Gray zone security challenges, existing short of a formal state of war, present novel complications for U.S. policy and interests in the 21st century. We have well-developed vocabularies, doctrines and mental models to describe war and peace, but the numerous gray zone challenges in between defy easy categorization. For purposes of this paper, gray zone challenges are defined as competitive interactions among and within state and non-state actors that fall between the traditional war and peace duality. They are characterized by ambiguity about the nature of the conflict, opacity of the parties involved, or uncertainty about the relevant policy and legal frameworks.
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.
On Oct. 3, 2015, members of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) supporting a partnered Afghan force, conducted a combat operation that struck Trauma Center in Kunduz operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as “Doctors without Borders.” U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell, then the Commander of USFOR-A, directed an investigation to determine the cause of this incident. The lead investigating officer was Army Maj. Gen. William Hickman. He was assisted by Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Armfield and Army Brig. Gen Sean Jenkins. All three generals were brought in from outside Afghanistan in order to provide an objective perspective. The investigation team included over a dozen subject matter experts from several specialty fields.
Syria and its ongoing civil war represent an operational environment (OE) that includes many of the characteristics illustrative of the complexities of modern warfare. Now in its fourth year, the civil war in Syria has lured a variety of threat actors from the Middle East and beyond. What began as a protest for improved opportunities and human rights has devolved into a full-scale civil war. As the Syrian military and security forces fought to subdue the civil unrest across the country, these protest groups responded with increasing violence aided by internal and external forces with a long history of terrorist activity. Ill-suited for the scale of combat that was unfolding across the country, Syrian forces turned to their allies for help, including Hezbollah and Iran. The inclusion of these forces has in many ways transformed the military of President Bashar al Assad from a conventional defensive force to a counterinsurgency force.
This Tactical Action Report (TAR) provides information on the capture and subsequent recapture of Sinjar, a town at the foot of the Sinjar Mountains. The Nineveh Offensive, of which Sinjar was a key target, led to the capture of a large part of northern Iraq and included the occupation of Mosul. ISIL pushed Peshmerga forces from the area and threatened Erbil, the government seat of the KRG in 2014. A growing humanitarian crisis developed as ISIL began purging villages in the Sinjar area of the minority group known as Yazidis. Thousands were killed, kidnapped, or forced to flee their homes. Many Yazidis retreated to the Sinjar Mountains where they were besieged by ISIL fighters. These circumstances led to President Barack Obama ordering air strikes to protect Erbil, where US military advisors were headquartered, and to relieve the displaced Yazidi civilians. Over a year later Peshmerga fighters, with the help of other Kurdish factions, pushed ISIL forces out of Sinjar and other surrounding areas and severed a key supply route connecting ISIL-held Raqqa, Syria, with Mosul, Iraq.
Our history is replete with examples where both Guard and Active forces were employed to respond to our Nation’s disasters. In the recent era, the defining disaster was Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane that forced the breach of levies and the subsequent massive flooding of New Orleans. It rapidly overwhelmed the capabilities of Louisiana that saw the C, NGB send upwards of 50,000 Guardsmen from other States and the President send in the 82nd Airborne Division. There have been other similar incidents in our lifetime: Hurricane Andrew (1992) where President Bush sent 2,000 to 5,000 Troops from Ft Bragg, Hurricane Hugo (1989) where over 3,000 Service members were sent in support, and the 1988 Yellowstone Fires where approximately 1,000 active duty Soldiers and Marines provided direct fire line support as part of JTF Yellowstone. These show that there are those potential catastrophic disasters (New Madrid Seismic Zone, Cascadia Subduction Zone, Cyber Attack, or even an Improvised Nuclear Detonation) that can hit the United States where the President will not hesitate to call upon Federal Forces.
Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
DoD, DoJ, DHS, ODNI Sharing Cyber Threat Indicators and Defensive Measures by the Federal Government
Shabaab al-Mujahideen (aka al-Shabaab, aka Mujahideen Youth Movement) is the Salafist-Jihadist off-shoot of the Mogadishu-based Islamic Courts Union (ICU). Al-Shabaab’s leaders maintain connections with al-Qaeda, and receives financial, logistical, and rhetorical support. The group is fighting the internationally recognized TFG for control of Somalia’s southern cities, and ultimately seeks to control the entire Horn of Africa. Al-Shabaab employs IEDs in support of its broader strategy of ousting the TFG and the contingent of African Union peacekeepers (mostly from Uganda and Burundi) protecting the TFG, called the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). As a result, their IEDs target TFG and AMISOM personnel and operations. Al-Shabaab will continue to focus its IED efforts against TFG and AMISOM operations, primarily in Mogadishu, as part of an al-Qaeda-inspired strategy of attrition and exhaustion.
