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Leadership DecapitationStrategic Targeting of Terrorist Organizations$
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Jenna Jordan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781503608245

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503608245.001.0001

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Is Leadership Targeting Effective?

Is Leadership Targeting Effective?

(p.62) 4 Is Leadership Targeting Effective?
Leadership Decapitation

Jenna Jordan

Stanford University Press

The chapter begins by looking at trends in leadership targeting. It then examines the impact of decapitation on organizational activity, organizational existence, attack frequency, and organizational survival. The data shows that organizational size, type, and leadership rank all have an impact on the probability that a group will experience a cessation of organizational activity after leadership decapitation. Large, religious, separatist, and Islamist groups are resilient to decapitation efforts and likely to continue carrying out activity. Targeting the top leader as opposed to members of the upper echelon is more likely to result in a cessation of activity, and groups in countries with a larger population are more likely to withstand leadership attacks. The chapter concludes with an overall assessment of the theoretical implications and policy recommendations regarding the efficacy of leadership targeting.

Keywords:   decapitation data, leadership decapitation, terrorist groups, terrorist attacks, organizational survival, counterterrorism metrics

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