A Statistical Comparison of the Simultaneous Attack/ Persistent Pursuit Theory Against Current Methods in Counterterrorism Using a Stochastic Model

(1) Eastern Alamance High School, Mebane, North Carolina

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Though current strategies in counterterrorism are somewhat effective, various counterinsurgency theorists have raised doubts about the true efficacy of current methods. Established current strategies are fundamentally flawed, with an overemphasis on eliminating leaders and highly connected agents. Colonel Derek Jones, a counterinsurgency theorist, proposed the Simultaneous Attack/Persistent Pursuit (SAPP) Theory as a superior alternative to current methods. In this strategy, attacks are conducted equally across all fronts of a clandestine intelligence network, from which connections are pursued with further attacks. To determine whether current methods are more or less effective in counterterrorism than the method proposed by the SAPP Theory, a stochastic computational model was developed to represent a traditional eastern clandestine network for an isolated sub-cell of a terrorist organization. Attacks were modeled through the loss of agents within specific components of the network. After an analysis of relevant literature discussing the efficacy of current methods in counterterrorism, we hypothesized that the SAPP model would lead to a greater reduction in the number of terrorist attacks than other methods. We simulated five attack strategies, with each strategy being simulated for thirty trials, and the resulting final number of attacks of the terrorist network was recorded. Through four two-sample t-tests comparing each of the four non SAPP strategies to the SAPP model, we concluded that the SAPP model was significantly more effective in reducing the final number of terrorist attacks. This demonstrates the comparative advantage of utilizing the SAPP model, which may prove to be critical in future efforts in counterterrorism.

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counterterrorism sapp theory terrorist attacks networks