Terrorism: General Cites Need for Interagency, International Effort
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
Influencing, countering and ultimately defeating regional threat networks in the greater Middle East will require a â€œwhole-of-many-nations’-governments approach,â€ a US commander said during a conference call yesterday with bloggers and online journalists.
Faced with threats from Al-Qaeda and similar groups, as well as a nonspecific â€œmalign Iranian influence,â€ US and allied strategic planners are expanding their toolkits beyond military force to include diplomacy, communication, humanitarian assistance and other civilian-oriented tools, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert H. Holmes, deputy director of operations for US Central Command.
Holmes said his role at CentCom includes oversight of â€œirregular warfare, the nonkinetic solutions, some whole-of-government approaches, but particularly looking at the notion of information dominance in the battle space and things that we can do with our interagency partners to achieve effects without necessarily totally leaning onâ€ military operations.
â€œThis is a very long-term strategy that we must be engaged in, and it runs the gamut from just counter-terrorism to counter-crime to however you want to look at it,â€ Holmes said.
Umbrella organizations like Al-Qaeda represent a shorthand way of labeling the enemy, Holmes explained. In fact, the â€œregional threat networksâ€ are actually made up of â€œthreads of violent actors that range across the scope of terrorist actors to just international organized criminals to, I think, narco-terrorists or drug traders, and then, in some cases, just basic gangs, thieves and thugs that can come together and represent a very formidable threat to our region for a number of reasons,â€ he said.
â€œThese are not necessarily, you know, standing, organized armies that wear uniforms like we all envision warfare to be,â€ Holmes said. â€œIt takes a different kind of tactic, in terms of countering, disrupting and defeating this kind of threat.â€
The counter-narcotics effort in Afghanistan provides an appropriate case study for the need for a whole-of-government approach, Holmes explained. Using the desired end state in that country as a starting point, planners can work out a strategy that will incorporate the strengths of an interagency team.
â€œIf we’re going to establish a security line of operation in [Afghanistan], then obviously from that, you don’t necessarily get security if you can’t resolve the economic and agricultural conundrum of ‘What is the money maker?’ Well, it’s the poppy product. So a strategy has got to deal with that,â€ Holmes said.
â€œWhat do we do? The military does not necessarily do that. But what can we do to establish desired strategic objectives that the interagency could step up to, with maybe Department of Agriculture, [US Agency for International Development] and State Department, to do that? What can NATO do to also help influence that?â€ he asked.
Lessons are being learned that are improving the interagency and international cooperative process, Holmes said, but improvement is needed, and in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, those lessons are not necessarily interchangeable.
â€œAfghanistan is a different battle space than Iraq, so the lessons of Iraq may or may not work in Afghanistan,â€ he said. â€œThe situation is much different. The people are much different. The dynamics are much different; so still a lot of work to be done in Afghanistan.â€
Effective support for Pakistan will be crucial for ultimately stabilizing Afghanistan, Holmes noted. That support would come primarily through diplomatic and political channels, however, with a military partnership playing a secondary role, the general explained.
Overall, Holmes characterized the stabilization of Afghanistan as a â€œlong-term endeavor to engage — at a strategic level, to do those things across all of the many areas of need that would need to be done.â€
Those needs include transitioning the Afghan society away from narcotics and warlordism and into â€œa productive society that can govern and provide services to its people, as well as develop a gross national product,â€ Holmes said.
â€œThat does not come overnight; that’s an institutional change that will take some time,â€ Holmes said.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.