Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this study answers a simple question: Is there strategic utility in targeting high-value individuals via covert or clandestine actions? This thesis submits that there is strategic utility to high-value individual targeting (HVI or HVT) operations and offers a guide for national policy makers regarding when and how such operations should be conducted.
Covert and clandestine actions must be conducted as part of a strategy and in support of clearly defined national goals. Foremost among the strategic considerations of covert action is the need to establish a desired endstate characterized by specific goals upon which a strategy can be built. Second, the strategy and subsequent methods must be consistent with the nation's values. Last, any strategy must be continually evaluated for its effectiveness and revised when needed.
This thesis analyzes several operations conducted by Israel between 1960 and 1973. Israel provides United States policy makers with relevant examples due to similar democratic structures and security issues. The selected operations, particularly those directed against Palestinian terrorists, have parallels to the United States' efforts against al Qaeda. The analysis of Israeli operations provides insight for the considerations and intellectual framework policy makers should understand before committing national resources to high-risk lethal operations.