Transnational Crime: Legal and Policy Implications of Direct U.S. Military Action Against Non-State Actors [open pdf - 283KB]
Transnational crime, to include terrorism, drug trafficking, alien smuggling, etc., constitutes one of the most serious threats to U.S. security interests at home and abroad. To a great extent, transnational crimes are committed by non-state actors. The U.S. response to the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 has included direct action by military forces against the non-state actors believed to be responsible for the attacks. The President has stated that once we have dealt with those directly responsible for the 11 September attacks, our "war" on terrorism will continue against other terrorist organizations with a global reach. This paper will examine the legal aspects of U.S. military action conducted outside the U.S. against non-state actors involved in transnational crime. It will analyze the international law framework to determine the authority for, and limitations of, U.S. military action in this context and then assess the implications for U.S. national security strategy.