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Asking the Right Questions: A Framework for Assessing Counterterrorism Actions

This paper asserts there is currently little with which to assess the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts and aims to provide a framework to do so. To begin, it identifies the five predominant contemporary theories of terrorism and associated counterterrorism responses. It then provides a series of questions regarding a method’s ability to degrade a terrorist organization’s cohesion, recruitment abilities, and communication, among other criteria. The answers to these questions are meant to guide policymakers in determining to what extent counterterrorism efforts have been effective and adjust approaches as necessary.

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