The Framework of a Global Spear
President Trump will use the “full span of United States power and use every available tool to combat terrorism at home, abroad and in cyberspace.” Singling out Iran, Pakistan, and others, the strategy contains coordinated efforts between “civil society and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments,… private sector partners and foreign allies.”
According to the strategy, ISIS and Al Qaeda remain the top Islamic terrorist network threats and Iran the most prominent state sponsor of Islamic terrorism having evolved into more complex and geographically dispersed coordination. Saudi Arabia is not mentioned directly in the strategy but may be seen as a spear head with UAE against the Islamic Republic and allies in Syria, Pakistan, and Lebanon judging by the lead it has taken on behalf of the United States in the assistance of the new Kurdish state, Yemen, and joint missions with Israel.
In the past, this was tried to an extent with the GCC, the Arab countries in the GCC even when provided the latest military equipment were not able to keep up with either the training nor the maintenance of the technology. Energy still continues to be the main income for these states and kingdoms, so the increased role of counterterrorism missions in the region will drive energy and economic diversification among emerging industries regionally.
Meeting the Challenges of Mobility and Reach
As networks have moved into Africa in search of weaker states and greater unprotected resources, there are some perhaps more logistical reasons for the use of partners and other outside organizations. During the Obama administration the US largely relied on drone war tactics that presented challenges the distance required to travel. Often by the time a drone reached its destination it would have to turn back to refuel.
The US has a very limited reach into the African continent with very few bases all of which are quite small. It’s diplomatic relations with African countries is also underdeveloped with very few embassies and ambassadors representing US interests. Much of the continent is within the geopolitical spheres of the Chinese and Russians and White House document downplays the scale of militant extremist proliferation globally and does not draw attention to the coordination between groups over large geographic areas.
The Trump strategy suggests utilizing support on the ground making use of partners’ knowledge of local resources available and geographic accessibility. The integrity and capability of counterterrorism partners then is crucial to uphold. There is also a question of sustainability and continued cooperation over time. This will require the ongoing development of diplomacy, building of infrastructure, and economic development in these areas as China and Russia have begun. However, the US will have to decide on the terms of these engagements and how it will compete with existing players. Countries like Somalia where oil was recently discovered may be able to use this competition to its advantage to stabilize and build up the country of Somalia an important location across from war torn Yemen and along a major Red Sea shipping passage.
The strategy aims to cut off any financial servicing to individuals, organizations, and countries participating in terrorist activities and will likely take place with further imposing of sanctions and tariffs and the control of aid as a coordinated effort abroad and prosecution of convicted parties inside the US. Civil Military Operations (CMO) could be utilized in place of some aid, medical, and provisions providers overseas where corruption has been problematic in those programs.
From Migration to Voices of Inner Strength
The policy focuses on immigration as the primary tool of terror networks operating inside the county and uses the border as the main line of defense against threats from within. However the US government recently awarded grants to Muslim organizations with known affiliations to terrorists. $250,000 was awarded to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) all organizations based in the US.
Even though open borders have been exploited in the past, the US needs to be careful not to exclude one of the most informed demographics which is the immigrant community. Many legal migrants fleeing weakened states overrun by terrorist organizations have been undervalued and underutilized in counterterrorism efforts especially when it comes to raising awareness. This community has been silenced and intimidated in the past by the mainstream media agendas and commercial interests. Islamic Nationalism touted in the mainstream media is often used to intimate nonviolent Muslim communities and secular minded immigrant communities which have fled Islamic forms of government like the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, and others.
These of voices of strength and wisdom in dealing with these matters are quick to recognize subversive practices by terror networks especially the processes of establishing extremist footholds at local levels across western countries. If the president is taking seriously his focus on WMDs, explosives, cyber operations, and propaganda, joint task forces have yet to impact communications in the US. Private companies that have been accused of suppressing counterterrorism speech while promoting Islamic forms of nationalism that condone and defend the use of violence. Terror franchising efforts using propaganda by groups like ISIS have particularly targeted young women online within child bearing ages and boys as young as 10 and 11.
These recruiting practices using news and social media and even games need to come to the forefront of public discussion, public school systems, state university campuses, family organizational structures, and other community centers. Schools, police, and investigators need to develop and participate in awareness programs teaching children and parents about the predatory practices of online terror networking in the 21st century. These kinds of programs incorporating youth, parents, schools, and police forces can only have a positive effect on the levels of school shootings in the US.
The training and further provisioning of police forces is especially crucial as they are in the unique position of also playing a role in curbing prison radicalization to militant forms of Islam in US prisons, another one of President Trump’s goals. These forces are still suffering from cutbacks and regulations from previous administrations which has retarded these efforts.
Infrastructure as Fortification to Cyber and Terror Threat
More pressure than ever before is put on the private sector to form public private engagements in these joint efforts especially in the areas of critical infrastructure development in the US, in the global reach of multinational companies, and in the immense spending power of capitalist enterprise. Water, energy, transportation, and communications are all big ticket items in securing the country from cyber attack at a crucial time when much of the country’s critical infrastructure is suffering from age, wear, and neglect. New technology and the public private partnership approach with may help stimulate heavy industry, building, and job creation over these long-term projects.
Major agreements are already taking shape in tandem with other missions to break down monopoly control in the interest of the general welfare. AT&T currently engaged in litigation with the FCC recently sold data centers to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners for $1.1 billion. These mass acquisition will have another effect of increasing the flow of capital in the economy. AT&T said it will pay down debt with the sales of its recent acquisitions. In 2016, Verizon also sold a massive data center portfolio including 29 facilities across 15 metro areas in the US and Latin American to Equinix for $3.6 billion. CenturyLink sold 57 data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia for around $2.15 billion.