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Anti-Terrorism: A Role For The Marines?
CSC 1984
SUBJECT AREA Warfighting
                                 Submitted to
                            Dr. Rudolph V. Wiggins
                    In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements
                          for Written Communications
                  The Marine Corps Command and Staff College
                              Quantico, Virginia
                               Major T. J. Sukow
                          United States Marine Corps
                                 April 6, 1984
Thesis: The United States Marine Corps efforts regarding the
threat of terrorism should be passive rather than active.
 I. Terrorism
     A. Background information:
          1. The growth of terror
          2. The influence of technology.
     B. U.S. Marine Corps involvement.
     C. Military power Vs terrorism.
     D. Introduction to the study.
II. Definition
     A. Terms:
          1. Terrorism.
          2. International terrorism.
          3. Insurgency.
     B. The people:
          1. Leaders.
          2. Troops.
          3. Organizations.
III. Reasons for growth:
     A. "Open society."
     B. Poor intelligence system.
     C. National wealth.
     D. Social ideals.
IV.  Anti-Terrorism and the Military.
     A.  Israel.
     B.  Great Britian.
          1. S.A.S.
          2. 45 Commando.
     C. United States.
          1. Iranian raid.
          2. Special unit.
V. Role of the Marines.
     A. Mission Vs organization.
     B. Proposed role for USMC.
     C. Conclusion.
     The fact of terrorism is a part of the human condition.
Wherever there are men and women who wish to change a way of life,
there are those who are willing to employ violence should their
political desires not be satisfied through the accepted political
process.  This assault of violence is inevitable; however, in no
period of history has the incidence of terrorism increased more
than in the past decade.  At no other time in history has the
capability existed for a relatively small group to reach into the
living rooms of millions of people worldwide with a weapon no more
powerful than a handgun.  Today's high speed communication (means)
has brought the entire world into our homes, and has given the
terrorist an international audience through the use of violence,
the more spectacular the better.  Modern technological
advancements in weaponry allow the terrorist to make his point in
more spectacular means than ever thought possible.  The lure of
the publicity available, coupled with the means  has made the
terrorist a factor of concern for us all.
     The attack on the Marine unit in Beruit by a group of Iranian
terrorists placed the Marine Corps in the forefront of the
nations' scrutiny.  Politicians and newsmen throughout the country
are accusing military commanders at all levels of incompetence,
and are calling for the resignation of some of our finest leaders.
 This apprears, at least on the surface to be a "knee-jerk
reaction" to a terrible events but is it?  Or is this reaction   
simply a diversion from the events of the past decade which
allowed the terrorist activity directed at our country to
flourish.  The military, more specifically the Marine Corps, is
accustomed to violence. In fact, the proper management and
controlled application of violence  is the aim of the profession.
The violence of the military profession is, however, an accented
practice world wide.  The United Nations in its charter states
that, "A nation has the right, by force of arms, to take those
actions nesessary to preserve its right of self-determination...."
The question that must be asked is, what constitutes actions
defined by the term "self-determination," and what acts are acts
of mere terrorism?  It has been said that, "one man's terrorist is
another man's freedom fighter."  Put another way, the political
structure of the earth varies.  The views and concepts, because of
culture, religion and education, are very different in different
lands.  The problem lies in defining terrorism and implementing
methods aimed at preventing its spread.  A thorough understanding
of what has transpired over the past decade is essential to
understanding the proper steps that the Marines should adopt in
their counter-terrorist role.
     This paper is divided into four parts, and is intended to
present the reader with the information needed to understand my
proposal for the Marine Corps' response to the threat of
terrorism.  In part one of this study, I will attempt to define
terrorism first, as an insurgent tactic, and second, as an
international political force.  Part two will trace the growth of
terrorism to the present time, and attempt to provide the root
causes of the growth.  The third section will offer a view of both
The United States' and foreign military attempts at combating
terror. The final part of this paper will attempt to establish a
workable alternative for The United States Marine Corps'
contribution in the nation's strategy concerning
anti/counter-terrorist activities.
