Structure of Terror Groups

Essay by townsspecialCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2006

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The organization and structure most common to terror groups are command, active cadre, active supporters and passive supporters. This type of structure and organization is often referred to as a pyramid, divided into four levels (White, 2006, p. 35).

Command is the smallest of the levels and represents the top level of the pyramid. Within this level lies the senior leadership of the organization. This Command level is similar to that of the military except more challenging for terrorist.

The next smallest level of the pyramid is the active cadre. These are the terrorist who actually carry out the attack and are usually skilled in a specific area or areas such as explosives, chemicals, weapons, etc. Each terrorist in this level supports each others specialty in order to make their attacks successful (White, 2006, p. 36).

The next level of the pyramid is referred to as the active supporter's level.

It is larger than the command and active cadre levels. These active supporters house, gather intelligence, coordinate logistical operations and provide channels for communications throughout the pyramid (White, 2006, p. 36).

The largest group, which is the base of the pyramid, contains all the passive supporters. They don't directly join a terrorist group, making them almost impossible to identify. Instead they usually only represent a favorable component of a political climate. If a cause is supported politically, the passive supporter group grows. Its size will continue to fluxgate depending on the political climate (White, 2006, p. 36).

The entire pyramid organization is relatively small, usually containing only about fifty people in the entire pyramid. This makes it difficult to carry out complex operations. Because of this, pyramids join larger organizations known as umbrellas. This type of organization provides supplies, resources, and intelligence...