• Events

    Event: Rethinking the Future International Security Environment

    The Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory announced the 7th year of its Rethinking Seminar Series. This year’s theme is Rethinking the Future International Security Environment and the objective is the “exploration of possible future international environments including potential adversaries and threats to US National Security.” Topics to be covered include: Regional areas of concern (i.e., the Middle East, China, Russia, and N. Korea) Economics and National Security through examinations of potential economic threats to the US and her allies including: The use of sovereign wealth funds to manipulate markets and currencies Nation state economic collapse, sovereign default, and nation state instability US and Allies’ budgets, deficits and their…

  • Events,  Media,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    Event: Influence and Propaganda Conference

    The Information Operations Institute, in partnership with the MountainRunner Institute, invites you to attend the Influence and Fighting Propaganda Conference. Identifying and countering propaganda and misinformation through dissemination that avoids the label of propaganda will be the key themes of the event. Discussions will explore who, how and why can people or groups be influenced, and difference between engagement from the lowest to the highest levels of leadership. Russ Rochte, retired US Army Colonel and now faculty member at the National Defense Intelligence College, and I will co-moderate a panel on the media exploring the tension between “Media as an instrument of War” and the journalist’s traditional obligations to the…

  • Africa,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  Social Media

    Al-Shabaab receiving support from U.S. citizens and others in the U.S.

    In a press conference today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department unsealed four separate indictments charging 14 individuals in Minnesota, California, and Alabama with terrorism violations, including providing money, personnel, and services to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. An indictment in Minnesota charged 10 men for leaving the U.S. to join al-Shabaab, an organization with ties to al-Qaeda, as foreign fighters. In Minnesota alone, 19 have been charged with material support of al-Shabaab. Two women, naturalized U.S. citizens and residents of Minnesota, were charged with raising money to support al-Shabaab through door-to-door solicitations and teleconferences in the Somali communities in Minneapolis, Rochester, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.…

  • Congress,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Establishing the Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus

    By Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) On September 11th, 2001, America changed.  Since then the United States has been at war with violent Islamic extremists who plot and plan against us every day.  We have sent American troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to defeat them in combat.  Our intelligence and special operations forces have fanned out across the globe to disrupt terrorist networks and deny them safe havens.  And we have cooperated with friends and allies to reinforce existing counterterrorism resources and build new coordinated capabilities.  While these actions are necessary to defeat the jihadist threat against the United States, they are not sufficient to do so.

  • Psychological Struggle

    News: Somali-American pleads guilty to helping Al-Shabaab

    From NPR news, by Dina Temple-Raston: Another Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in connection with a broader case looking into the disappearance of more than two dozen young Somali-Americans from Minnesota over the past two years. Kamal Said Hassan pleaded guilty in a Minneapolis court Wednesday. The unsealed indictment in his case shows that he was one of a handful of young men who traveled to Somalia to fight for a militia there called al-Shabab. When Hassan returned to the U.S., he apparently lied to the FBI about where he had been. He is in now U.S. custody. This is the third indictment in the…

  • Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Al-Qaeda is not the only threat

    John Sullivan, the co-founder of the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning group and lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, focusing on emerging threats, reminds us that Al-Qaeda is not the only threat. As such, public diplomacy and strategic communication planning that focuses only on Al-Qaeda is too limiting. From Danger Room: While the public and media are occupied with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential conflict with Iran, the downward spiral in Pakistan, and a global economic meltdown, a new, rapidly-evolving danger — narco-cartels and gangs — has been developing in Mexico and Latin America. And it has the potential to trump global terrorism as a threat to…

  • Events

    Event: New America Foundation conference on Al Qaeda 3.0 – with live webcast

    The pace of “what’s next” conference is picking up. From the New America Foundation: Al Qaeda 3.0 The ‘War on Terror’ After the Bush Administration At Al Qaeda 3.0, leading policy makers, law enforcement officials, scholars and journalists from around the world will assess the current threat posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates to the United States, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. The conference speakers will also explore what steps the next administration should take in combating al Qaeda and its affiliates both at home and abroad. The event is tomorrow, Friday, October 10, 2008. Start: 8:45a ET, Finish: 5p ET. The conference has an impressive list…

  • Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    American Public Diplomacy Wears Combat Boots: the Pentagon’s $300 million to “engage and inspire”

    Our national security, which includes our economic security, depends on the ability to effectively counter misinformation, create understanding of our policies, and develop partnerships. We are nearly a decade into the Second Great War of Ideas and the Pentagon remains the America's unwitting public diplomat engaging the world's audiences. American public diplomacy will continue to wear combat boots until the top leadership at the Department of State realizes that it must fully and aggressively commit to engaging and challenging non-state actors from individuals to armed groups.