Date of Graduation

Fall 2013


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


interrogation, enhanced interrogation techniques, torture, detainee, war on terror, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Enhanced interrogation techniques are highly controversial. However, it is important to discuss their role and utility in the post-911 security environment, where terrorist organizations are a threat to national and international security. The flaw in the current debate is the fact that enhanced interrogation techniques are discussed within the overall issue of detainee abuse. However, when analyzing the issue of enhanced interrogation techniques from the paradigm of strategic, operational and tactical perspectives it is possible to conclude that enhanced interrogation techniques are legal, appropriate and do not equate to torture. This thesis begins by examining strategic guidance provided by international and domestic law, which allows for clarification of detainee status and the precise guidelines for torture. Second, this thesis analyzes the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency's operation guidance to determine whether the overall United States guidance regarding enhanced interrogation techniques authorizes torture. Finally, this thesis then cites specific cases of detainee abuse to both illustrate tactical implementation of enhanced interrogation techniques and illustrate possible issues of concern. Utilizing this ‘strategic to operational to tactical implementation' framework, I concludes that, under the proper guidance, the United States can implement an enhanced interrogation program that is legal and appropriate for use on detainees that do not qualify for prisoner of war status under the Geneva Convention.


© Brandi Michelle Young

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