Training for Urban Resistance

The Case of the Provisional Irish Republican Army

by Brian A. Jackson

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Understanding the efficacy of terrorist training efforts is a key element in assessing the threat posed by a terrorist group. This task requires insight into what training really accomplishes for the group, expressed by how the information passed to members meets the organization’s needs and the impacts of training on group outcomes. The author uses the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) as an example case to describe and evaluate a terrorist training effort. He describes induction of the new recruit, PIRA’s military and intelligence and counterintelligence training, and the limitations of clandestine training. Finally, he cautions that while descriptive information on PIRA training is comparatively available, the data needed to assess its efficacy are much more sparse. Thus, PIRA provides insights into the types of information required to more completely and successfully assess a group’s raining programs.

Originally published in: The Making of a Terrorist: Recruitment, Training and Root Causes, Volume Two: Training, pp. 119-135. Edited by James J. F. Forrest.

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