Framework for Action-Response Assessment in Dealing with Terrorism

HOME

  • Search Site/Web
  • Site Info/Map
  • Translate Paragraph


  • ASSESSMENT OF ACTION AND RESPONSE TO TERRORISM

    Framework for Action-Response Assessment in Dealing with Terrorism
    This was written between Aug 16 and Sept 12, 2001 as a basis for assessing the correct response to terrorist attacks - an attempt to provide a basis for developing a long term strategic response to terror within a framework allowing for a calculated and informed response to the basis of the terrorist action and not just to the individual acts of terror themselves. While this is in the format of a questionnaire or a study, it is neither of these. This is for the strategist who must make an assessment as to the type of response to be used. In the following, the power base may be the specific group involved in the terrorist action or in a broad based movement, it can be all those answering a call to take up arms. The main text relates to response on an international level, while some of the points made relate to regional or internal conflict situations.

    History has taught us that there are no short term responses to broad based terrorist action

    Index
    Reaction status
    Reaction of the opposing party
    Assessment of the act which provokes the response
    Response is about balance
    Honor often fuels a conflict
    To avoid
    The conflict grows when there is imbalance
    Success measured in psychological terms
    Weaknesses in the face of opposition
    Timing
    Where do we go from here
    APPENDIX - Assessment of Other's Strengths and Weaknesses

    Reaction Status
    One of the most problematic assessments is the determination of the level of appropriate response. To do this, determining the level of an attack within the context of an ongoing crisis is crucial. Under response as well as over response often carry severe consequences. Correct assessment is therefore paramount.

    Note: In some sections, a high degree is desirable, in others, the opposite. The overall degrees can not be added up to produce a final total since single items may outweigh all the rest in a given situation. Therefore, the efficacy of the scales are to be found in the thought processes involved in the evaluation of single items.

    The reaction of the opposing side must be taken into consideration for each response contemplated (where the degree is high, the response will cause more problems than it solves)

    degree to which the response is seen as instigation and not just response
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response is a threat to innocents
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the public of the opposing side is outraged and needs an answer
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which response will justify continuance of the struggle and further counter action
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response is seen as provoking the need for external allies or the need for internal renewed commitment to conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response causes further unification or an entirely new type of unification
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response will lead to a desire for revenge
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which response will be seen by the opposing side as unjustified, given the level and form of the opposing act, to the opposing leadership, the population and external power bases
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response will be seen as a threat to basic values or concepts held
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response engenders a feeling of helplessness
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    Where negotiations are possible, the degree to which the response will cause a move away from negotiation.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Assessment of the act which provokes the response:

    degree to which the action is meaningful simply because it succeeded whereas others like it did not.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of involvement of the major opposing power base or secondary power bases before, during, and after the event.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of control by opposing power base over actions on the ground
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which this action signals a new approach or a turning point to either side
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which action advances the cause of the opposing power base
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which action advances the cause of secondary power bases and the net effect on the component parts and the whole
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the action was a success in terms of
       making a statement
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
       providing a base for further actions
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
       providing solidarity to opposing side
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the action was a failure
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    if a failure, degree to which the failure was meaningful to the opposing power base
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which this act or any other event plays into the hands of those in opposing power base
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of external support and the assessed positions and level of commitment of outside forces for whatever reason
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which power is concentrated in main power base
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which each side is seen as the instigator
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Response is about balance. If the response upsets the balance, then counter response is necessitated.
    Balance can be achieved in many different ways. Assessment involves the following:

    degree of equality of resources lost by each side
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of equality in terms of the way or methods used to deliver the response
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of equality in terms of the suffering experienced by each side
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of equality in terms of giving up a value or asset held which is under negotiation
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Unfortunately, equality can not be ascertained with the certainty of monetary transactions. However, beyond the emotionality generated by an event, there is a general sense for both sides of what is justified given the circumstances.

    Honor often fuels a conflict
    Conflict grows when honor becomes an issue. Even if this is not the major force fueling the opposing acts, it can become the overriding motivating factor either for a leader or for followers, or for those who are placed in the position of supporters. All response MUST take this into consideration. Leaders may disappear from the scene but if honor has become an issue, either for a leader or for the population identifying with that leader, than the conflict can continue and increase in its dedication, its preparation, and the willingness to carry the fight forward.

    To avoid
    Avoid any act which attacks the honor of the other side, reduces your status in the eyes of the other, or is a sign of weakness, or has any signs of acting for revenge. In this regard, the following should be assessed:

    degree to which the response is catering to calls for revenge
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the acts of individuals or small groups are allowed to have a determining role in the history of an entire people, a region, or the world order.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the overall structure, dynamics and fabric of a plan are determined by the fortuitous success of single events.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which response and major changes are directed and motivated by fortuitous events, planning mistakes, or lapses in security.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response takes 'unfair' advantage of others weaknesses
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response indicates not taking opposing side seriously or belittles the opposing side
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response is showing off, or has a purpose unrelated to the action
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which emotions have been determining factors in the way in which a plan of action proceeds.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    The conflict grows when either side perceives that there has been a significant shift.
    This shift can be in the power used, area or value effected, quantity of resource affected, or a substantial increase in the current 'acceptable' measures and hence imbalancing of the current status quo. High degree in the following indicate imbalance:

    degree to which the type or power of the response is seen as unjustified
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response level is shifted up the scale of societal, cultural, moral or religious values e.g., from resource destruction to symbol destruction or impingement on cultural values like honor, sanctity
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the time frame to rectify, rebuild, rebalance has been substantially increased
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which a non renewable, non retrievable, unattainable resource, or value is destroyed or removed.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the effect of the response is wider or deeper than the triggering action. i.e. population affected is substantially greater, or the economic penetration is greater, or there are ripple effects throughout the society which has a significantly greater effect than the action.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the force used represents a higher degree of conflict, or of destructive power regardless of the actual action performed.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the honor of the other side becomes an issue
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Success for the other side is seldom measured in material terms but usually in psychological terms