                        PART ONE
     Key to understanding the methodology required to combat the
spread of terrorism, is an understanding of the definitions
involved.  First, one must define terrorism.
             "'George Washington was a terrorist.  To decribe a man as
             a terrorist is a term of honor.'  So spoke
             one of the Baader-Meinhof defendants after
             his arrest...But while it may be true when
             applied to national movements fighting
             against tyranny when no other means are
             available, it is more difficult to sustain
             when applied to those terrorist movements
             which cut across recognized national and
             idealogical boundaries and which use those
             weapons against civilian populations rather
             than striking at the forces of oppression."1
The definition of terrorism used in this study comes
from The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and states that,
"Terrorism is the application of psychological pressure (fear)
resulting from the threat of or actual employment of 
indiscriminate violence in the attempt to achieve political gain
by a group of individuals whose organization by its' lack of
sufficient size cannot effect change in an accepted manner."2 As
you can see from the definition, the act of terror can be used by
anyone.  Fear is a powerful weapon.  An act of violence anywhere
in the world today induces fear everywhere.  More important to
this study are the following definitions:  international terrorism
is, "any heinious act of barbarism committed within the territory
of a third state by a foreigner against a person possessing a
nationality other than that of the offender for the purpose of
exerting pressure in a conflict not strictly internal in nature.";3
insurgency is, "the revolution against civil authority or
constituted government.  The insurgency can be either violent or
     The groups who participate in each of these activities are,
by definition, terrorists; however, I would like to concentrate on
the most serious threat to our security, the international
terrorist.  Who is the he?  What is the make up of a his gang?
What are his goals?  How is he financed?  How and where does he
get his training?   These are all questions that must be answered
to understand the terrorist himself.  Throughout a Marine's
training, he is taught to "know your enemy."
     Allow me to introduce you to the terrorist himself.  The
terrorist leader is a highly educated, idealistic individual
usually in his early twenties.  "Their campaigns involve guerrilla
leaders who, unlike the guerrilla troups of the Irish and
Palestinians, have received better than average education and
often come from prosperous families.  They can afford the
intellectual luxury of launching themselves into violent politics
without the pressures of poverty to drive them on."5  This is the
discription supplied by Christopher Dobson, a noted expert on
terrorism, and is accurate in the case of the leaders; the troups
of terror are a different story. The ranks of the various groups
swell with members motivated by much less lofty ideals.
             "Some join for money, some for therapy and some for
             excitement.  When the 'Bonny and Clyde'
             image of the Baader-Meinhof had spread,
             others came into the movement attracted by
             combination of excitement and the possibilty
             of sexual indulgence.  Others thought of
             terrorism as a kind of student happening
             'with arms.'  Yet the original members
             remained self-rightous to the end,
             arrogantly convinced of their own moral and
             intellecual superiority."6
     The groups or gangs themselves are usually small
(10-15 members), dedicated and dramatic.  Their expressed
political ambitions run the gambit from "anti-just about
anything," to the complete overthrow of an existing form of order.
 Most contain women, who seem to be more fanatical and, history
has shown, much more prone to cruelty, than their male
counterparts. The majority of the international terror
organizations are well financed, usually by external sourses, and
exceptionally well trained. Considering their methods, who would
possibly support terrorist operations?  Why would anyone finance a
campaign of fear and death?
     The majority of terrorist action is directed toward the
overthrow of the capitalistic system, a system that is in the
minds of the terrorists, "oppressive of the masses." The stated
goal of international communism is world domination.  Although the
various communist states do not publicly support terrorist action,  
the disruption in free societies that results from the violent
action, lends credibilty to the communist claim of national order
through communism. The weapons of terror, i.e.rifles, pistols,
rockets, and explosive devises, are standard weapons of the Soviet
Bloc countries.  Training camps, where the terrorist receives
training in the use of explosives, individual weaponry and martial
arts, can be found in both Syria and Lybia. (Both countries
additionally offer "safe-haven" for terrorists.)  Russia's Patrice
Lamumba University specializes in tactics and espionage training.
