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NCJ Number: 200122 Find in a Library
Title: Terrorist Target Selection and Prioritization Model
Author(s): George E. Stungis Ph.D.; Thomas R. Schori Ph.D.
Date Published: April 30, 2003
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: ANSER Institute for Homeland Security
Arlington, VA 22206
Sale Source: ANSER Institute for Homeland Security
2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22206
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses a decisional model of the process that al Qaeda may use to prioritize and select terrorist mission targets.
Abstract: For the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, key people from al Qaeda were selected for special training and intelligence gathering in the United States. Intelligence-surveillance teams were sent in around 1992. Four to 6 months before the attack, key people arrived in the United States. The elements were put together by one person, Mohamed Atta, who knew where most of the pieces of the plan fit. A group in Afghanistan approved his direction and final plans. Since this country does not have the resources to develop effective countermeasures for all identified targets, experts must sort through the many possible targets and prioritize them by the probable severity of their individual impacts. A model was constructed that would permit a well-organized terrorist group such as al Qaeda to prioritize its targets or enable elements of the intelligence community to identify the most likely terrorist actions. It is believed that the al Qaeda target selection proceeded by first having the inner circle select mission objectives. The filtration process started as ideas for targets, including some intelligence, flowed in from the field groups. Knowledgeable area-specific and target-specific teams made the project cuts. The team sent out requests when a target area of interest needed more intelligence. This process continued until there was reasonable justification to send the data up to the next higher decision level. It is believed that the selection of targets for September 11 had little to do with financial impacts. The objectives were spectacular events and a large body count. Fielding the operation cost al Qaeda about $500,000. It cost more than $600 billion in estimated stock market loss and about $60 billion in direct costs to the United States. It is believed that the main objective in target selection in the future will be to further severely damage the United States economy. A computerized version of this model has been developed, which allows calculations to be performed at any level: global, area, or target type. 12 references
Main Term(s): Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorist tactics
Index Term(s): Criminal methods; Epidemiology of crime; Subversive activities; Supporters of terrorism; Terrorist group cooperation; Terrorist weapons
Note: Downloaded April 30, 2003
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