Despite official statistics showing a decrease in the number of arrests related to Salafist-jihadist activity, EU-based security services have thwarted numerous IED-centered plots since 2003. Many of the EU plots involve al Qaeda-networked terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and included plots in Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom (UK). Two recent plots are representative of the current IED threat in the EU: the Sauerland plot in Germany (2007) and the Barcelona plot in Spain (2008).
It has now been five years since the events of the “Arab Spring,” and initial optimism about lasting democratic reforms and an era of lessened tensions has been replaced by fear and skepticism. Many countries are now experiencing greater instability and violence than before. The vestiges of Al Qaeda in Iraq have morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (or the Levant)—ISIS or ISIL, sweeping through Iraq and Syria and leaving behind much death and destruction. The growth of violent extremism initiated by Al Qaeda and its radical interpretation of the Islamic ideology is continuing. ISIL’s deft manipulation of social media to compel and mobilize individuals to act out violently is both remarkable and frightening.
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.
The purpose of this white paper is to provide an in-depth examination of ABI-like analytic techniques that were developed, refined and employed to successfully support multiple, high-level, but dissimilar interagency law enforcement investigations over an extended period of time. The premise of this paper is that, as the Intelligence Community developes a strategy, framework and roadmap for enterprise-wide adoption of ABI, lessons learned from the law enforcement community are worthy of examination and possible incorporation into the IC strategy for ABI.
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.
ATP 3-07.6 discusses the importance of civilian protection during unified land operations and presents guidelines for Army units that must consider the protection of civilians during their operations. Protection of civilians refers to efforts to protect civilians from physical violence, secure their rights to access essential services and resources, and contribute to a secure, stable, and just environment for civilians over the long-term. ATP 3-07.6 describes different considerations including civilian casualty mitigation and mass atrocity response operations.
This publication is for soldiers holding military occupation specialty (MOS) 98G and their trainer/first-line supervisor. It contains standardized training objectives in the form of task summaries that support unit missions during wartime. Soldiers holding MOS 98G should be issued or have access to this publication. It should be available in the soldier’s work area, unit learning center, and unit libraries. Trainers and first-line supervisors should actively plan for soldiers to have access to this publication. It is recommended that each 98G soldier be issued an individual copy.
A biometric is a measurable physical characteristic or personal behavior trait used to recognize the identity or verify the claimed identity of an individual. Fingerprints are an example of a physical biometric characteristic. Behavioral biometric characteristics like handwriting are learned and acquired over time. Biometrics is the process of recognizing an individual based on measurable anatomical, physiological and behavioral characteristics. Employing biometrics can help positively identify adversaries, allies and neutral persons. This is particularly useful when facing adversaries who rely on anonymity to operate. Biometrics is not forensics even though the two can, and often are, employed in concert. Forensics involves the use of scientific analysis to link people, places, things and events while biometrics involves the use of automated processes to identify people based on their personal traits. Because of the interrelationship between biometrics and forensics, the Department of Defense (DOD) intends to develop a single concept of operation (CONOP) in the future describing how biometrics and forensics can be employed in a complementary manner.
This report fulfills the requirement contained in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, Section 933 “Mission Analysis for Cyber Operations of the Department of Defense (DoD).” The Department undertook an accelerated but deliberate process to conduct the analysis, the outcomes of which are contained in this report. The analysis addressed each sub-section of the statute and was fully vetted across the Department. The results of this analysis reflect the Department’s current view of its requirements for successful conduct of cyberspace operations, leveraging a Total Force solution. As cyberspace capabilities, force structure, and command and control (C2) constructs evolve, the Department will conduct periodic reviews of its cyberspace requirements and adjust them as necessary.
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.
This publication identifies multi-Service tactics, techniques, and procedures (MTTP) for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA). At the tactical level, it assists military planners, commanders, and individual Department of Defense (DOD) components employing military resources and integrating with National Guard Civil Support activities while responding to domestic emergencies in accordance with United States (US) law.
Senegal is a diverse West African nation approximately the size of South Dakota and home to more than 36 ethnic groups and languages. Senegal’s national development has been shaped by its location between the edge of the Sahara and the Atlantic. Trans-Saharan trade brought Islam and Arab influences to Senegal through North Africa. Later, Senegal became one of the first African countries to trade with Europe through the Atlantic seaways. Today, Senegal is seen by the Senegalese as a bridge between Black African, Islamic, and European civilizations.