CTX Journal Vol. 1, No. 2 - November 2011
From the Editor
In the last three short months, CTFP has helped convene hundreds of CT professionals in several locations around the world. Mongolia hosted the Asia Pacific Center's regional Alumni Symposium, where participants critically explored the 21st century challenges of "Ungoverned Spaces: Physical and Virtual". Greeting us with traditional blue scarves and fermented mare's milk, our gracious hosts made the conference a success both for pan-Asian CT network-building, and for deepening our understanding of Mongolia itself.
The National Defense University held its annual "Kickoff" exercise, uniting incoming CTFP Fellows with alumni from the College for International Security Affairs(CISA.
Participants took part in a strategic-level exercise aimed at examining violent non-state actors and the national policies that could be used to counter them. Putting their experiences and education to the test, the incoming students found themselves up against a formidable Red Team comprised of CISA CTFP alumni.
At each of these events, CT practitioners engage in dialogue about CT issues affecting the worldwide community. At CTX, we aim to dive more deeply into these issues, and call upon real-world experiences to improve and inform CT operational effectiveness. As an example for readers considering submitting to us, Ronny Kristoffersen uses some of his first- person experiences to offer lessons learned in his article, contributing to exactly what CTX seeks: a dialogue about better practices.
Likewise, we very much want the overviews we publish to also generate dialogue. That is why we don't just welcome, but encourage responses from any of our Algerian CTFP Fellows, or others with experience in the Maghreb, to this issue's special section on Algeria.
For that matter, to all of our Fellows: help us be the journal of record for operational knowledge. Let's help each other fill in the blanks, fine-tune the analyses, and flesh out the overviews with the "been there, did/saw/thought something different" observations you each may have. Share your experience, and share your knowledge – we all still have much to learn.
This CT network is growing – in numbers and in strength – and we remain at-the-ready to report on your successes and lessons learned.
Content Recon…A Sneak Peek
This issue opens with a report from the field by CTFP's director, Dr. Dennis Walters, on coordination efforts in East Africa against the Lord's Resistance Army. "CTFP: In Action" exemplifies how we can leverage our international CT community on an ad-hoc basis to counter terrorism.
In "Bleeding for the Village", Norwegian Coastal Ranger Officer Ronny Kristoffersen provides a synopsis of his experiences in Afghanistan, challenging conventional wisdom about how to conduct COIN. Incorporating his real-world perspective, he explains how CT practitioners could – and arguably should -- be tapping into existing cultural structures.
Many CTFP alumni may remember Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka, who hails from the National Defense University and, in this issue of CTX, adapts recent testimony to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee for an article entitled "Ten Years Later: Are We Winning the War?" In it he offers his insights about "disturbing truths" and real steps that should be taken in order for the U.S. and its allies to make lasting progress against Al Qaeda.
CTFP and other CT professionals hoping to better understand the challenges confronting Algeria and the Maghreb at large should appreciate this issue's SECTION ON ALGERIA. In it, U.S. Army Special Forces Major Rich Nessel outlines a history of Islamist and Islamic ideologies that have been influential in Algeria, including the strain that has given us today's Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In this issue's "The Moving Image", Dr. Kalev I. Sepp draws out deeper messages regarding torture in Jean Lartéguy's book-to-film adaptation "Lost Command," and the uncannily prescient film, "Battle of Algiers". Without sacrificing reality for theory -- or conscience for approval -- George Lober walks us through the difficult topic of torture in "Ethics and Insights". Lastly, we asked Algeria expert Dr. Mohammed Hafez to compile a concise bibliography for CT professionals who want to catch up on how best to understand the latest developments in Algeria, beginning with its history.