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How to Think Like a Terrorist

  • 214 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast Washington, DC, 20002 United States (map)

Sun Tzu’s advice in The Art of War remains as true today as when he first wrote it down 2,500 years ago: “Know yourself; know your enemy; in a hundred battles you will never be defeated.” Among the first steps in formulating any strategy is to understand one’s adversary, including how the adversary thinks. How then do terrorists think about strategy? More specifically, in what ways do they think about strategy differently than we do? Through a careful study of terrorist organizations spanning the globe, Professor Walling has distilled the key lessons Americans must learn about terrorist strategy in order to defeat terrorists.

Professor Walling served as an interrogator in the U.S. Army from 1976-1980. He earned his BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1992. Following teaching and research appointments with Harvard University, Carleton College, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado College, and the Liberty Fund, he has served with the Naval War College since 2000. Walling is the author of Republican Empire: Alexander Hamilton on War and Free Government and co-editor, with Brad Lee of Strategic Logic and Political Rationality.