In this age of asymmetric warfare, battles are fought more and more against armed groups of opponents such as terrorists, insurgents, or transnational criminal organizations. This text is the first to categorize armed groups and analyze their characteristics in a systematic way to provide a thorough overview of all types of armed groups and the role they play in today's security environment.
Drawing on international case studies and histories, the work analyzes the objectives, strategies, and internal composition of armed groups and the environments that foster them. It demonstrates that armed groups often behave in an hybrid fashion, be it the criminal actions terrorists groups take to fund their goals or the role terrorist actions play in criminal organizations. As such dividing lines blur, governments need to figure out how, where, and when these armed groups are operating in zones of conflict or peace, as well as their motivations, structures, and ultimate objectives.
This thorough and groundbreaking study will provide students with a strategic view of who armed groups are, how to analyze them, and what geopolitical and geostrategic factors influence their origins and operations.
Peter G. Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
Country of Publication:
14 August 2014
Professional and scholarly
1. Introduction Importance of the Topic What Are Armed Groups ? Book Objectives Armed Groups and International Relations Theory Conclusion Discussion Questions Recommended Reading Notes 2. Conflict in the Twenty-First Century Interstate Conflict Decreasing The New War Paradigm? Irregular Warfare Role of Geopolitical and Geostrategic Factors US Participation in Intrastate Conflicts Armed-Group Threats to the United States Discussion Questions Recommended Readings Notes 3. What Are Armed Groups? Distinguishing Between Armed Groups and State Militaries Common Armed-Group Characteristics Armed-Group Formation Challenging the Nonstate Actor Label Discussion Questions Organization Membership Ideology Objectives Discussion Questions Recommended Readings Notes 4. Armed-Group Archetypes Insurgents Terrorists Transnational Criminal Organizations Militias Commercial Armed Groups Evolution, Hybridization, and the Crime-Terror Nexus Discussion Questions Recommended Readings Notes 5. Internal Characteristics Leadership Organization Membership Ideology Objectives Discussion Questions Recommended Readings Notes 6. External Characteristics Strategy Tactics Strategic Communications External Support Discussion Questions Recommended Readings Notes 7. Combating Armed Groups Combating Grievances and the Environment Military, Political, Legal, and Economic Constraints on Governments General Countering Strategies Combating the Armed Group Conclusion Discussion Questions Recommended Readings Notes 8. Conclusion Armed-Group Adaptation and Evolution Future Armed-Group Threats Combating Armed Groups Three Questions Recommended Readings Notes Bibliography Index
Peter G. Thompson is associate professor of international security studies at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Washington, DC.
Reviews for Armed Groups: The 21st Century Threat
Vital read for thinking about one of the principle agents of the new world disorder. -- James Jay Carafano, Vice President, Heritage Foundation An essential and hugely welcome guide to understanding the myriad of armed groups that now operate in an era where irregular warfare is the norm. -- Theo Farrell, Dept. of War Studies, King's College London