"There is much to be learned about the national security threats generated by transnational criminal organizations, insurgents or politicized gang,s and other violent nonstate actors. Regardless of differing sizes, motives, and methods of operations, the primary objective of all gangs is to influence or compel radical policy and achieve political change. The gang phenomenon transcends law enforcement problems to extend to national security and sovereignty concerns. The author analyzes three demonstrative cases with varying forms of nonstate violence--the Jamaican Posses, the Brazilian Primero Comando da Capital (PCC), and the al Qaeda gang that was responsible for the 2004 bombing of the Madrid commuter train station. Three broadly applicable lessons may be drawn. First, locking up gang members in maximum security prisons is an inadequate solution. Second, small gangs can be as lethal and dangerous as large gangs. Third, even in a democracy, the public may favor the security and social services provided by criminal gangs rather than that provided by the government."
National Defense University Press: http://www.ndu.edu/press/
PRISM (September 2011), v.2 no.3, p.101-114