the topic, the authors make the contention that the past success or failure of a terrorist operation — or the likelihood that a future attack will succeed — can be best understood by thinking about the match or mismatch between three key sets of characteristics: (1) terrorist group capabilities and resources, (2) the requirements of the operation it attempted or is planning to attempt, and (3) the relevance and reliability of security countermeasures. They conclude that focusing attention on a small set of practical relationships will help to guide analysis of why past terrorist operations went as they did, and, more importantly, to help to identify opportunities to shape the chance of success or failure of future operations.

This Occasional Paper results from the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated research.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

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.