The below was inspired by a close look at the evolving concept of cyber-commands. In our judgment, LtGen Keith Alexander, USA and those in charge of the various service cyber-commands are headed for spectacularly expensive failure, minor operational successes not-with-standing. The officers concerned are well-intentioned, precisely like their predecessors who chose to ignore precisely the same insights published in 1994–they simply lack the intestinal fortitude to break with the past and get it right for a change. What they plan is the cyber equivalent of “clear, hold, build,” and just as mis-guided. They are out of touch with reality and will remain so. They will all be happily retired long before the predictable recognition of their failure occurs, and the next generation of young flags will make the same mistakes again…and again…until we get an honest President with an honest Office of Management and Budget (OMB) able to demand and enforce integrity across the board.
Very important CTC study on internal frictions within the Salafi movement
Very important CTC study with a number of high profile and experienced contributors. It should be read by anyone dealing with Islamist movements. The study is a landmark endeavor–a model to be followed–and hopefully will generate additional studies.
Phi Beta Iota: The US Military Academy (West Point) Counter-Terrorism Center is a national gem, a treasure, vastly more effective at Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) in multiple languages than many of the other elements of the Department of Defense, in part because they appear to have more rigor and a broader (holistic) view instead of the standard cookie cut & paste model that passes for “analysis” elsewhere.
In this Council Special Report, Robert K. Knake briefly examines the technological decisions that have enabled both the Internet's spectacular success and its troubling vulnerability to attack. Arguing that the United States can no longer cede the initiative on cyber issues to countries that do not share its interests, he outlines an agenda that the United States can pursue in concert with its allies on the international stage. This agenda, addressing cyber warfare, cyber crime, and state-sponsored espionage, should, he writes, be pursued through both technological and legal means. He urges first that the United States empower experts to confront the fundamental security issues at the heart of the Internet's design. Then he sketches the legal tools necessary to address both cyber crime and state-sponsored activities, including national prohibitions of cyber crime, multilateral mechanisms to prevent and prosecute cyberattacks, and peacetime norms protecting critical civilian systems, before describing the bureaucratic reforms the United States should make to implement effectively these changes.
Phi Beta Iota: This is an Epoch A report that is state-centric, does not demonstrate knowledge of the code-level and open-source challenges and opportunities, and lacks any sense of how a strategic analytic model with burden sharing among the varied stakeholders (e.g. eight clouds, twelve modalities) could resolve the problem at a fraction of the cost of the “traditionalist” “solutions” proposed here. This report is about doing the wrong things righter, not about doing the right things in the first place.
Towards a Curriculum for the Teaching of Jihadist Ideology aims to provide an introduction to the intellectual infrastructure of the jihadist phenomenon and the process of radicalization, and to furnish materials for a textbook primer to what is still largely an ideological terra incognita for the western reader. It is designed for the use of academics, security professionals, policy-makers and the general reader alike.
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[T]he work’s conclusions emphasize the need to avoid making assumptions based on old analytical habits, to study the wealth of open source information available on the ideology – which should be taken seriously and at face value – and to understand that the ‘Jihad’ is primarily a re-education endeavour and therefore very much a war of ideas. It calls for the improvement of both the quality and spectrum of research and analysis, preferably through a multi-disciplinary approach that can accommodate the return of the religious dimension to international affairs.
Phi Beta Iota: This 279 page PhD dissertation for George Washington University is free online. The author is a graduate of the US Military Academy, Yale (MA), and US Army Command and General Staff College (MMAS).
Max G. Manwaring, November 2004, Strategic Studies Institute
Phi Beta Iota: Every passing day reminds us that Dr. Col Max Manwaring has made so many extraordinary contributions to our strategic understanding across so many fronts, and yet his work does not appear to have been appreciated to the degree that we consider warranted. Below is one small portion of his teachings from this reference.
This monograph concludes with the idea that the complex realities of contemporary political-insurgency wars must be understood as holistic processes that rely on various civilian and military agencies and contingents working together in an integrated fashion to achieve mutually agreed political-strategic ends. In this connection, at a minimum, three strategic-level imperatives are needed to begin to deal effectively with unconventional conflict situations. They are:
(1) civil-military and military-to-military dialogue regarding viable security and stability,
(2) fundamental education and understanding requirements, and
(3) the strategic application of U.S. military power.
The associated recommendations take us beyond doing “something” for something’s sake to the cooperative, holistic, and long-term planning and implementation of the strategic ends, ways, and means that directly support the achievement of a political endgame.