Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications
Friday, September 23rd 2016
“U.S. foreign policy elites tend to believe public opinion at best complicates a steady hand on the strategy tiller. In turn, the public distrusts any U.S. Government management of information for fear that it will be twisted and used in attempts to control the body politic.”
Headline: “National-Level Coordination and Implementation: How System Attributes Trumped Leadership”
Subhead: Strategic CommunicationsRead More
Monday, August 29th 2016
“After online efforts fizzle, government turns to encouraging others to join battle to counteract the terrorist group’s propaganda,” is the subhead of an August 28, 2016, article, “U.S. Revamps Line of Attack in Social-Media Fight Against Islamic State,” by Nicole Hong in The Wall Street Journal. Her summary highlights the doctrinal shift – away from direct USG messaging toward working with partners. Both the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are engaged. This short gist necessarily omits many informative details, but here are some bullet points:
- Recent initiatives by technology companies to push back against Islamic State’s social-media messaging highlight a sobering fact: The U.S. government’s battle on that front has mostly sputtered.
Sunday, August 28th 2016
“Their new weapons are laptops, digital cameras and sets of a low-power, portable radio kit called a ‘radio in a box.’ Their mission: to destroy a target that has proven to be highly resistant to U.S. efforts -- the Islamic State's extremist ideology.” Chad Garland of the Stars and Stripes thus opened an article, “Marines Arm Iraqis, Kurds with 'Clever' Messages to Defeat IS,” published on August 13, 2016. "You cannot defeat an idea with a bullet," U.S Marine Corps Capt. Melissa Giannetto told those seated in the classroom, the first of the Kurdish forces, or peshmerga, to undergo training under the Vocalis Program. Designed by the Marine Corps, it aims to train them to "choose decisive messages that will destroy (the Islamic State's) influence."
Garland’s article also discussed the work of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center. Here are some highlights:Read More
Sunday, July 10th 2016
Ambassador Alberto Fernandez’s powerful testimony at the July 6, 2016, hearing of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs – “ISIS Online: Countering Terrorist Radicalization & Recruitment on the Internet & Social Media” -- deserves reading in full by Public Diplomacy specialists. Fernandez, now Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), was head of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications before his retirement from the Foreign Service.
This gist mostly provides key points, regretfully omitting details of his review of the history of ISIS propaganda, the fascinating case studies, and his take on cooperative efforts by the Global Engagement Center, other governments, policy institutes, religious organizations, and NGOs. “There is no one silver bullet or kryptonite in the fight against ISIS propaganda,” he said.
Do not fail to read his convictional closing. The Global Engagement Center and other organizations are indeed “countering” the ISIS narrative – its stories -- but in Ambassador Fernandez’s judgment, the U.S. has not found the way to deploy its own patrimony in the contest of ideas. Here are key points of his prepared statement to the Senate Subcommittee:Read More
Sunday, July 10th 2016
These are highlights from the opening statement of Senator Rob Portman, Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, at the July 6, 2016 hearing on “ISIS Online: Countering Terrorist Radicalization and Recruitment on the Internet and Social Media”:
- [ISIS] has effectively deployed modern technology of the information age to spread its propaganda and recruit killers to its cause. ISIS has developed a sophisticated information warfare capability. It has pioneered a distinctive strategy of targeted online recruitment, while disseminating sleek viral videos and messages, primarily from two media centers, al-Hayat and alFurqan through a constantly evolving set of online platforms.