The author believes that terrorist tactics will persist as a mode of political expression, of gaining international attention, and of achieving limited political goals. Unique problems involved in combatting terrorism are enumerated, among them the fact that the terrorist adversary does not act according to established rules of warfare or diplomacy. Although lessons can and should be learned and contingency plans formulated, there can be no prescribed course of action based on prior terrorist episodes. The author suggests consideration of a small permanent staff to support the proposed Council to Combat Terrorism and details its advantages. He concludes that the fight against terrorism will remain a continuing task, that governments must be flexible when dealing with terrorism, and that, above all, they must demonstrate that they and not the terrorists are in charge.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
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.