    Weaknesses in the face of opposing action
    (most weaknesses are visible to opposing side)

       General
    degree to which there is inaccurate assessment of other's strengths and weaknesses
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of insufficient preparation for what is thought to be possible or inevitable
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is reliance on scenarios and belief in certain strings of cause and effect
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is reliance on historical example. The conditions and components of the present are not the same. Only broad concepts applied loosely can be instructional.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is insufficient intelligence gathering of the forces at play in the situation, or the refusal or inability to use knowledge possessed
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which believe that situation is beyond correction - that it is locked in
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of internal, inter-personal, inter group conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which sense of loss, vulnerability, outrage, betrayal, inadequacy, impotence, hate, fear, despising, or grief rule the form of response
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

        Decision Making
    degree to which there is the refusal or inability to use knowledge possessed for whatever reason
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is inadequate use of advise or refusal to weigh the advise of others as part of the final equation.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of satisfaction with own strengths
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the belief that an inevitable role is being played
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of inability to learn from and correct mistakes, to critique actions
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is snap decision making based on the actions of others and not on the realities of the situation and full rational assessment.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Timing

    Timing is crucial. What is right one moment can be wrong the next. Decision making is a dynamic process which must be open to change. The leader who does not constantly reassess the field will make errors, some absolutely critical, which could have been avoided by small changes made in response to changing circumstances.

    Where do we go from here

    Assess value of the types of response

    degree to which there is value in threat as against action
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is value in non response
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is value in offering peace in place of revenge
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is value in negotiating from moral strength instead of physical
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    If there is continuation, assessment of the possible aftermath of a response
    degree to which the loss in human lives, damage to property, and suffering is increased by continuing the conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the loss can be absorbed and a rebalance established
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there are the resources, the ability, and the will to rebuild
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Assessment of the ongoing action
    degree to which acting with restraint.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is constant improvement of the consistency and strength of the ongoing policy of deterrence and security
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which response is non provocative, unless increased conflict is desired. The other side may not be as rational under stress, or have the same control over the situation or its forces.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which not impinging on the honor of the opposing side
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which avoid policies of containment in which innocents are involved or affected since general containment demeans the honor of the other side.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Where negotiation is possible
    degree to which resumption of negotiations are based on attainable preconditions
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the major problems on which negotiations are stalled are answered
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which valid and workable alternative proposals are put forth which give credence to the desire to negotiate and give a basis for that negotiation.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which constant and live contact with the opposing side is kept open so that clarification can be made if mistakes or accidents occur.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which negotiation framework takes the opposing side as a complete entity with its needs, suffering, and desires into account in developing a relationship which will eventually work. This must be evident in the actions taken at each point up to the point of negotiation.
          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the willingness to compromise judiciously
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is preparedness and background knowledge of all major points of disagreement
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the ability to negotiate from strength
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the ability to decide and fulfill commitments
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the ability to assess, admit, and correct weaknesses
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    APPENDIX - ASSESSMENT OF OTHER'S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

    Assess overall context

    degree to which the type of action taken opens up or forces new methods of response
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response hardens the resolve or strengthens the other side
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the balance of power is shifted
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the response effects far more than the the intended target i.e., the entire population
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which particular type of response weakens your position
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which response signals a new stage in the conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the action indicates to the opposing side a weakening, or the confusion of your leadership
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which response is not seen as part of an overall strategy towards a set goal, but is off course, too little or too much given the time period, the realities of the situation, the resources, the preparedness, and the desire for non renewal of the confrontation.
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Assess resources of other side

        allies
    degree to which there are external bodies willing to enter into combat
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which external bodies will be drawn into a conflict against their wishes
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the power of these bodies and the resources at their disposal accumulate
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which public opinion both internally and worldwide is aligned on the opposing side
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which possible allies have nothing to lose by involvement and a perception of everything to gain, whether or not illusory
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

        justification
    degree of perceived non fuzziness around the justifications made for continuation of the conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the claims have precedence
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which the claims are perceived as moral, legal, justifiable, or righteous
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

        preparedness by opposing side
    degree to which internal public opinion expresses the belief that the conflict is justified
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which individuals are willing to give all for the cause
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree of preparation for conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which population is ready to support any decision of the leadership regarding the conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

        means
    degree to which there is the hardware, but more importantly, the will with which to wage all out conflict or a protracted conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the determination of individuals to fight regardless of the means available
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

        organization of opposing side
    degree to which there is the organization to carry out the strategic plan
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there is the internal structure to gain the information necessary in a protracted conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which there are the means and connections to obtain the necessary skills, implements, weapons to carry on the conflict
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    Assess the past and its effect on the opposing side
    degree to which this type of response has generated support
    from within
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    from abroad
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    from supporters
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which this type of response has had "negative" results in the past in similar conflict arenas
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    degree to which this type of response has strengthened opposing leadership, the process of decision making, the general standing of the opposing power bases
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


    Top of page
    To send a copy or a link of this page to someone: Click on File in upper left corner of screen. Depending on your browser, click on Send or on Send page or Send Link, enter email address and send.

    © copyright 2001 Global Crisis Solution Center.
    All rights reserved.