Date of Graduation

Spring 2008


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Bradley Thayer


Since the Revolution in Military Affairs triggered by the events of 9-11, there have been broad efforts to "transform" the institutional culture and focus of the national security community. Nonetheless, one skill-set that has not adapted to current requirements is that of broad strategic analysis, especially the sort of threat analysis which can answer more probing strategic questions about the enemy. United States policy in the war on terror is deeply imbued with both ignorance of and indifference toward the self-proclaimed doctrinal motivation of Muslim terrorists. This paper argues that the proper approach of America toward terrorism is not to dissociate Islamist terrorists from their civilizational grounding but to consider them organic to it, different from the majority of its adherents not in their ends but their means. Terrorist ideology, or, more technically, strategic doctrine, is neither based on Western concepts of power-politics nor is it chiefly a reaction to Western policies. This ideology is none other than Islam’s sacred end of the universal dissemination of the religion, law, and polity of the Islamic concept of God and divine law. The transformational first action necessary to upgrade the capabilities of the strategic vision of our national security community must be to incorporate this un-fettered understanding of the world-battlefield into America's grand strategic calculus.


terrorism, defense policy, geopolitics, strategy, jihad

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Pearse R. Marschner

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