III. Through the Lens of Efficacy—
- Data on Leadership Targeting and Potential Impacts for Communal Support
- – Jenna Jordan
- Tactical Efficacy: “Notorious” UCAVs and Lawfare
- – Marek Madej
- Strategic Efficacy: The Opinion of Security and a Dearth of Data
- – Steven J. Barela
- Systemic Efficacy: “Potentially Shattering Consequences for International Law
- – Robert Kolb
While at first glance the realm of efficacy can be mistakenly considered straightforward, this sphere is better understood as “tremendously complex and deceptively simple”. One of the reasons behind this is the fact that there are various terms and meanings that can be applied. For example, the word “efficiency” is related, but addresses cost/benefit analysis to measure the outcome of a law on society, whereas the term “effectiveness” can be seen as the capacity of a rule to bring about the behavior desired within a society. However, this model is not meant to analyze the effect of a rule on society, but rather the effectiveness of government in achieving its goals with counterterrorism policy. Thus the lens is inverted to look at the government rather than society.
The first step in carrying out this inverted objective of analyzing policy is to explain that the term we apply in this model of legitimacy is efficacy. The working definition comes from its direct derivative: efficacious. A policy should be judged by the Oxford English Dictionary definition of the term: “that [which] produces, or is certain to produce, the intended or appropriate effect”. Considering all that is at stake in the use of deadly force, this is an appropriately high standard for judging efficacy.
As a second step, it is necessary to note the fact that this definition of efficacy opens the door to different tools of measurement for arriving at an empirical validity. The method can shift depending upon the specific policy under review and it is not appropriate to pretend that there is but one applicable instrument of measurement that can be put forward. For instance, we find that some of the empirical research questioning the effectiveness of armed drones has arrived at directly opposite conclusions. In this case, their divergence can be attributed to various reasons: differing definitions of the desired outcome, a difficulty with proving lines of causality, the introduction of counterfactual claims, and a dearth of empirical evidence. To avoid sweeping assertions of little utility, the authors in this section remain measured and modest in their assessments of empirical validity. Additionally, in an attempt to delineate some of the essential differences regarding efficacy, this section is divided into chapters treating the data on leadership targeting, tactical efficacy, strategic efficacy, and systematic efficacy as we look through this lens of the model.
Data on Leadership Targeting and Potential Impacts for Communal Support
Jenna Jordan begins this section. While leadership targeting has become a key feature of current counterterrorism policies, many academics and policy-makers have argued without much investigation into the historical data on whether the removal of leaders is an effective policy. Accordingly, this examination of the empirical records on the history of leadership removal is of real additional value. It reveals that groups whose leaders have not been forcibly removed, in fact, have had a faster rate of decline. Further, she identifies that the data indicate that large, older, religious, and separatist organizations—like al Qaeda—are the most likely to survive attacks on their leadership. Looking at the overall efficacy of leadership targeting, she then turns to discuss the role that communal support plays in understanding organizational resilience since it is essential to the ability of a terrorist group to withstand attacks on its leadership. This analysis suggests that, in fact, such targeting may have the counterproductive consequence of bolstering local support for the militants cause.