Accession Number:

ADA574220

Title:

The Role of the Military in Counterterrorism: Unintended Consequences

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis

Corporate Author:

NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2012-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

87.0

Abstract:

In the last decade, terrorism has been one of the top threats for many countries. During this period, military organizations in many of these countries have been utilized as a counterterrorist instrument. Leading countries in the current war on terrorism, namely the United States and the United Kingdom, have used their armies, with all of their high-tech weapon systems, against nonstate threats armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades RPGs. The United States and the United Kingdom are not alone in using their militaries in counterterrorism tasks. Other countries, such as Israel and Russia, also use their militaries against terrorists. Yet in spite of these efforts, a military victory against terrorism seems elusive. In many of the countries in which terrorism has been fought, the use of the military created unintended consequences that led to new problems that have attracted the attention of academia and policymakers. This thesis hypothesizes that the use of military organizations in counterterrorist missions generates unintended consequences on three different levels 1 civil society and politics, 2 military institutions, and 3 terrorist organizations. Militarizing counterterrorism policies yields suboptimal results in terms of social legitimacy, military professionalism, and terrorist recruitment. The thesis presents two case studies in which state policies against terrorism failed to bring the intended results even after a long period of time. The first case study is of the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969-2007. This case is unique because the state changed its policy from a war model to a criminal justice model, which paved the way for success against the IRA. The second case study is of Israel against Palestinian terrorism. This case will show that militaries that focus heavily on counterterrorism missions lose their effectiveness in conventional fighting. The focus is on the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah that took place in 2006.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE