Measuring Transnational Organized Crime Threats to US National Security   [open pdf - 350KB]

"In 2011 President Obama released the United States Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime (SCTOC). The strategy identified Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) as a national security threat directed the creation of an Interagency Threat Mitigation Working Group (TMWG). The SCTOC tasked the TMWG to identify criminal networks that posed a sufficiently high national security threat to merit a whole-of-government approach to achieve their defeat. Unfortunately, the SCTOC did not include any methodology for differentiating between criminal networks. Organized crime typologies, models, and assessment tools do exist. However, not all these tools are necessarily suitable for the TMWG. The question was, therefore, is there an existing typology or assessment model that can identify the TOC groups that present the national security threat defined in the SCTOC? A literature review of existing organized crime assessments identified the three most common conceptual frameworks used to study organized crime. These frameworks are organization-based, activities-based, and harm-based. The SCTOC discussion of TOC most closely resembles an organization-based conceptual framework. Therefore, all activities-based, and harm-based typologies were ruled out. SCTOC also identified specific selection criteria that helped match the SCTOC with an appropriate organization-based typology. The most appropriate model must be simple, support UN common terms, include key SCTOC variables, and address links to terrorists. A number of organization-based typologies were analyzed. The research found that The United Nations report, 'Pilot Survey of Forty Selected Organized Criminal Groups in Sixteen Countries' meets the needs of the Threat Mitigation Working Group (TMWG) best. The UN typology is not designed to score TOC networks, so it is not an obvious choice, but it could be easily modified by the TMWG to rank-order TOC networks. The UN typology has the advantage of following the same conceptual model followed by the SCTOC. It is one of the few assessment tools to consider criminal links to terrorist organizations directly. It is also relatively simple, with clear definitions of all the relevant variables."

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Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library: http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/
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