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How Terrorist Groups End

Christopher Harmon, November 26, 2019

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Please note this event is on a Tuesday not our normal Wednesday schedule.

About the speaker

Dr. Christopher C. Harmon is the Donald Bren Chair of Great Power Competition at Marine Corps University (MCU) where he lectures across the schools within MCU – (the Marine Corps War College – MCWAR, the Command and Staff College – CSC, the School of Advanced Warfighting – SAW, and the Expeditionary Warfare School – EWS.) Some terrorist campaigns are short; some last for decades. Most terrorist campaigns do end….but how? The answers not only reveal much about a given terrorist group, they also aid us in identifying good strategies for countering such political violence. Dr. Harmon’s work — from a 2004 think tank report to lectures at the National Counter-Terrorism Center and Interpol headquarters — has focused on five results: defeat of the terrorists by force; arrest or killing of the leader(s); terrorism’s turn up a pacific political path; defeat via good grand strategy including law enforcement; and terrorist success. His lecture will address a dozen important modern groups of varied ideologies and will include Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Long ago stirred by the question of this evening’s topic, Dr. Harmon created a rubric and concept of analysis, articulated in many publications from 2004 through 2010, including a book chapter for Cambridge University Press in early 2006. He is lead author or editor of six books, including A Citizen’s Guide to Terrorism & CounterterrorismToward A Grand Strategy Against Terrorism, and The Terrorist Argument. The latter book’s thesis was presented at a Westminster Institute lecture in December, 2017 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q8U7T1vJcw).
Harmon’s most recent essays are in Combating Terrorism Exchange, the geopolitical journal Orbis, and Oxford Bibliographies

Dr. Harmon wrote his political science dissertation on terrorism in the early 1980s at the Claremont Graduate School in California, where he had also earned his M.A. He continued that work as Legislative Aide for Foreign Policy to a member of Congress and, much later, director of counterterrorism studies programs in Asia and Europe for the U.S. government. A professor at civilian and military graduate schools, including the Naval War College, Dr. Harmon has also taught courses at The Institute of World Politics on terrorism and on counterterrorism.


A transcript will be made available following the event.

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