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Learning about terrorism: Analysis, simulations, and future directions

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This paper surveys the various activities of the Study Group on International Terrorism at the University of Oklahoma. The Study Group has employed the following phases in analyzing a form of conflict that has increasingly seized the world’s headlines and challenged the capacity of governments to meet a particularly insidious type of political violence. In PHASE I, Ascertaining the Scope of the Investigation, problems related to defining "terrorism" and evolving a focus for analysis are recounted. In PHASE II, The Collection of Data and Initial Analysis, the techniques employed by the Study Group in collecting and evaluating data dealing with incidents of terrorism are discussed. In addition, a number of the preliminary findings of the studies are presented. In PHASE III, Application and Evaluation, the methods by which the initial findings were employed to develop a wide variety of programs related to developing alternatives to meet the threat of terrorism are discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on problems related to reconciling the need for an effective tactical response when an incident occurs with the equally pressing requirement for effective hostage negotiation. Under the section entitled Simulations, the techniques employed in developing a series of highly realistic simulations involving: (1) the University of Oklahoma Security Department, (2) the Norman Police Department, (3) members of a U.S. Army Special Forces Unit, and (4) flight attendants aboard the mock-up of a cabin at the training facility of a leading international airline are presented. In addition, certain patterns that emerge from the simulations are noted. In PHASE IV, Policy Implications, the patterns mat emerged from the simulations are related to broader policy questions that not only include the need for more effective training techniques for law enforcement personnel, but also stresses the need to provide exercises that would promote administrative cooperation among senior level officials from the different jurisdictions that would be involved if an incident were to occur. In PHASE V, Future Directions, new areas of analysis and training are presented as they particularly relate to the need to sensitize personnel from both the public and private sector who may be high-risk targets for terrorists attacks. © 1978 Crane, Russak 8 Company, Inc.

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