When planning to deal with any adversary or potential adversaries, it is essential to understand who they are, how they function, their strengths and vulnerabilities, and why they oppose us. Events over the course of the last year and a half highlight the importance of those factors as they relate to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh). One of Da’esh’s obvious strengths is its ability to propagate tailored messages that resonate with its audiences. If the US Government and our allies are to counter Da’esh effectively, we must attack this center of gravity.
This paper was produced in support of the Strategic Multi-layer Assessment (SMA) of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) led by Joint Staff J39 in support of the Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The paper leverages and melds the latest thinking of academic and operational subject matter experts in fields of organizational and social dynamics, network analysis, psychology, information operations and narrative development, social media analysis, and doctrine development related to aspects of maneuver and engagement in the narrative space.
Joint Chiefs of Staff White Paper on Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Underpinnings of ISIL Behavior
This White Paper makes a significant contribution to the study of terrorist behavior in general and ISIL behavior in particular. Unique in this work is the melding of neuroscientific considerations about the basic structures and functions of the brain with social and cultural influences in order to provide a holistic insight into the motivations for terrorist behaviors. Importantly, this paper also explores the relationship between the narratives that support terrorist behavior and the neuro-cognitive processes that contribute to those behaviors. That relationship is accurately portrayed as symbiotic in the sense that one can only truly understand seemingly aberrant behavior if one understands the continuous ebb and flow of chemical and cultural influences that are manifested in an individual’s actions.
Joint Staff Strategic Assessment: Neurobiological Insights on Radicalization and Mobilization to Violence
This concise review presents theories, findings, and techniques from the neurobiology and cognitive sciences, as well as insights from the operational community, to provide a current and comprehensive description of why individuals and groups engage in violent political behavior. This report is based primarily on recent findings from the academic community. It has been compiled with the policy, planning, and operational community as the primary audience.
During FY 2014, the SOCCENT Commander requested a short-term effort to understand the psychological, ideological, narrative, emotional, cultural, and inspirational (“intangible”) nature of ISIL. As shown below, the SMA1 team really addressed two related questions: “What makes ISIL attractive?” or how has the idea or ideology of ISIL gained purchase with different demographics; and “What makes ISIL successful?” or which of the organization’s characteristics and which of the tactics it has employed account for its push across Syria and Iraq. The effort produced both high-level results and detailed analyses of the factors contributing to each question. The central finding was this: While military action might degrade or defeat factors that make ISIL successful, it cannot overcome what makes ISIL’s message and idea attractive.
Special Operations Command Central Multi-Method Assessment of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Early in 2014, as it became clear that the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” was becoming a significant menace to Regional Stability and US Interests, SOCCENT began a dialogue with Dr. Hriar Cabayan and his co-workers regarding a topic that has been at the core of the struggle against Violent Extremism. That question has been, and remains today, a perplexing one for those of us from Western cultures and societies: “What precisely are we contesting, and what is it that fuels the adversary’s power?” The contents of this paper reflect some of the work that Dr. Cabayan and his colleagues are doing to help us understand and comprehend this “intangible power” across a unique enterprise of academicians, scientists, policy intellectuals, current and former Foreign Service, military, and intelligence professionals. Most importantly, their efforts to improve our comprehension will enable us to adjust our efforts, our operations, our investments, and our risk-‐calculations to more effectively contest it and the organization that wields it. I am grateful for their tireless work in this regard, and I commend it to the reader.
(U//FOUO) Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance Afghan National Police Mentor Guide
In order to develop the ANP, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) uses Police Mentor Teams to help develop them. A shortage of PMTs across the country, however, has led to the formation of in-lieu of advisor teams comprised of Soldiers from land owning units or attached Military Police units. The purpose of this document is to help provide those additional advisory teams with information they need to develop the skills required to effectively augment the CSTC-A program. This handbook will provide an overview of the entire police program including current goals, relationships to other organizations, the Focused District Development Program, key challenges that may be encountered and the duties of key members of the police advising teams including how to work with the team’s enablers.
(U//FOUO) Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance Afghan National Army Mentor Guide
This guide is a JCISFA publication on mentoring the Afghan National Army and is applicable to advisors, mentors and partner forces executing Security Force Assistance (SFA) operations. The guide is a companion to the May 2009 JCISFA Afghan National Police Mentor Guide and addresses identified gaps in mentoring Afghan National Security Forces. The guide offers cultural background information, partner security force challenges, advisor/mentor best practices, and challenges. As the United States assists other nations, our forces must adopt a “by, with, and through” strategy to enable a supported nation and its security forces to generate and sustain capabilities institutionally and operationally. We can achieve this by advising and mentoring them, partnering with the supported nation and through development of the supported nation and its security forces so that they can do it themselves.
