Events at Reed

March 8, 2016

Public Policy Lecture Series: Jenna Jordan, "Does Leadership Targeting Work?"

Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., Vollum lecture hall

Leadership targeting has become a key feature of current counterterrorism policies. However, leadership decapitation is not always successful. In order to explain when groups are susceptible to leadership decapitation and when it can have counterproductive consequences, this talk will evaluate data on terrorist groups from 1970 to the present. A theoretical model to evaluate the efficacy of targeting as a counterterrorism strategy will be applied to the case of Al Qaeda and ISIS in order to assess past and future attempts at organizational destabilization.

Jenna Jordan is an assistant professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in political science from Stanford University, and a B.A. in international relations from Mills College. She previously held a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. Her current book manuscript focuses on the leadership decapitation of terrorist organizations. Using an original database of over 800 instances of leadership attacks, case studies, and a social network analysis of al-Qaeda, the book evaluates the efficacy of leadership targeting as a counterterrorism strategy. Her work has been published in International Security, Security Studies, Conflict Management and Peace Science, the New York Times, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, and the CTC Sentinel. She is on the editorial board of the Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict. Her research has been supported by grants from the University of Chicago, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Sponsored by the Elizabeth C. Ducey Political Science Lecture Fund. For more information on the series, visit their website.

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