This Intelligence Studies Essay assesses open source research to determine the relative effectiveness of two alternative strategies for directing lethal attacks against terrorist groups: leadership decapitation, or degradation of mid-level management.
Latest in Targeted Killings
The Intercept yesterday released its latest scoop: a cache of leaked documents on the U.S. drone program, presented as a series of blockbuster stories.
Nearly seven years into his presidency, we probably shouldn’t be asking who Barack Obama is any more. We should already know him well.
Yet at least as pertains to the drone program, we have yet to figure the man out.
A little-noticed provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 might expand Congressional oversight of kill/capture operations conducted by the U.S. military. The change arguably reflects the ongoing process whereby U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is coming to resemble our involvement in Yemen and Somalia (and we now might add Libya), and constitutes the latest development in the long-running process whereby we are evolving a legal architecture for kinetic operations in situations that are not obviously full-fledged combat operations.
It appears that the United States conducted an airstrike in Libya yesterday, targeting and killing Mokhtar Belmokhtar--a notorious Algerian terrorist who was once a member of GIA and GSPC, continued as a key leader for GSPC after it affiliated with al Qaeda and became AQIM, and most recently broke with AQIM by going independent with