Sunday, August 2, 2015

Counter-Terrorism & Intelligence News

Intel Reports on Bombing ISIS. New intelligence reports indicate that despite one full year of bombing the Islamic State fighters in Iraq and parts of Syria by the U.S. Air Force there has been no appreciable effect on the Islamic State's capability to conduct operations. While CENTCOM claims the number of ISIS fighters and amounts of equipment have been significant the effect on the ground has been less than expected. The Islamic State has changed up its tactics to mitigate the air attacks and their recruitment of foreign fighters is at an all time high. Reports of the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Afghanistan have made the press in the past several months. Observers are speculating on the effect of new peace talks and new Taliban leadership will have on ISIS in Afghanistan.

Destroying the ISIS Financial Network. One important aspect of counterterrorism is "Counter Threat Finance" operations or CTF. The use of CTF can significantly inhibit the operational capability of terrorist, criminal, and insurgent groups, networks, and movements. Read how to interdict the Islamic State by hitting their wallets (or pocketbooks?) in "The 21st Century Answer to "Burning their Crops and Salting their Fields": Interdicting and Destroying the ISIS Financial Network"Small Wars Journal, August 1, 2015. The article, by Greg Kleponis and Tom Creal, reflects the author's experiences while advising in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

ISIS vs Taliban. Eric Jones in SOFREP writes about how ISIS is fighting the Taliban and how the ANSF is taking the fight to both organizations., July 27, 2015.

Paper - "Global Civilization and Counterterrorism". The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has posted a paper that examines global terrorism, order and disorder, and how we should try to combat disorder and violent extremists.

Paper - "Understanding Terrorism Today and Tomorrow". The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has posted a paper that helps us understand what terrorism is. The article is adapted from a speech by General Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, given at the CTC 2015 Senior Conference.

Former ISAF DCSINT now Cdr Fort Huachuca. MG Scott Berrier, former the head Intel guy and leader of the Essential Function 7 crowd, is now the new commander at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence (why can't they just say Intel school?) and Fort Huachuca. (Sierra Vista Herald, Jul 31, 2015).

"Dead Drop". In tradecraft terms, a dead drop is a location to secretly pass information without a face-to-face meeting. Recall the scene in the Godfather where Al Pacino retrieves a pistol in the restaurant men's room? That is a dead drop. "The Dead Drop" is also the name of a weekly blog that provides intelligence tidbits and Washington rumors.

Birth of Contemporary Terrorism. Brian Michael Jenkins, a renowned terrorism expert at RAND, has provided us with an informative article entitled The 1970s and the Birth of Contemporary Terrorism (July 30, 2015).

How Technology Changes Espionage. The use of computers has made the use of human intelligence (HUMINT) much more difficult (electronic passports, databases, etc.). However, the use of technology has made spying easier in some ways. Read more in "A new age of espionage", The Economist, August 1, 2015.

CIA - Gays and Lesbians Allowed. Read how the Central Intelligence Agency changed its policy in "How the CIA Came Out of the Closet", The Daily Beast, July 31, 2015.

A Resurging al-Qaeda in South Asia. The emergence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria combined with the withdrawal of the bulk of the international forces in Afghanistan have seen conditions become favorable for al-Qaeda. Read a paper on the topic entitled Resurgence of Al-Qaeda in South Asia Post-US Drawdown, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), July 2015.

Counter-terrorism in Pakistan. A recently published paper analyzes the new counter-terrorism strategy recently adopted by Pakistan - finds fault with it and provides recommendations. Read Revisiting Counter-terrorism strategies in Pakistan: Opportunities and Pitfalls, International Crisis Group, July 22, 2015.

Use of Drones to Continue Into Future. To no ones surprise the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones will continue far into the future - both for intelligence gathering, military applications, and commercial use. Read more in "Operating in an Era of Persistent Unmanned Aerial Surveillance", by William Selby posted on Small Wars Journal, July 31, 2015.

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