(U//FOUO) Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance Guide: Roles and Functions of Senior Advisors
When advising and assisting partner nation security ministries and their institutions, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) leverages the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) from a combination of senior uniformed and civilian personnel, to include contractors to carryout development in a broad range of partner nation ministries and institutional requirements.
(U//FOUO) Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction: No-Strike and the Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology
The reference provides warning and other appropriate measures to guard against the outbreak of nuclear war, either as a result of planned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launches, or unauthorized or unexplained accidents or incidents involving a US space launch or event or implying a possible threat of a nuclear attack. Because the highest national importance is attached to agreements with the Russian Federation, the United States intends to prevent any event that would violate the agreements and implement actions minimizing the effect of any incident that might occur.
(U//FOUO) Joint Chiefs of Staff Manual: Standard Specified Geographic Location File Request (GEOREQ)
This publication has been prepared under the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). It sets forth joint doctrine to govern the activities and performance of the Armed Forces of the United States in DSCA operations, and it provides the doctrinal basis for interagency coordination during DSCA operations. It provides military guidance for the exercise of authority by combatant commanders and other joint force commanders (JFCs) and prescribes joint doctrine for operations, education, and training. It provides military guidance for use by the Armed Forces in preparing their appropriate plans. It is not the intent of this publication to restrict the authority of the JFC from organizing the force and executing the mission in a manner the JFC deems most appropriate to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall objective.
Restricted Joint Chiefs of Staff Manual: Exercises Impacting Global Positioning System (GPS) in U.S. and Canada
This manual provides guidance to Joint Staff, Service (including Service intelligence centers and reserve components), Combatant Command (CCMD), and Combat Support Agency (CSA) personnel for conducting collaborative intelligence planning (IP) primarily in support of Combatant Commander (CCDR) campaign plans, contingency plans, and orders.
This publication provides guidance for planning, executing, and assessing joint space operations. It provides space doctrine fundamentals for all joint forces; describes the military operational principles associated with support from, through, and operating in space; explains Joint Staff, combatant command (CCMD), United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and USSTRATCOM functional and Service component relationships and responsibilities; and establishes a framework for the employment of space forces and space capabilities.
In accordance with (IAW) reference a, MISO replaces the term psychological operations (PSYOP). This instruction provides strategic direction for inclusion of MISO to support the full range of military operations including military engagement, security cooperation and deterrence; crisis response and limited contingency operations; major operations and campaigns; and as an integrated information activity within the DOD’s overall contribution to United States Government (USG) communication strategies.
The purpose of operations security (OPSEC) is to reduce the vulnerability of US and multinational forces from successful adversary exploitation of critical information. OPSEC applies to all activities that prepare, sustain, or employ forces. The OPSEC process is a systematic method used to identify, control, and protect critical information and subsequently analyze friendly actions associated with military operations.
Military information support operations (MISO) play an important role in DOD communications efforts through the planned use of directed programs specifically designed to support USG and DOD activities and policies. MISO are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to the originator’s objectives. Military information support (MIS) professionals follow a deliberate process that aligns commander’s objectives with an analysis of the environment; select relevant TAs; develop focused, culturally, and environmentally attuned messages and actions; employ sophisticated media delivery means; and produce observable, measurable behavioral responses.
All modern forces depend on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). The military requirement for unimpeded access to, and use of, the EMS is the key focus for joint electromagnetic spectrum operations (JEMSO), both in support of military operations and as the focus of operations themselves. Electronic warfare (EW) is essential for protecting friendly operations and denying adversary operations within the EMS throughout the operational environment.
Specific guidance from the joint force commander (JFC) or higher authority during planning will determine the military deception (MILDEC) role in a joint operation. MILDEC is intended to deter hostile actions, increase the success of friendly defensive actions, or to improve the success of any potential friendly offensive action. Use of MILDEC during any phase of an operation should help to mislead adversaries as to the strength, readiness, locations, and intended missions of friendly forces. In combat situations, the focus is on driving the adversary to culmination and achieving the objectives defined by the JFC. In noncombat situations, the JFC seeks to dominate the situation with decisive operations designed to establish conditions for an early, favorable conclusion.