MSFS-712 Violent Non-State Actors
Fall for 2011-2012
This seminar combines elements of all three MSFS concentrations in the analysis of actual and emerging violent non-state actors (VNSAs).
The rise of violent non-state actors (terrorists, religious extremists, tribes, pirates, insurgents and international criminal syndicates) challenging the security interests of the worlds’ major powers shows no sign of abating. As events in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Colombia, Central America and Mexico demonstrate, once non-state actors opt for violence, it becomes exceedingly more difficult and costly to channel them towards political participation and licit, peaceful behavior.
Identifying and preempting groups from violence will be a critical challenge to national security and foreign policy in the years ahead, particularly so since our interconnected world allows these non-state actors to easily find common cause and support from fellow groups and governments. Central to any successful preemptive strategy is the identification of “ungoverned spaces” (political and security vacuums), both rural and urban, within a country’s national territory. Once identified, early engagement, utilizing guiding principles and best practices that have worked elsewhere will be key.
The workshop will be divided into three segments. In Segment One, participants will identify and analyze a selective sampling of power vacuums (ungoverned spaces) within states that have hosted VNSA and whose threats have become transnational. The analysis will focus on the conditions which have created the ungoverned space and the rise of the VNSA, particularly its Point of Inflection or tipping point to violence.
Segment Two will examine best practices and failed remedies towards ameliorating the violence of these groups. In Segment Three, workshop participants will simulate a “fusion center” by taking on the roles of security, intelligence, aid delivery agencies and foreign ministries in proposing remedies and constructing an action plan to an actual VNSA.
Course requirements include oral and written individual and group presentations in each of the three Segments. Course readings and exercises will be supplemented by US and foreign practitioners.
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