Rifling Through the Terrorists' Arsenal

Exploring Groups' Weapon Choices and Technology Strategies

by Brian A. Jackson, David R. Frelinger

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In terrorist operations, weapons technologies are the tools groups use to pursue their violent ends. Because of differences in what they can do, different weapons are useful for different types of operations. Using a random sample of terrorist incidents from the RAND-MIPT Terrorism Incident Database, this paper explores (1) how terrorists in general used particular weapons technologies and (2) the variation in the technology choices of individual terrorist groups. The results demonstrate significant differences in the ways different weapons are used, in the versatility of individual technologies, and among the technology strategies of different terrorist organizations.

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

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.