[DISPATCH] The Future of US Counter Terrorism Strategy – Forward Observer Shop

[DISPATCH] The Future of US Counter Terrorism Strategy


In this Dispatch…

  • The Islamic State and other terror groups continue to persevere
  • Underlying ideologies that encourage terrorist attacks have not been adequately addressed
  • The eight major components of the new counter terror strategy
  • And more…


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The Future of US Counter Terrorism Strategy
Source Description: US Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, 01 December 2016

(Admin Note: FO’s Dispatch reports are synopses of Congressional hearings.  We track the schedules of Congressional committees and sub-committees, take notes on the proceedings, and then produce a report on relevant points and issues.  Unless otherwise noted, the following information is a synopsis of Congressional testimony, and does not necessarily reflect FO’s positions.)



According to Senate testimony, terrorist attacks throughout the world are intensifying and gradually increasing. Terrorist groups are a threat to the national security of the United States as they continue to grow and learn from each other through methodologies and other key aspects. The growing number and range of threats the US faces today has become diverse and distributed geographically. As terrorist groups continue to take advantage of conflict and dislocation in areas around the world and create more fear in these areas, the Trump administration and Congress needs to intervene with a new strategy to replace Obama’s failed policies.  By an even greater intelligence and information sharing with other key partners, capacity to combat ISIS and other terrorist groups will increase. The United States must prove to be loyal and trustworthy during this time to increase allies and create better support for those allies the United States has currently.


Current Trends in the Future of Counter Terrorism Strategy

The Islamic State (IS) continues to persevere.  Even though IS has lost close to 55% of the land the group captured in Iraq in 2014, they are still a persistent and critical threat throughout the region.  Their recent attacks in Europe show that they are capable of inspiring and/or executing attacks far from their home territory. IS has continuously perpetrated attacks across the globe in areas such as Europe, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, and the Gulf countries.  Affiliates and aspirant supporters have attacked in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Indonesia, San Bernardino, CA; and Orlando, FL.  Islamic State objectives include redrawing the map of the Middle East, threatening the West, and establishing provinces and terrorist alliances.  Terror attacks in the US are found to be inspired by IS, though not planned or executed by them.  Radicalizing Muslims already in the US and inspiring them to attack represent the enduring threat to the US.

Underlying ideologies need to be addressed in order to decrease the threat.  There is a strong, underlying ideology and appeal that inspire violent attacks.  The US  must work to prevent the perpetuation of this ideology so it does not continue to spread globally.  Terrorism is a long term battle and it must be seen and treated as such.  The US has the allies, assets, and ideas to combat terrorism.  Those who have spoken out against radicalization, such as women and victims of terrorism, have combat extremists by developing online platforms.  Speaking out against extremism will help to create a strong coalition force and educate more people about the issue of terrorism.

Proposes to a new counter terrorism strategy.  Counterterrorism can only work if there is close collaboration and trust with effective partners. The US needs to work on having capable partners in the developing world and strengthen bilateral partnerships as part of a broader effort to create a strong, international coalition.  A new strategy for countering violent extremism should be looked at by the United States and the upcoming, new administration and Congress.  It contains eight major components that will combat extremism and terrorism.  They include:

  • Strengthening resistance to extremist ideologies
  • Investing in community-led prevention,
  • Saturating the global marketplace of ideas
  • Aligning policies and values
  • Deploying military and law enforcement tools
  • Exerting White House leadership
  • Expanding counter violent extremism (CVE) models; and
  • Surging funding  for CVE

According to Congressional testimony, if all the components are put in place, they will work together to form a strong and adequate counter terrorism strategy and will gradually limit the fear and threat of terrorism throughout the world. The US will need to continue to use tools and new innovations to control and dismantle the threat at hand.



Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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