Secrecy News

Army Intelligence Views Kidnapping and Terrorism

Kidnapping and other forms of terrorist violence have developed into a significant form of asymmetric conflict, according to a new U.S. Army manual (pdf) that describes the theory and practice of kidnapping with numerous case studies from recent years.

“This document promotes an improved understanding of terrorist objectives, motivation, and behaviors in the conduct of kidnapping,” the 168 page manual states.

See “Kidnapping and Terror in the Contemporary Operational Environment,” U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Intelligence Support Activity, 15 September 2008.

The manual on kidnapping is the sixth supplement to “A Military Guide to Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century,” an Army instructional series, portions of which are labeled “for official use only.” A copy of the set was obtained by Secrecy News.

0 thoughts on “Army Intelligence Views Kidnapping and Terrorism

  1. Concerning the DoD “Kidnapping and Terror” TRADOC G2 of September 2008: There are several problems with this document.

    For example, in the first section, there is no such country as “Columbia”; the correct name is “Colombia”.

    Also, contrary to repeated assertions, for example on 1-1, we are not at war. The phrase “war on terror” is just a political slogan, like the “war on poverty” of Lyndon Johnson days (another one with no possible victory). All military personnel take an oath to uphold the Constitution, which explicitly denies the power to declare a war except to the Congress. The idea that we are at war is false and almost unlawful; it should be removed from Army official documents. The violence of terrorism is more like the danger of a 7-11 armed robbery than that of a blitzkrieg or Tet offensive.

    There is another serious problem: On p. 1-7, which also includes a grammatical error, one finds a fundamental definition:

    “Threat: The sum of the potential strengths, capabilities,
    and [something omitted here] of any adversary that can
    limit or negate US mission accomplishment or reduce force,
    system, or equipment effectiveness.”

    This is not the usual definition of a “threat”. Normally,
    a threat is considered a statement or other warning of
    impending harmful activity. So, normally, a threat doesn’t
    depend on the threatened party, but on the threatener.

    This Army “threat” would include Canada, which might cut
    oil or uranium exports, thus reducing equipment effectiveness.
    As anyone knows, the Army strategic plans include possibly
    hostile action, and measures against such action, by every
    foreign country in existence, including Canada or Mexico.
    However, these countries are not by any reasonable metric a

    The problem here is that this Army “threat” depends solely on the
    Army, not on anything beyond it. If self-confident and high
    in morale, very little could be a “threat” to the Army. However,
    to an Army frightened and ready to run away, almost anything
    would be a “threat”.

    The more “threats”, the more scared and ineffective our Army! This
    definition really should be changed, I think.

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