Accession Number:



Sharing the Dragon's Teeth: Terrorist Groups and the Exchange of New Technologies

Descriptive Note:


Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Operation Enduring Freedom and the global war on terrorism forced many members of al Qaeda to disperse, as the U.S. Government and its allies removed safe havens and arrested a number of key leaders. As a result, the nature of the terrorist threat against the United States appears to have changed. For example, some like-minded terrorist groups that perhaps do not have the global reach of a pre-911 al Qaeda nevertheless have formed regional alliances. Similarly, other events have caused terrorist groups that are not linked ideologically to form mutually beneficial partnerships. These partnerships have provided otherwise less capable terrorist groups with the opportunity to improve their skills and their reach. In each circumstance, emerging alliances could increase the threat that terrorism will pose to the United States in the next 3-15 years. Understanding these interactions, therefore, is essential to ongoing and future efforts in the U.S. global war on terrorism. Terrorist groups in three areas -- Mindanao, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and southwest Colombia -- have exchanged technologies and knowledge in an effort to improve their operational capabilities. Studying these situations can provide the Department of Homeland Security DHS with examples of why and how terrorists might share new technologies in the future, as well as the degree to which these exchanges might be successful. The authors chose these case studies because the terrorist groups active in these regions are highly capable. This book examines a variety of different technologies and exchange processes, ranging from remote-detonation devices to converted field ordnance to katyusha rockets. In some instances, terrorists successfully obtained and deployed the technologies involved. Counterterrorism forces disrupted other technology exchanges. In total, the authors examined 11 terrorist groups that operate in these three regions.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Ammunition and Explosives

Distribution Statement: