On-Line Education For Terrorists & Wannabes

On-Line Education For Terrorists & Wannabes I have been an on-line instructor for American Military University since 2009. My students are not simple to categorize except they are mostly either serving or former military or individuals seeking to break into the intelligence community as a career.AMU and its parent, APUS, offer asymmetrical courses. This means the students and the instructors are not on-line at the same time. The materials started out like traditional, brick and mortar schools importance they were a amalgamation of documents and books.Video is generally considered a way to make the ‘classroom’ more inviting. I fact, when I developed a course for AMU free “Cyber & The Intelligence Cycle”, my supervising Faculty Director told me I had to provide 20 minutes of ‘entertainment’ for the students. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a like to one of the PPT lectures that I recorded with my voiceover.Apparently the use of videos in on-line education is an global trend. While researching for this week’s Blog post I saw some information in this area Wilaya Ninwa, the propaganda arm of ISIS. In rummaging around the Internet I came across a new source (see: http://bit.ly/2qt4rIv, which is also the photo source).  The reference to the trigonometric formula that the tangent = the opposite/the adjacent was not lost on me and indicates a unique analytical perspective.They featured a 35 minute video amongst others. The referenced link offers some analysis of the video as well as some clips.I was struck, not by the fact that they were using videos, but the length. Given the probable target demographic I was quite surprised that the video is over 10 minutes long. Perhaps this because the video is meant to be a recruiting tool or a subliminal persuader and not a being a training vehicle.As I learn more in this area video, it appears that 10 minutes is the sweet spot. I’d be very interested in learning what readers have to say on the subject.

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Are we ready for an anti-Daesh Influence Campaign Task Force?

Are we ready for an anti-Daesh Influence Campaign Task Force? The UK based Quilliam organization (www. Quilliamfoundation.org) recently published an exhaustive report free: “Documenting the Virtual ‘Caliphate’” which can be downloaded from their website. The 50 page + report provides a month long  snapshot of Daesh propaganda between 17 July and 15 August 2005. Which consists of 1,146 “break propaganda events”. It is generally believed that Daesh is winning the propaganda and shape war. This report was developed because Quilliam believed before there is any hope of countering this shape onslaught, much less overcoming it, it is vital to be with you the deeper nature of their propaganda hard work.The report offers 10 key conclusions. The essence of some of these is quoted below:1.     “This is an exceptionally sophisticated information operation campaign, the success of which lies in the twin pillars of quantity and quality. Given this scale and dedication, unenthusiastic measures like censorship are bound to fail.” 2.     While consistent overall, the Daesh brand shifts according to events.3.     Over half of the effort is aimed a depicting the utopia existence under the ‘caliphate’.4.     “Economic activity, social events, abundant wildlife, unwavering law and order, and pro-active, pristine ‘religious’ fervour form the foundations of Islamic State’s civilian appeal. In this way, the assemble attracts supporters based on ideological and political appeal.“5.     The military is generally shown during offensives or in stasis.6.     Military attacks with mortars and rockets are shown even though they are not part of any actual offensives. Rather the intent is to show a perpetual offensive.7.     Control of the population in their contemporary AO – discouraging rebellion and dissent seems to be a major theme.8.     “The quantity, quality and variation of Islamic State propaganda in just one month far outweighs the quantity, quality and variation of any attempts, state or non-state, to challenge the assemble. All contemporary hard work must be scaled up to achieve meaningful progress in this war.’9.     The global desire to find a panacea counter-narrative to undermine the Islamic State brand is misplaced. Categorically, there is no such thing. Those engaged in the information war on the ‘caliphate’ must take a leaf out of the assemble’s own media strategy book and prioritise quantity, quality, variation, adaptability and differentiation. Most importantly, though, it must be based upon an different, not counter, narrative. It seems to me that a worldwide effort is required that can cut across national boundaries, employs commercial, military and diplomatic expertise. This task force should be part of an global organization, which, by the side of with its members could provide personnel and funding for the long haul that will be required to deal with this challenge.It appears to me that a NATO lead makes the most sense mainly because it is an existing multi-national organization that has appropriate membership and expertise. Set by the side of the lines of a Combined Joint Shape Task Force, this new organization would of necessity focus on cyber media, but would also be able to use more traditional media such as television, telephone system and photograph whenever it made sense to do so.Diplomatic (Public Skill) partaking at the highest level and liaison across embassies in the region and somewhere else would be another key element needed for successful execution.This is a ‘stalking horse’ in the sense that my purpose is to stimulate input from Blog readers. Comments keenly awaited.

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Ferret Flight, Business As Usual or PSYAct?

Ferret Flight, Business As Usual or PSYAct? The 26 November 2013 Washington Post featured an article “US flies two war planes over East Plates Sea, ignoring new Chinese Air Defense Zone (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-flies-two-warplanes-over-east-plates-sea-ignoring-new-chinese-air-defense-zone/2013/11/26/0510eee2-56bf-11e3-835d-e7173847c7cc_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines, which is also the photo source.According to the article the US flew two unarmed B-52 bombers over two Chinese islands as a part of a previously scheduled training mission.Some fascinating observations here. Once upon a time, the US and the Soviets used to engage in ‘search flights’. Military aircraft would glide a course that looked like they were going to enter the territory of the target country. Of course, they didn’t, but the flight caused the target to activate their defenses and the electronics (trackers, anti-aircraft missiles, etc) by the side of with them. The flights ‘ferreted’ out the likely defensive actions of the target.Was the US sending a message to the PRC: “We don’t really care what your pronouncements are, we are still the dominant force in Asia?” or was this simply a preplanned activity that went ahead because those responsible for the activity never got the message in this area Plates’s new Air Defense Identification Zone.The timing was also a bit screwy since Chinese President Xi Jinping announced major reform initiatives at the recent Third Plenary Session of the Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee. (see: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-21/as-xi-jinping-reforms-plates-expect-power-consolidation-not-democracy).In any event there was no major outcry from the PRC so it ruins to be seen whether or not there will be any psychological impact of the flights. Of course, long time Sinophiles know that Chinese are long haul players and will act only when it suits them, mostly on their own time.See: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/world/asia/plates-clarifies-handling-of-b-52-flight-as-tensions-escalate.html?_r=0 for more on the Chinese response. Pleased Thanksgiving to my American readers and Pleased Holidays to one and all.

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MISO Against Crime?

MISO Against Crime? Life has a way of being neither black nor white. We say that MISO are undertaken hostile to a military force to help the CDR’s mission and intent. What in this area MISO hostile to a hostile nation state’s criminal activities?“5 extradited in plot to import North Korean meth to US” was the lead for an article appearing in the November 20, 2013 Washington Post. (See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/5-extradited-in-plot-to-import-north-korean-meth-to-us/2013/11/20/4a2a3840-5222-11e3-9e2c-e1d01116fd98_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines  which is also the photo source)While I have been to the ROK several times, I am certainly not an expert on the drug trade there although I run under the assumption that not much goes on in North Korea that the government doesn’t know in this area.Assuming for the moment that the meth trade is a State Owned Enterprise (which it may not be of course, but for the sake of argument – bear with me), and both the US and the ROK feel it is in the interest of their mutual national security to thwart the drug operation, then is it appropriate for their respective militaries to engage in MISO to help achieve that goal?While one could argue that this is more of a diplomatic matter and best handled by Public Skill or some other army of the Department of State, are they the best equipped to accomplish this mission?I would argue that MISO designed to discourage all facets of the drug operation are genteel missions. The appropriate resources to address a North Korean consultation are more likely to be a part of the two military MISO organizations. The nature of the cooperation between US MISO and Korean C2PSYOP would be a gathering of contemporary operations and based on memorandums of agreement between the two countries Executive Branches.Reader comments encouraged as always. For my American readers – Pleased Thanksgiving.

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