skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 63427 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: TERRORISTS, ATOMS AND THE FUTURE - UNDERSTANDING THE THREAT
Journal: NAVAL WAR COLLEGE REVIEW  Volume:32  Issue:3  Dated:(MAY/JUNE 1979)  Pages:30-50
Author(s): A R NORTON
Corporate Author: US Dept of the Navy
Naval War College
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of the Navy
Newport, RI 02840
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE POSSIBILITY OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM IS DISCUSSED WITH AN EMPHASIS ON THE DISINCENTIVES AND TECHNOLOGICAL PROBLEMS THAT MAKE NUCLEAR TERRORISM MORE AN INTELLECTUAL THREAT THAN AN ACTUAL ONE.
Abstract: THE PROLIDERATION OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS AND DOCUMENTS WRITTEN ABOUT THEM HAVE GENERATED A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT REGARDING NUCLEAR TERRORISM CALLED THE 'FAITH BLOC.' THIS SCHOOL PERCEIVES THE PROSPECTIVE NUCLEAR TERRORIST AS A MOUNTAIN CLIMBER WHO WILL CLIMB THE PLUTONIUM PRECIPICE SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS THERE. HOWEVER, ALTHOUGH IT IS FEASIBLE THAT A TERRORIST MIGHT STEAL OR MAKE A NUCLEAR WEAPON, TERRORISTS ARE ABOVE ALL MORE CONCERNED WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLENCE THAN WITH THE ACTUAL DESTRUCTIVE PROCESS ITSELF. THE TEAM OF TERRORISTS NEEDED TO DESIGN A WORKING NUCLEAR WEAPON WOULD HAVE TO BE HIGHLY TRAINED IN SOPHISTICATED TECHNIQUES, BE ABLE TO COORDINATE THEIR EFFORTS, AND WOULD NEED TO DEVOTE MONTHS OF INTENSE WORK. IN ADDITION, THE SIZE OF THE NUCLEAR WEAPON WITHIN THE REACH OF A NONSTATE GROUP IS QUITE SMALL AND INCAPABLE OF THREATENING A CITY OR A NATION. THE ARGUMENT THAT A COUNTRY MIGHT WANT TO SUPPLY TERRORISTS WITH A NUCLEAR WEAPON IS INSUPPORTABLE; MOST COUNTRIES WOULD NOT RISK SELF-INTEREST TO AID NONSTATE POSSESSION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. TERRORIST IDEOLOGIES, FURTHERMORE, CONDEMN THE UNNECESSARY KILLING OF INNOCENTS SINCE POPULAR SUPPORT OR SYMPATHY IS NECESSARY FOR TERRORIST SUCCESS. THE SEARCH FOR PUBLIC ATTENTION BRINGS WITH IT THE NEED TO MAINTAIN ORGANIZATIONAL VITALITY AND TO ENHANCE THE IMAGES OF RESPECTIVE TERRORIST GROUPS IN REGIONS WHERE THERE ARE CONTENDING GROUPS. TERRORISTS AVOID MASS KILLINGS NOT OUT OF MORAL FERVOR OR ALTRUISM, BUT BECAUSE SUCH TACTICS POORLY SERVE THEIR PURPOSES AND MAY EVEN BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. FINALLY, IT IS DIFFICULT TO CONCEIVE OF ANY ATTAINABLE TERRORIST OBJECTIVE THAT COULD NOT BE ACHIEVED WITH A MORE EFFICIENT AND LESS COSTLY USE OF ORGANIZATIONAL ASSETS THAN THE NUCLEAR GAMBIT WOULD REQUIRE. EXTENSIVE NOTES SUPPLEMENT THE TEXT. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Nuclear terrorism; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorism/Mass Violence; Terrorist ideologies; Terrorist tactics
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63427

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.