Sanctuaries: A Strategic Reality, an Operational Challenge   [open pdf - 375KB]

This report examines terrorist sanctuaries and the challenges they present for U.S. operations abroad. "Sanctuaries are a strategic reality and an operational challenge today more than ever. Sanctuaries or 'safe havens' exist in all regions and mediums to include space and cyber. 'Sanctuary'-that is to say, a secure base area within which an insurgent group is able to organize the politico-military infrastructure needed to support its activities-is central to the process of insurgency. It is from such sanctuaries that operations against the enemy are planned and launched. Theorist and practitioners such as T.E. Lawrence, Mao Tse-Tung, Che Guevara, Bin Laden to name a few have utilized sanctuaries. Twenty-first Century sanctuaries include cyber, offshore banking, space, and ideological. The operational challenge is daunting when neither joint nor service doctrine does not address the enemy's use of safe havens. In analysis, a paradigm shift must occur away from bottom-up tactical approach and include a joint and interagency top-down approach to develop a 'counter-sanctuary' strategy for the future. Enemies thrive in sanctuaries, the U.S. must address in strategy, policy and doctrine."

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