And "among the most effective training organizations for the new
generation of transnational terrorist were those set up in Cuba
after Fidel Castro came to power...camps were set up under both
Cuban and Russian instructors."7
     We are dealing with an extremely well trained, well equipped
adversary.  One who is educated, physically strong and dedicated
to the point of fanatisism.  He has a goal, and cares little about
those who might be killed; this is his means of political
expression.  He is deadly serious, and treatens not only the
success of military operations, but the vary way of life which we
have sworn to defend.  The fear that the terrorist injects into
our lives threatens the fiber of our lifestyle.  The main threat
of his activities thus far, has been in Europe, but every
indication points to future activity in the United States.
     We, in The United States, have been rather fortunate.
Terrorism has not encroached on our shores to the same extent as
in many other areas of the world, but it will.  We are, as a
nation, the proverbial "China shop," and the terrorists the
"bull."  We offer the terrorist a deal too good to refuse, the
largest, most powerful free nation on Earth.  We are free, we are
vulnerable and we are prosperous.
     Terrorist activities have occured throughout the world.
Terrorist activity in the free nations however, has far exceeded
that of the more restrictive societies.  The spread of terrorist
activities in The United States is a direct result of national
policy.  First, the structure of our society is very open.  The
constitutional freedoms that are the basis for our democracy
guarantee the right of very individual, whether he is a law
abiding member of society or a terrorist.  Additionally, our laws
provide complete freedom of the written and spoken word; the right
of dissent is held dear by us all.  These rights however, are also
applicable to those who desire to overthrow our system, and thus,
the terrorist has the opportunity to operate freely within the
system.  Here lies the most interesting contradiction of the
terrorist philosophy, those societies that offer the greatest
amount of freedom, are the terrorists most sought after targets.
     Secondly, we feel that every nation on earth has the right to
determine its' own form of government, and that any interference
by sources external to any nation's political system is
unacceptable.  Our nation unfortunately, saw its' own intelligence
agencies as a threat to this policy, and thus, saw a need to
completely emasculate intelligence operations overseas.  The
Congress of the United States, following the "Watergate" era,
passed several measures aimed at protecting society from
government control.  These are just a few of the measures taken
and their results.
             "The freedom of infomation act was amended giving
             increased public access to classified
             information...The Privacy Act allowed
             individuals to determine 'what records
             pertaining to them were being compiled' by
             government agencies.  It banned the keeping
             of records on people belonging to
             revolutionary or subversive groups.  These
             two acts mostly affected internal security.
             But the Ryan Act was more concerned with
             external affairs, and forbade the President
             to authorize the conduct of any covert
             activity, without first consulting six
             Congressional committees....The Levi
             Guidelines...banned the FBI from
             'harrassment' of known terrorist
             organizations and forbade 'illegal' entry by
             FBI agents into terrorist premises.  Two
             years later, the head of the Bureau would
             report that his organization was 'out of the
             domestic security business.'  In 1978 the
             Foreign Surveillance Act required the
             Executive Banch to seek warrants before
             'bugging' any residence or organization for
             the purposes of national security."8
     The United States is a wealthy country.  Because
we are wealthy, we have the opportunity, not only to trade with
other nations, but also the opportunity to assist in their
economic developement.  This economic support of other nations is
the third reason the the U.S. is the target of the terrorist.
"The Arab armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan had been defeated in
the Six Day War in 1967...and so they took their war to Europe,
where they dicovered left-wing intellectual support for their
cause, based on the premise that since Israel depended for its
survival on The United States, any blow struck at the American
economy, even though the blow was administered in Europe, would
effect the support the U.S. would be willing to grant Israel."9
This resulted in terrorist attacks against American businessmen
and American  corporations throughout Europe.  What worries us all
is, not only have these assaults increased in frequency and
distruction, but they have reached acrossed the oceans, and now
even at home U.S. citizens are no guaranteed safety.
