Book Review – James JF Forest, Teaching Terror: Strategic & Tactical Learning In The Terrorist World
Teaching Terror : Strategic & Tactical Learning in the Terrorist World, is a collection of articles by a fine group of contributors, edited by James JF Forest, Director of terrorism studies, US Military Academy. It examines the most important characteristics and venues of terrorist learning and knowledge. It furthers understanding in dimensions of motivation and capabilities by exploring how terrorist groups apply principles of individual and organizational learning to improve their ability to motivate new members, equip them with new skills and become smarter and more lethal.
The book begins with an introduction to the topic of knowledge transfer addressing both organizational and individual dimension. The book is organized into two sections with the first section providing conceptual overviews which assist in understanding knowledge transfer in the terrorist world. Six chapters in this section explore the past, present and future centers of learning in the terrorist world, the role of media as a forum for knowledge transfer in the terrorist world and critical challenges presented by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to include nuclear and radiological technology. The second section offers four case studies on how learning takes place within the context of a terrorist organization. These case studies provide an analysis of the terrorist learning in case of Al Qaeda, Islamic Resistance Movement ( Hamas), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia ( FARC) and Jemaah Islamiyah. In the last chapter the author offers suggestions for policy making and further research.
Recent studies have revealed the global sharing of ideas, tactics, strategies, and lessons learned among various international terrorist organizations to operate in their respective domains. This book approaches the problem of global terrorism from a central lens of knowledge and how it is used to maintain a terrorist organizations capability to carry out its deadly operations.
The book has been laid out in a logical manner and most of the issue has been explained with great detail. The language is jargon free and easier to understand. Presentation of the book is good and leaves the reader with an impact. This book is worth reading by those in uniform as most of the time we are involved in fighting terrorism at domestic level and this book gives a new approach to the problem of terrorism. Focusing not on what terrorist do, but how they learn to do it - can suggest new strategies for degrading the capabilities of extremist groups and reducing the effectiveness of their future attacks. Understanding this learning process can both improve our knowledge of terrorist group's present capabilities and help us to predict how these capabilities may evolve or shift in the future. It is also an educative material for those undertaking research in this field and opens a new area for research. However the book is priced slightly at a higher price and could have been ideal at Rs 350-400.
Article name: Book Review – James JF Forest, Teaching Terror: Strategic & Tactical Learning In The Terrorist World essay, research paper, dissertation