Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
When those remarks were made, the Department of State listed twenty-six foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). They ranged from the Abu Nidal Organization to HAMAS to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party to al-Qaeda to the Shining Path.
In 2003, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote a memo that posed this question…
Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror
I would offer up the following metric: How many FTOs exist today when compared against the number of FTOs in 2001.
According to the Department of State, as of September 28 of this year, there are fifty-one FTOs.
That list is slightly out of date as the Department of State, earlier this month, listed the al-Nursa Front in Syria as a FTO.
That brings the number of FTOs to fifty-two (there’s your number for the day).
In just over a decade since the GWOT began, the number of FTOs has doubled.