Adversarial influence operations perpetrated by Islamist terrorist networks confront the most foundational of America’s national defense capabilities: the will of the American people to fight. This assertion is predicated on four key determinations. First, Islamist terrorist networks use influence operations as an integral tool of global jihad. Second, these adversarial influence operations should be perceived as attacks and, subsequently, should demand response. Third, a wide array of US Government tools and institutions currently exists to counter this challenge. Fourth, precision-strike doctrine and cyber-attack response frameworks provide instructional examples of methods to create a coordinated US Government response to such influence attacks. This analysis seeks to bring two new contributions to the counter-influence policy dialogue. First, based on the determination that influence attacks are legitimate matters of national security, this paper recommends response to these events be viewed through the prism of existing military doctrine. Specifically, the same precision-strike doctrine used to neutralize threats with kinetic means offers an innovative framework through which to view response in the perception battlespace. Second, in recognition that coordination is America’s current primary liability in counter-influence efforts, this proposal suggests the example of the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team as a helpful model of public-private partnership from which unified counter-influence efforts can be based. Alone, this proposal will not bring victory in America’s War on Terrorism. In tandem with the right counter-terror policy, however, it is hoped that these ideas will add to the security of the next generation of Americans.
"Influence in an Age of Terror: A Framework of Response to Islamist Influence Operations,"
Global Tides: Vol. 1
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/globaltides/vol1/iss1/3