Leadership decapitation has largely failed to produce desired policy results against organizations other than terrorist groups, such as state regimes and drug cartels. For example, killing or capturing kingpins has had little effect on the flow of drugs into the United States, and worse, it has often led to more drugs, more cartels, and more violence. Terrorist groups are different. Because they are violent, clandestine, and values-based organizations, terrorist groups are especially susceptible to leadership decapitation.
Journal Article, International Security, issue 36, volume 4
New evidence suggests that states featuring the tactic prominently in their counterinsurgency strategy, including the United States and Israel, may be on the right track.