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'Designing Danger': Complex Engineering by Violent Non-State Actors: Introduction to the Special Issue


'Designing Danger': Complex Engineering by Violent Non-State Actors: Introduction to the Special Issue

Abstract: 

This Special Issue of the Journal of Strategic Security (JSS) presents the results of a series of case studies of prior efforts by VNSAs to engage in complex engineering tasks, in the hope of informing strategic assessments of the threat of VNSA exploitation of emerging technologies.

One particular concern in international security lies at the nexus of violent non-state actors (VNSAs) and sophisticated technologies. When it comes to the assessment of such threats, much of the analysis hinges upon being able to accurately judge the desire and capability of adversaries to successfully carry out complex engineering operations. Yet, the actual process of how and why VNSAs engage in these efforts and the determinants of their success or failure are understudied aspects, at least in terms of systematic comparison across actors, technologies and time periods. This special issue presents the results of a series of case studies of prior efforts by VNSAs to engage in complex engineering tasks, in the hope of informing strategic assessments of the threat of VNSA exploitation of emerging technologies. The introductory article defines a complex engineering effort, summarizes the existing literature on the topic and sets out the methodology and framing questions used in the case studies.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Ackerman, Gary A. 2016. "'Designing Danger': Complex Engineering by Violent Non-State Actors: Introduction to the Special Issue." Journal of Strategic Security 9 (March): 1-11. http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol9/iss1/3/

START Author(s): 
Gary Ackerman
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