CTX Journal Vol. 2, No. 1 - February 2012

From the Editor

When you think about it, many of us have jobs for a very simple reason: because the world changes. If governments were certain of the future, they would not need as many of us to "hold down the fort" during chaotic times. If the world weren't in a constant state of change, we might not need to learn or teach nearly as much as we do; we wouldn't have to think critically and independently, nor need to be taught how. A static, unchanging Earth would be a boring place.

A bittersweet change for CTX – this is the last time I will be writing the Letter from the Editor: I'm moving on to the United States Department of State as a Foreign Service Junior Officer, after a grueling 13-month application process. By the time you read this, I should be starting my training, in a world as uncertain to me now as the global one is to all of us.

And that, in many respects, is the theme of this issue: uncertainty. As we hail 2012, think of how much remains uncertain. Some of the articles in this issue raise questions about morality in a modern bureaucratic world; the unknowable consequences of letting an infamous jihadist die in an American prison; and how we measure success against terrorists.

Once again, we invite your comments on any and all of the pieces in this issue and hope that they provoke thought – and discussion – keeping our minds flexible for dealing with the uncertain times ahead of us.

It has been a monumental pleasure and learning experience working with CTFP, helping to stand up CTX, and getting to know those fellows I've been able to meet. I hope that collectively we continue to make the best, and not the worst, of uncertainty.

A note from the Executive Editors: we wish nothing but the best to Julia and look forward to visiting her abroad, particularly when she's Ambassador McClennon, which we hope she is one day. It is in large part thanks to her considerable efforts, along with those of Amelia Simunek, that CTX was stood up in such short order. Julia is going to be impossible to duplicate and very hard to replace.

Julia McClenon
Managing Editor

Content Recon…A Sneak Peek

This issue opens with former SEAL and Editorial Board member Paul Shemella's "Measuring a Government's Capacity to Fight Terrorism." Shemella offers us a framework that can, and arguably should, be modified according to the local context since, as he points out, "fighting terrorism is all about context."

Take Brazil. That's the topic of retired Brazilian Army Major General and former Special Forces Commander Alvaro de Souza Pinheiro's article about how Brazil organizes security for major events. While "The Fifth CISM Military World Games" does, as the title suggest, concentrate on last July's Military World Games, this is hardly the only large event Brazil has hosted or will host in the near future. Olympics, anyone?

Or, consider Egypt – which is what Irakli Mchedlishvili does in her contribution, "Radicalization in Light of the Developments in Egypt." Mcedlishvili argues for greater international cooperation with civil society groups, and knows whereof she speaks as a member of just such a Georgia-based civil society group herself.

Or, consider Uganda – and the kind of terrorism that now confronts it. That's the subject of Ugandan People's Defence Forces Marine major, David Munyua's article.

Or, how about the question SUNY professor Brian Nussbaum poses in "The Forgotten Jihadist." What is likely to happen when religious leader Abdel-Rahman dies in a U.S. prison facility which, given his poor health, is bound to occur at some point in the near future?

As for our regular features, we introduce "The Written Word" – book reviews. In this issue, Dr. Dona J. Stewart takes a look at Robin Wright's Rock the Casbah and Dr. James J. F. Forest reviews Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker's Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against al-Qaeda.

NPS student and Norwegian Army Major Lars Lilleby was actually able to sit down with Eric Schmitt recently in Monterey. Ideally, the resulting interview will plant the bug in readers' minds. If you have an interesting visitor, PLEASE consider doing an interview for CTX.

In "The Moving Image" Dr. Kalev I. Sepp offers up a "Top Ten" list – just begging for responses.

In "Ethics and Insights" George Lober stirs the pot regarding moral courage with the express aim of inviting comments and responses.

And in the "Resources" section, you'll find news about publications by CTFP fellows and faculty.

Everything in this issue, as in the preceding two, is designed to prime the pump and get your juices flowing: we always want your feedback on what is written. But we also are always looking for contributions from you: more film reviews, book reviews, interviews, articles – and FIRST PERSON ACCOUNTS, always!