Result of Generalization: Bearing the Consequences of Imprecisely Designating Terrorist Organizations
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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What is the effect of the United States ineffectively designating terrorist organizations on military and diplomatic operations Establishing a practicable definition of terrorism is a pursuit that invariably leads to vagueness to compensate for context and allow for discretion in application. The resulting effect on criteria for designating terrorist organizations creates a framework that may encompass almost any act of violence if applied incorrectly. As such, this monograph attempts to identify the issues with the definition and framework that prevent effective application of terrorist organization designations and provide options for improvement. This is accomplished through identification of the statutory terrorism definitions characteristics, an introduction of the terrorism designation framework and case studies of two organizations listed and subsequently delisted as terrorist organizations. Content of the research also includes academic discussion of the characteristics of a definition of terrorism and the current statutory framework to identify strengths and weaknesses. Findings from this research and analysis of information indicated that the statutory definition and designation framework allow excessive discretion in designating terrorist organizations, leading to negative effects on diplomatic and military operations. As currently employed, there is little restriction in the designation of foreign violent groups oppose their government as terrorist organizations. Consequently, there is wide discretion in designating groups as terrorist without understanding their purpose, complicating operations and delegitimizing the designation process.
- Unconventional Warfare