JSOU Report – SOF-led Counterterrorism Efforts (March 2020)

JSOU Paper - SOF led CT Efforts

The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) has released a new publication entitled Re-Evaluating Special Operations Forces-Led Counterterrorism Efforts. The 20-page report by Barnett S. Koven ” . . . posits that kinetic counterterrorism (CT) actions undertaken by the state to kill, capture, or otherwise disrupt terrorist groups are ineffective in isolation.”

The report on SOF-led CT efforts argues that while kinetic actions may work in the immediate term, they have little long-term effect on the ability of terrorist groups to operate. Dr. Koven’s research suggests that successful counterterrorism approaches require sequenced kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.

Barnett Koven is an adjunct faculty member of the Joint Special Operations University. He is also a researcher at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START).

Counterterrorism is one of the 12 core U.S. Special Operations Command activities. Currently, according to the author, the US government has a preference for kinetic responses to terrorism. Koven believes that rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of kinetic approaches to CT are lacking.

His paper provides an evaluation of U.S. SOF CT efforts. The first section provides a review of current studies on CT, the second introduces the research hypotheses, and the third on methodology. The results are then presented and discussed in the fourth section and the conclusion is within the fifth and last section.


Re-Evaluating Special Operations Forces-Led Counterterrorism Efforts, by Barnett S. Koven, Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), Occasional Paper, March 2020.

About John Friberg 198 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.