Clausewitz and Counterterrorism: The Relevance of His Theory to Policy Options and Force Doctrine in Dealing with Terrorist Acts [open pdf - 923KB]
"This paper will explore those aspects of Clausewitz's theory that, I believe, are relevant to US counterrorist policy by examining the continuum of policy options ranging from response to retaliation to pre-emption. It will posit a thesis that an effective counterrorist policy is one that contains and marginalizes the impact of terrorist acts. Applying the principle of proportionality that is, calibrating the use of force (and other tools available to senior decision makers) in a strict discriminating way to contain and drain terrorist organizations of their power, even if we cannot annihilate them, may be the optimal approach. This paper will begin by examining the characteristics of contemporary international terrorism. It will then discuss principles of Clausewitzian theory that appear most relevant to the issue, as well as analyze the range of counterrorist policy options using those principles as a guide. This paper will conclude with suggestions for a new force doctrine for counterterrorism."