Violent non-state actors (VNSAs) pose a pressing challenge to human and national security across the geo-political landscape. In the midst of a global war against terrorism, collective violent action thrives as a strategy of groups ranging from the al Qaeda network to the Maoist rebels of Nepal to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The dark dynamics of globalization enable VNSAs to prosper in a turbulent international environment marked by deepening roots of violence, failures in governance, and burgeoning illicit trade in guns, drugs and humans. With few exceptions, VNSAs play a prominent, often destabilizing role in nearly every humanitarian and political crisis faced by the international community. Successfully countering them is complicated by a host of factors, including the adaptive character of the threat and the difficulty of developing and implementing a coherent strategy that engenders measurable victories. This document offers an actionable universal analytical framework for diagnosing the not-state adversary. The document also exposes the internal working of the organization in order to understand sources of strength and critical vulnerabilities.
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (March 2004), v.3 no.3