Lone Wolves as a Threat to Aviation Security


aviation security
leaderless resistance
lone wolf violence
single issue terrorism

How to Cite

Posłuszna, E. (2021). Lone Wolves as a Threat to Aviation Security. Safety & Defense, 7(1), 84-92. https://doi.org/10.37105/sd.127


This paper discusses the threats related to the development of the phenomenon known as lone wolf violence. Its main goal is to analyze lone wolves' activities, particularly their tactics in carrying out actions that pose a threat to aviation safety. The primary method used for the main argument of the paper, interdisciplinary modeling of the determinants of violence, allows for formulating forecasts on the development of lone wolves phenomenon in the most important context for those predictions, i.e., changeability of used means. This inventiveness comes down to disorganized forms of functioning (leaderless resistance) and the methods used in fighting, both of which stem from considerable power disproportions between lone wolves (terrorists) and states. The development of violence among lone wolves is analyzed from the perspective of this constantly changing tactical and technological means. This paper is of both explanatory and prognostic nature. It consists of five parts. The first is dedicated to providing theoretical background and depicting case studies that serve as a starting point for the following analyses. The second section is dedicated to a brief description of used methods. Next, the types of lone wolves' activities are characterized and examined. In section four, the current and potential tactics employed by terrorists are analyzed. This paper concludes with the author's prognosis regarding the future development of this phenomenon.



Arquilla, J., & Ronfeldt, D. (2001). The Advent of Netwar (Revised). In: J. Arquilla, and D. Ronfeldt (Eds.), Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy. RAND Corporation, 1-29.

Beydoun, K. A. (2018). Lone Wolf Terrorism: Types, Stripes, and Double Stand-ards. 112 (5), 1213-1244, https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1333&context=nulr

Chase, A. (2003). Harvard and the Unabomber. The Education of an American Terrorist. Norton&Company, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12129-003-1067-x

Gill, P. (2015). Lone-Actor Terrorists: A Behavioural Analysis. Routledge.

Global Terrorism Database, A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Cen-ter of Excellence led by the University of Maryland, https://www.start.umd.edu/research-projects/global-terrorism-database-gtd

Kaczynski, T. (2003). Społeczeństwo przemysłowe i jego przyszłość. Manifest Wo-jownika. Wydawnictwo Inny Świat.

Kaplan, J. (1997). “Leaderless Resistance”, Terrorism and Political Violence, 9 (3), 80-95, https://doi.org/10.1080/09546559708427417

Levin B. (2002), “Cyberhate. A Legal and Historical Analysis of Extremists’ Use of Computer Networks in America”, American Behavioral Scientist, 45 (6), 958-988, https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764202045006004

Nesser, P. (2012) Research Note: Single Actor Terrorism: Scope, Characteristics and Explanation. Perspectives on Terrorism, 6(6), 61-73.

No Compromise, (4 January 2009), “Disclaimer”, http://www.nocompromise.org/index.html

Pantucci, R. (2011 March). A Typology of Lone Wolves: Preliminary Analysis of Lone Islamist Terrorist. International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence – ICSR, 1-40. https://icsr.info/wp-con-tent/uploads/2011/04/1302002992ICSRPaper_ATypologyofLoneWolves_Pantucci.pdf

Posłuszna, E. (2015). Environmental and Animal Rights: Extremism, Terrorism, And National Security, Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Posłuszna, E., & Mares, M. (2016). Environmental-extremist and Animal Rights Single Issue Perpetrators. In M. Fredholm (Ed.), Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism. Past Experience, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies, 77 (pp. 87-106). Routledge.

Potok, M. (2002). Statement of September 6, 2001. In B. Levin, Cyberhate. A Le-gal and Historical Analysis of Extremists’ Use of Computer Networks in America. American Behavioral Scientist, 45(6), 958-988 .

Simon, J. D. (2013). Lone Wolf Terrorism. Understanding the Growing Threats. Prometheus Books.

Spaaij, R. (2012). Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism. Global Patterns, Motiva-tion and Prevention. Springer, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-94-007-2981-0

The Nord American Earth Liberation Front Press Office, “Security”, http://www.elfpressoffice.org/security.html

Wyjący Wilk. (1998). Deklaracja wojny. Bleeding Earth.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.