Some Implications of 9/11
Neil J. Smelser and Faith Mitchell, Editors
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This project was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under award number MDA972-02-1-0005. The content of this report does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the government, and no official endorsement should be inferred. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the members of the committee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council (2002) Discouraging Terrorism: Some Implications of 9/11. Panel on Understanding Terrorists in Order to Deter Terrorism. Neil J. Smelser and Faith Mitchell, editors. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
PANEL ON UNDERSTANDING TERRORISTS IN ORDER TO DETER TERRORISM 2002
NEIL J. SMELSER (Chair),
Department of Sociology (emeritus), University of California, Berkeley
ROBERT McCORMICK ADAMS,
Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego
School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Department of Political Science and the Technology and Development Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Government, Wesleyan University
EUGENE A. HAMMEL,
Departments of Anthropology and Demography (emeritus), University of California, Berkeley
ARIE W. KRUGLANSKI,
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland
Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego
PHYLLIS OAKLEY, Career Foreign Service Officer (retired),
U.S. Department of State
THOMAS C. SCHELLING,
School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
Edward A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
FAITH MITCHELL, Study Director
JANET GARTON, Program Associate
BENJAMIN WOOLSEY, Project Assistant
Appendix: Population Dynamics and Political Stability*
The appendix is not printed in this volume but is available online. Go to http://www.nap.edu and search for Discouraging Terrorism: Some Implications of 9/11.
The national scientific community is as aware of and concerned with the contemporary terrorist threat to the nation as all other segments of American society. Consistent with this posture, the presidents of the National Academies—the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering—wrote a letter on September 20, 2001, to President George W. Bush pledging the scientific resources of the nation, as represented in the National Academies, to help contend with the new national crisis.
Also consistent with the relevance of scientific knowledge for understanding and contending with terrorism, in October 2001 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense approached the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study of “what terrorists value.” That phrase conveyed a request to identify the ingredients of terrorists’ mentality and situation that are positively meaningful to them and that might be deterred by threat or inducement. The NRC formed the panel, and the material in these pages constitutes our report. The panel’s activities ran parallel to but had different emphases from the National Academies’ own Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism, which concentrated on the role of science and technology in defending the nation against terrorist attacks. That committee’s report is entitled Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism (National Research Council, 2002).
From the beginning, the panel realized how difficult the DARPA charge was, given the complex and only partially understood situation of international terrorism and terrorists. Accordingly, we determined to take a multilevel approach to the charge
and address it from all angles that seemed potentially fruitful. Beginning with the most immediate and direct approach—deterrence—we evaluate that strategy and suggest both limitations and appropriate adaptations of it in dealing with terrorism. We call special attention to the role of third parties in the deterrence of terrorists. The panel also identifies the kinds of audiences that are important to terrorists as well as their special network mode of organization, focusing on both the assets and vulnerabilities of each. We also specify certain long-term international, demographic, economic, political, and cultural conditions that are conducive to terrorist activity and its support. Effective modification of these conditions might diminish the impulses favoring terrorism.
The panel includes scholars of anthropology, demography, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Their special areas of expertise include the study of terrorism itself, the contemporary Middle East, Islamic history and religion, revolutionary social movements, deterrence and game theory, the cognitive structure of beliefs, and the politics of diplomacy and peacekeeping. The panel had a preliminary discussion on January 14 and held formal meetings on February 25 and April 5, 2002. Between meetings we coordinated the drafting and review of materials. The face-to-face meetings were especially valuable in synthesizing knowledge about terrorism in general and keeping focused on the special charge given to us. We read widely in diverse strands of literature but did not consult any classified material.
The panel was responsible for completing this report in a record four-month period. We would like to thank the National Research Council staff who supported our work and facilitated the achievement of this ambitious goal: Faith Mitchell, study director, Janet Garton, research assistant, and Benjamin Woolsey, project assistant. Erik Smith worked as a consultant with Eugene Hammel on groundbreaking demographic analysis. The panel is grateful as well to DARPA for its financial support.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for
objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Coleen Conway-Welch, School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University; Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago; Clark McCauley, Psychology Department, Bryn Mawr College; Daniel S. Nagin, H. J. Heinz School of Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University; Melford E. Spiro, Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego; and Edward Wenk, Professor Emeritus of Engineering, Public Affairs, and Social Management of Technology, University of Washington.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Frosch, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, and Charles Tilly, Departments of Sociology and Political Science, Columbia University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution. Finally, the panel also thanks Michael Teitelbaum, Sloan Foundation, who reviewed the paper by Hammel and Smith that appears as the Appendix (on line only).
Neil J. Smelser, Chair
Panel on Understanding Terrorists in Order to Deter Terrorism