     The potential for the growth of terrorist activity, in both
scope and frequency is horrifying.  The destructive power through
modern technology, the increased mobility of the Jet Age and the
live media coverage brought available, all assist the terrorist in
his campaign of fear.  It is this fear that invades our society
that the terrorist feeds upon.  The government's reaction to the
terrorist threat must be as cunning as the threat itself.  Any
action that is taken, must be weighed against the possible
reaction of the people effected.  One must remember that the main
goal of the terrorist is the collapse of the free society.  If
action is taken that restricts freedom of the populous with the
goal of population protection, the terrorist objectives have been
met.  The terrorist scream of "foul" should his legal rights be
suppressed would gain credibility. How can the terrorist be
contained?  Some nations have turned to their military might.
     Perhaps the best method of explaining the use of a military
force in a anti-terrorist role is through the use of example.
Israel, Great Britian and the United States all have employed
military forces in anti-terrorist roles.  Each nation has
demonstrated varying degrees of success.  One lesson learned by
all however, was that the use of a military unit must be carefully
managed.  Anti-terrorism is an extremely specialized operation.
The United States has restrictions concerning the employment of
its military for matters of internal concern, thus the military
might of The U.S. can only be excersised externally.  Israel and
Great Britian both utilize their military to augment police units
in matters of domestic enforcement.
     "It is laid down the Talmud, the holy book of Jewish law,
that 'if someone comes to kill you, rise and kill him first.' And
that, under the impact of centuries of oppression and the attempt
to wipe out the Jewish race in the Holocaust, has become the
watchword of the Sayaret Matkal, the razor-sharp cutting edge of
Israel's anti-terrorist forces."10 Israel's efforts in her
anti-terrorist action are a result of refinement since her birth.
She is surrounded by those who wish her death.  Because of the
obvious threat to her people from her neighbors, Israel has a
policy of prevention through force.  Although each Israeli
military branch has an elite unit which is exceptionally well
trained, Israel established a seperate unit to counter the
terrorist. (Israeli reconnaissance/strike units are considered
among the best in the world.)  The Sayaret Matkal is organized
similiar to a military unit, but is not considered part of the
Israeli national military.  Members are recruited through normal
military channals, are required to serve in uniform and are based
at a military air base, but that is where the similarity ends.
The unit does not fall under the cognizance of the military, but
rather under the control of the Chief of Intelligence.  Sayaret
Matkal responds to any situation worldwide involving Israeli
citizens, on a moment's notice.  It was The Sayaret Matkal unit
that conducted the raid at the Entebbe Airport.  The effectiveness
of the unit cannot be denied.  Success in utilizing the military
unit is not limited to Israel.
     Great Britian is proud of her two military anti-terrorist
orgaizations, the SAS and the Royal Marine, 45 Commando Group.
The SAS (Special Air Service) is an elite parachute unit of the
British military.  Its ranks are comprised of only the finest men
available.  Training is continuous, difficult and very effective.
The average SAS volenteer is 28 years of age, is either an officer
or NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) who has demonstrated exceptional
skill and intellect and is in supurb physical condition.  Only a
small percentage (2-4%) of those who start training become SAS
members.  Those who complete the screening process receive
intensive training in hand to hand fighting, intelligence
gathering and analysis, and anti-terrorist tactics.  The SAS uses
the terrorist's most valuable weapon, fear.  The unit is known as
ruthless in its employment of force, and demonstrated its "no
prisoners" policy during a successful raid against the terrorist
held Iranian Embassy in London.  "This reputation appeared to have
its desired effect in bringing to the end the Balcombe Street
siege in London in December of 1975 when a Provisional IRA 'action
unit' of four men took over a flat and held its occupants
hostage.... They were surrounded, but held out for six days.  It
was announced on the radio that a 'Pagoda' team (SAS) was assigned
to the scene, and to quote Sir Robert Mark, 'They couldn't
surrender fast enough."11
     45 Commando, Royal Marines, is also assigned anti-terrorist
duty; however, the mission of 45 Commando is much different from
that of the SAS unit.  One perceived target of terror is the oil
fields of the North Sea.  45 Commando is assigned reaction
responsibility to this area.  This is very specifically an
amphibious mission.  Like the U.S. Marines, the British Marine
unit is well trained for this type of operation.
