Understanding the Military's Role in Ending State-Sponsored Terrorism   [open pdf - 457KB]

"Countries sponsoring and supporting terrorism impede the efforts of the United States and the international community to fight terrorism. Until states that support terrorism cease such sponsorship, they remain a critical foundation for terrorist groups and their operations. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the U.S. military's role in coercing states to cease their sponsorship of terrorism. Using game theory, this thesis analyzes the utility of military force against state-sponsored terrorism. It explains why past military responses did not pose a credible threat and were thus, an ineffective instrument of national power. It then examines how military force is employed in the current war on terrorism. The findings of this thesis suggest that the limited military strikes employed against states for their role in terrorist attacks prior to September 11, 2001, preconditioned the leaders of supportive states to believe U.S. leadership lacked commitment in its strategy to end statesponsored terrorism. The findings also suggest the dramatic change in the United States' method of employing its military forces against state sponsors of terrorism after September 11, 2001, created the credible, coercive military threat required to accomplish the U.S. national objective of ending state-sponsored terrorism."

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Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: http://www.nps.edu/Library/index.aspx
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