Developing methods for identifying, structuring and comparing objectives


Siebert, Johannes; von Winterfeldt, Detlof; John, Richard. “Identifying and Structuring the Objectives of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) and its Followers.” Decision Analysis (INFORMS), 2016, 13(1), 26-50

Siebert, Johannes U.; von Winterfeldt, Detlof. „Comparative Analysis of Terrorists’ Objectives Hierarchies“, Decision Analysis (INFORMS) June 2020, 17(2), 97-114,

Identifying the objectives of a hostile organization whose decision-makers are not interested in cooperation or even contact with them might be dangerous. In such a case, the methods to identify objectives in a cooperative organizations cannot be applied. We developed a method to identify the objectives of a hostile organization using expert interviews and published speeches of their leaders. The method can also be applied in more moderate cases and could find widespread application, for example, to identify a competitor’s objectives. Furthermore, we developed a method to compare the objectives hierarchies of two or more organizations of one organization over time. The identification of such differences is crucial if they have a substantial impact. For example, to ensure the protection of the civilian population in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States concerning attacks by the terrorist group Islamic State it is necessary to identify similarities and differences of the objectives of Al Qaeda and Islamic State. The results can be used to analyze which measures that had been successful and effective against Al Qaeda could be transferred against Islamic State which not.

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