Episode 76 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast discusses the Terrorist’s Dilemma. Our guests begin by examining the tradeoffs terrorist organizations must make between maintaining security and exercising command and control. They then discuss examples of effective counterterrorist (CT) campaigns, what characterizes them, and how best to learn from past CT efforts. Finally, they conclude by discussing how a nuanced understanding of the organizational pressures faced by terrorist organizations can improve CT policy.
Dr. Jake Shapiro is a Navy veteran and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University where he directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. His research covers conflict, economic development, misinformation, and security policy. Dr. Shapiro has conducted field research and large-scale policy evaluations in Afghanistan, Colombia, India, and Pakistan. He is author of The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations, which forms the basis of episode 76. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and an M.A. in Economics from Stanford University.
Colonel Chris Costa (ret.) is the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum and a 34-year veteran of the Department of Defense. He served 25 years in the United States Army working in counterintelligence, human intelligence and with special operations forces in Central America, Europe, and throughout the Middle East. He ran a wide range of intelligence and special operations in Panama, Bosnia, the first and second Iraq wars, and Afghanistan. In 2013, Costa was inducted into the United States Special Operation’s Commando Hall of Honor for a lifetime of service to U.S. Special Operations. Most recently, he served as the Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council.
The Irregular Warfare Podcast is a production of the Irregular Warfare Initiative (IWI). We are a team of volunteers dedicated to bridging the gap between scholars and practitioners in the field of irregular warfare. IWI generates written and audio content, coordinates events for the IW community, and hosts critical thinkers in the field of irregular warfare as IWI fellows. You can follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.