This Letort Paper describes effective Counter Threat Finance strategies as a specific area where the capability of U.S. and allied militaries can be augmented for the purpose of targeted action against adversaries. With appropriate analysis and exploitation, financial data can be used to reveal patterns of enemy behavior, motivations, and possible intentions as well as lifestyles and networks, all of which will impact directly upon military operations within a counterinsurgency environment. The targeting of the financial, and perhaps more importantly, the economic base of an organization, will not only impact the operational capability of that organization, but can ultimately lead to its destruction. To date, these strategies have been used predominantly for the purpose of disruption. However, the potential application of such strategies goes far wider—they have the potential to be a multifaceted weapon, capable not only of disruption of the enemy, but of detecting impending instability. Specific recommendations are proposed for making best use of the potential for financial intelligence as part of an integrated strategy for both forecasting and countering contemporary security threats.
About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SHIMA D. KEENE is a Director of the Conflict Studies Research Centre, Oxford as well as Director of the Security Economics Programme at the Institute for Statecraft, London, United Kingdom (UK). She is also a Deployable Civilian Expert (DCE) and a member of the UK government's Civilian Stabilisation Group (CSG) specializing in Intelligence and Security Sector Reform which sits under the Security and Justice Function ofthe CSG. She is a former Senior Research Fellow and Advisor at the Advanced Research and Assessment Group, UK Defence Academy, and Special Advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), where she had responsibility for assessment and recommendations for the development of financial counterinsurgency (COIN) strategies in Afghanistan. Dr. Keene advises and works closely with a number of British and international organizations on topics relating to national and international security including the MoD, various UK government departments and law enforcement agencies, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, Global Futures Forum, the NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), U.S. government departments and law enforcement agencies and various global private sector organizations. Dr. Keene has 25 years of practitioner experience in a number of industries including finance, defense, security, and telecommunications in both the public and private sectors, working with government departments, law enforcement, telecommunications and finance. She is also a former British Army reservist with 7 years military service, most of which was spent with 4th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. Dr. Keene has published numerous internal and external MoD and NATO reports as well as award winning academic journal articles, and is the author of Threat Finance: Disconnectingthe Lifeline of Organized Crime and Terrorism (Aldershot UK: Ashgate, 2012). Dr. Keene graduated with honors from the University of Buckingham in Business Studies; and holds an MPhil in Defence and Security Studies from Cranfield University, Defence College of Management and Technology (formerly Royal Military College of Science), Defence Academy of the United Kingdom; and a Ph.D. in international criminal law from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.