Agricultural Terrorism (AGROTERROR) and escalation theory
Gooding, Aeneas R.
Lawson, Letitia L.
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The debate about whether sub-state actors have an interest in conducting a WMD attack using chemical or biological weapons is embedded within escalation theory, which holds that in order to maintain credibility terrorist groups must demonstrate a continued ability to conduct operations and inflict significant numbers of casualties on their enemy, maintaining a consistent, if not escalating, level of violence. This thesis uses E. coli in produce and foot and mouth disease in livestock case studies to evaluate U.S. Systems' ability to contain such an agroterror attack and to estimate likely results of such attacks. The analysis shows that neither a FMD attack on livestock nor an E. coli attack on produce is likely to cause sufficient casualties, economic disruption, and/or fear and panic to constitute escalation from recent conventional attacks for an established international terrorist organization, and therefore agroterror attacks are not likely to be particularly attractive for such organizations.
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