The Utility Knife Effect in Special Operations: The Missing Link

Special operations jumpers conducting a high-altitude low-opening (HALO) parachute jump, Florida, April 2013. Courtesy of Stocktrek Images / Alamy

Special operations forces can play an important role in combating terrorist activity.

The 9/11 hijackers were armed with mere utility knives – relatively innocuous tools that led to terror attacks the aftershocks of which are still felt today. The ‘utility knife effect’ refers to seemingly unassuming tactical operations deployed in direct action missions, with far-reaching results. Yair Ansbacher and Ron Schleifer highlight the important role special operations forces can play in combating terrorist activity and the changes the West needs to make to enable them to be successful.

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