Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against

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  • Dissuading TerrorStrategic Influence and theStruggle Against Terrorism

    Kim Cragin Scott Gerwehr

    Approved for public release; distribution unlimited

  • The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. RANDs publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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    Copyright 2005 RAND Corporation

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from RAND.

    Published 2005 by the RAND Corporation1776 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138

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    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Cragin, Kim. Dissuading terror : strategic influence and the struggle against terrorism / Kim Cragin, Scott Gerwehr. p. cm. MG-184. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-8330-3704-8 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Terrorism. 2. TerrorismUnited StatesPrevention. 3. United StatesStrategic aspects. 4. United StatesForeign relations. 5. United StatesInfluence. I. Gerwehr, Scott, 1968 II. Title.

    HV6431.C724 2005 363.32'0973dc22

    2004024269

    Cover design by Stephen Bloodsworth

    The research described in this report was supported through the provisions of independent research and development in RAND's contracts for the operation of Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers: RAND Project AIR FORCE (sponsored by the U.S. Air Force), the RAND Arroyo Center (sponsored by the U.S. Army), and the RAND National Defense Research Institute (sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies).

  • iii

    Preface

    Strategic influence policythe use of public diplomacy and otherinformation campaigns to promote national securityhas comeunder increased scrutiny since the September 11, 2001, attacks on theWorld Trade Center and the Pentagon. This scrutiny is due, in part,to new demands in the war on terrorism: The arrest or death ofexisting terrorists will be only a short-term success if al Qaeda contin-ues to recruit, indoctrinate, and train new members successfully. TheU.S. government must therefore determine how it can dissuade newrecruits from joining al Qaeda as well as discourage individuals fromproviding the terrorist organization financial and other support.

    This research effort was designed to inform U.S. governmentdecisionmakers about the role that strategic influence policy couldplay in the struggle against terrorism. It continues a tradition at theRAND Corporation of multidisciplinary research, drawing on aca-demic fields such as social and cognitive psychology as well as terror-ism studies.

    In the months immediately following the September 11 attacks,RAND undertook several research projects relating to counter-terrorism and homeland security topics as elements of its continuingprogram of self-sponsored research. This report is the result of one ofthose projects. The work was supported through the provisions forindependent research and development in RANDs contracts for theoperation of Department of Defense federally funded research anddevelopment centers: RAND Project AIR FORCE (sponsored by theU.S. Air Force), the RAND Arroyo Center (sponsored by the U.S.

  • iv Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against Terrorism

    Army), and the RAND National Defense Research Institute(sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff,the unified commands, and the defense agencies). James Chow,Assistant to RANDs President for Research on Counterterrorism,provided overall supervision for this research. Comments on thisstudy are welcomed and should be directed to either the two authorsor Dr. Chow.

  • v

    Contents

    Preface....................................................................... iiiFigures ......................................................................viiSummary.................................................................... ixAcknowledgments...........................................................xvAbbreviations ............................................................. xvii

    CHAPTER ONE

    Introduction .................................................................1Animosity Toward the United States ........................................2Support for Radical Islam....................................................3Violence as a Means of Political Activism ...................................5Scope and Methodology .....................................................7Report Structure ........................................................... 10

    CHAPTER TWO

    The Theoretical Underpinnings of Strategic Influence .................. 13The Psychological Objectives of Persuasion ............................... 14

    Compliance ............................................................. 15Conformity ............................................................. 17Conversion.............................................................. 19Observations ............................................................ 20

    The Necessary Sequence of Events and Timing ........................... 21Observations ............................................................ 24

    Key Judgments............................................................. 25

  • vi Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the Struggle Against Terrorism

    CHAPTER THREE

    Theory into Practice: What Influence Can Hope to Achieve ............ 27Instruments and Methods of Influence .................................... 27

    Germany, PostWorld War II .......................................... 28Vietnam, 19631972 ................................................... 30Eastern Europe, 1980s Polish Underground ........................... 32Alternative Methods of Influence....................................... 33

    Performance Measures ..................................................... 35The Dangers of Failure ...............