9/11 and its aftermath demonstrated the global reach of al Qa'ida and its capacity to forge transnational, strategic alliances with like-minded groups far from the organisation's home base in Pakistan. Today's terrorists are far more likely to obtain and use weapons of mass destruction to achieve their political aims and their lethal capacity for violence is seldom exercised in conventional ways. The Non-State Challenges program explores the threats posed by these non-state actors and their unconventional methods. In particular, it explores terrorist networks, transnational criminal organisations and the links between the two.
Transnational Terrorism in Southeast Asia: a Net Assessment
In collaboration with its partners the Australian Federal Police and the RAND Corporation, this project focuses on transnational terrorist challenges in Southeast Asia. The aim of the project is to develop an empirical net assessment of the threat posed by Southeast Asia-based jihadist terrorist groups to national and regional security, and of U.S. and Australian military effectiveness in dealing with this threat. Project outcomes include a detailed analysis of the motivations, aims, modus operandi and effectiveness of regional jihadist groups, the methods by which they entrench themselves in local civilian populations, and the extent to which they interact across national borders. American and Australian counterterrorism programs will be audited and strategies will be recommended to enhance their effectiveness consistent with the overall threat environment established in the study's findings.
The Internationalisation of Crime and the Criminalisation of War
The internationalisation of crime and the criminalisation of war have become key strategic issues for defence and foreign policy. A new breed of criminal entrepreneurs has acquired a level of financial and political influence which exceeds that of many states. Borders are no longer serious impediments to criminal transactions and some activities of transnational criminal organisations have moved along the threat continuum towards the traditional concerns of the national security community. Soldiers have become criminals and criminals soldiers, while politically motivated groups are increasingly using illicit activities to finance their operations. This body of research explores transnational criminal activity in the Asia-Pacific region, with particular emphasis on the links between terrorist and criminal groups and national defence forces.