     The United States has made one attempt in dealing with a
terrorist operation through the use of its military, the attempted
rescue operation in Iran.  This was a combined operation (uints
from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps) of a conventional
military nature, and the mission ended in failure.  Since the U.S.
failure in Iran, the government has realized that terrorism is an
unconventional problem that requires other than normal counters.
Anti-terrorist operations can only expected to be successful when
they are conducted by a specialized unit.  The Army has
established such a unit to combat the terrorist threat.  Little is
known about its' structure or potential, but a unit does exist.
However, one fact still remains, because of the self-imposed
restriction banning the internal use of military force, this
special unit is not intended as a anti-terrorist solution for use
at home.
     The United States Marine Corps must be capable of
accomplishing the missions required of it by the United States
government.  These missions are established within the goals of
our country's national strategy.  Employment of Marine forces is
determined by the goals and strategic requirements of our nation.
The Marine Corps is a relatively small, but highly mobile force
which is capable of projecting combat power in any area of the
world on a very short notice.  The amphibious nature of Marine
operations, and the historical success of the Marines cause
concern for our opponents whenever amphibious shipping is seen off
their shores.
     The Marine Corps is organized in a manner that causes
reliance on its own internal structure for success.  The Marine
Air/Ground Tack Force (MAGTF) is structured and trained as a team
which is self-sufficient in combat.  Within that team structure
are found elite reconnaissance units that specialize in the type
of tactics used by such units as the British SAS.  The number of
these reconnaissance elements in the Corps is small.  Because the
MAGTF depends heavily on these few men, and because the national
strategy requires the Marine Corps to be capable of deploying two
MAGTFs, the Corps cannot afford to loss these valued assets to a
anti-terrorist role without placing the potential for success of
the MAGTF mission in jeopardy, a situation which neither the
nation, nor the Corps can afford.  The Beruit bombing that killed
over 240 Marines graphically demonstrated that the Marines are
subject to terrorist activities.  The question is, what should the
Corps do?
     The Marine Corps' effort concerning terrorism should be
dedicated to preventing the threat's operations from effecting the
Marine Corps mission capabilities, not conducting anti-terrorist
operations.  The Corps possesses a significant threat to our foes.
Maintaining its capability in a ready status is the most
important contribution that the Corps can make to our nation's
defense.  To insure that the Marines are ready, they must protect
themselves from the terrorist threat.
     Marine troops must be educated in the area of
counter-terrorism.  Training Marines in methods of security that
will prevent terrorists from accomplishing their missions, will
reduce the possibility of terrorist attack.  To accomplish these
goals the Marine Corps should implement the following program:
              1.) Provide each unit, down to the battlion/squadron
             level, an additional officer trained in
             counter-terrorist operations. (The table of
             organization should refect this additional
             individual under a special staff of the
             commnding officer).  The counter-terrorist
             Officer or CTO would have the responsibility
             for developing and implementing that unit's
             Counter-terrorist Plan.
               2.)  The Marine Corps should, in concert
             with the Department of Defense and the
             Federal Bureau of Investigation, request the
             establishment of a national level school to
             train officers for CTO billets.
               3.)  Counter-terrorist training should be
             included in the cirriculum of all career
             level schools. 
