Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Operations Research


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Richard F. Deckro, PhD


Since the attacks of September 11th, 2001, there has been a great deal of attention given to understanding the inner workings of terrorist organizations in order for the United States to be successful in the Global War on Terrorism. Group dynamics has been one area of interest pursued to gain more insight into a terrorist's cognitive battlespace. Until a few years ago, most research on individual commitment and organizational cohesion has been based primarily on questionnaires and open observations on groups that desire to be understood. However, terrorist organizations are clandestine; they constantly employ operations security (OPSEC) to ensure protection and mission accomplishment. This thesis uses Decision Analysis principles, specifically a Value-Focused Thinking-like approach, to develop an initial hierarchical model of significant factors influencing an individual s commitment to a terrorist organization, or any clandestine group of violent extremists. Individuals are evaluated and scored according to the model to identify exploitable vulnerabilities in their commitment level. This information is then used to identify fissures of the entire organization that can be used to diminish the cohesion of the group.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Alternate title on SF-298: "Evaluating the Commitment of Clandestine Group Members"