Date of Graduation

Spring 2015


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


transnational criminal organizations, terrorist groups, Kurdish Workers' Party, Abu Sayyaf, Los Zetas, Hezbollah, U.S. national security

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


In recent years, transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and terrorist groups (TGs) have formed dynamic relationships, cooperating in terms of financing, material and operational support, and trafficking. The relationship between these organizations developed as they took advantage of new technologies and an increasingly globalized world. This thesis examines the convergence between TCOs and TGs and the threat they pose to the security of the United States. The first part of this thesis takes a brief look at the history and definitions of TCOs and TGs, explores the factors that influence their convergence, and the degree to which their activities and goals overlap. The second part analyzes three case studies: Los Zetas and Hezbollah, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, and Abu Sayyaf. These case studies demonstrate three levels of convergence between TCOs and TGs, and pose scenarios through which the interactions of these groups can be viewed as models that could threaten U.S. security interests. The final part of this thesis offers approaches the U.S. could pursue to have a comprehensive, global strategy to diminish the threat and impact of the convergence of TCOs and TGs, and recommends this strategy include financial, law enforcement, diplomatic and intelligence components.


© Kristin Michele Horitski

Campus Only