               4.)  Counter-terrorist plans should be
             tested through the Marine Corps Readiness
             Evaluation System, and on all Inspector and
             Commanding General Inspections.
               5.)  CMC should initiate a recommendation
             through the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the
             establishment of a Joint Intelligence Agency
             at the JCS level, tasked with providing all
             the of the sevice branches with information
             conserning terrorist threats.
     Terrorism is a national problem.  The Marine
Corps is a strong and dedicated organization that gives the nation
a capability which no other service can match.  The maintenance of
that capability should be the Marine's concern, and not the
conduct of anti-terrorist operations.  Anti-terrorism is a special
form of warfare, requiring special training, tactics and equipment
to for success.  An anti-terrorist force must be at least as well
trained and well eqipped as its enemy.  Only an organization
dedicated to anti-terrorist operations, such as the SAS or tide
Israeli Sayaret Matkal, can expect success in combating tlie
terrorist. The U.S. Marine Corps training is much more like that
of the British, 45 Commando unit and therefor, Marines should 
concentrate on missions for which they are trained.  Until a
mission is identified for which a highly mobile, amphibious
oriented force is best suited, the U.S. Marine Corps should direct
its' efforts regarding terrorism toward the counter-terrorist,
security operations which best suits the Corps' training and
structure.  Only an organization which is not employment
restricted by national law, but which is properly structured,
equipped and  trained can expected to be successful conducting
anti-terrorist operations within the confines of this country.
The United States Marine Corps fits none of these catagories;
therefor, Marines should orient their efforts for the defense
rather than for the offense.
      1Christopher Dobson et al., The Terrorist:  Their Weapons, Leaders
and Tactics, (New York:  Facts on File Inc., 1981), II, p. 44.
      2James Conley, Director of FBI Counter-terrorist section,
Lecture:  "Terrorism and the FBI", US Marine Corps, Command and
Staff College, Quantico, Virginia, February 2, 1984.
      3Brian Jenkins et al., International Terrorism:  A Chronology
1968-74, (Washington, D.C.:  Rand Corp. for the Department of
State, March 1975), p. 2.
      4Robert Taubert, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lecture:
"Terrorism and the FBI", U.S. Marine Corps, Command and Staff
College, Quantico, Virginia, February 2, 1984.
      5Dobson et al., p. 44.
      6Ibid., p. 48.
      7Ibid., p. 75
      8Christopher Dobson et al., Counterattack, (New York:  Facts
on File, 1982), p. IX.
      9Ibid., pp. 52-53.
     10Ibid., p. 77.
     11Ibid., p. 139
1.  Bell, J. Bowyer.  Transnational Terror.  Washington, D.C.:
AEI-Hoover Study, 1975.
2. Beres, Louis R.  Terorism an-Global Security.  Boulder, Col.:
Western Press, 1979.
3. Burtron, Anthony.  Revolutionary Violence: The Theories.  New
York: Crain Russak, 1978.
4. Cluttelback, Richard.  Guerrillas and Terrorists.  Chicago,
Ill.: Ohio University Press, 1980.
5. Demanis, Ovid.  Brothers in Blood.  New York: Scriber, 1977.
6. Dobson, Christopher et al.  Counterattack.  New York: Facts on
File, 1982.
7. Dobson, Christopher et al. The Terrorists: Their Weapons,
Leaders and Tactics. New York: Facts on File, 1979.
8. Herman, Edward. The Real Terror Network. Boston: South End
Press, 1982.
9. Jenkins, Brian M. High Technology Terrorism and Surrogate War.
Santa Monica: Rand Corp., 1974.
10. Jenkins, Brian M. International Terrorism: A Chronology.
Washington, D. C.: Rand Corp., 1975.
11. Roberts, Kenneth. Terrorism and the Military Response.
Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: U.S. Army War College, 1975.
12. Waugh, William. International Terrorism: How Nations Respond.
Salisbury, N.C.: Documentary Publications, 1982.

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