Military Force May Not Be Ruled Out

by Brian Michael Jenkins

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

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

This paper discusses options open to the United States in responding to two kinds of terrorism: "Ordinary" terrorism, committed by diverse terrorist groups, is the responsibility of the local government, and the U.S. response has been, and should remain, defensive. State-sponsored terrorism, instigated and directed by a handful of state sponsors now concentrated in the Middle East, is deadlier and can have a greater impact on U.S. foreign policy. The United States might apply diplomatic and economic sanctions to the state sponsors of terrorist acts; or it might lay the evidence before the Congress and the public and seek a resolution authorizing actions consistent with belligerent status, including the use of force; or it might use covert action. The author discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

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.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

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.