View Full Version : An Out-Of-The-Box Approach to Combatting Enemy Motivation in the GWOT

01-23-08, 07:23 AM

An Out-Of-The-Box Approach to Combatting Enemy Motivation in the GWOT

Editor's Note: DefenseWatch welcomes a new contributor, Dr. Christopher D. Hekimian, who presents some of the innovative thinking Hack would consider essential for our success in fighting zealous Islamic terrorits.

By Christopher D. Hekimian, Dr. Sc., MSEE

The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is being waged in response to attacks on America and other western democracies from radical elements of the Islamic faith. These radical proponents of a most virulent form of Islam are receiving an enormous amount of popular support from individuals that appear to be poorly educated, socially and economically deprived and often illiterate. Such individuals, at once, have no reason to think well of western democracies and principles of freedom and democracy, which they know very little about; and they have little reason to harbor ill will against militants with whom they share culture, religious beliefs and from whom some benefits are derived.

While the United States has historically been able to marshal effective military forces for purposes of conventional warfare, asymmetric warfare against loosely federated terrorist organizations willing to commit acts of terror against innocent civilians represents a much different challenge. A different approach is needed.

The term “holistic” is most often associated with medicine. It refers to an approach to healing that does not focus on treating any one particular ailment, but of treating a plurality of related causes, which when addressed will improve the overall health of the patient, healing the particular ailment, and others, indirectly. This paper presents a concept for a holistic approach to winning the GWOT. Such an approach will directly address the motivating causes of support for Islamo-fascists. Through people to people engagement and support and understanding... examples of which are described in this paper; the influence of radical clerics and militant groups can be reduced, perhaps to nuisance level or below.

America’s handling of the GWOT has been exclusively reactionary and militaristic. Military action is only part of the holistic cure for the disease of Islamo-fascist terror. The holistic approach described in this paper is inherently proactive and involves essentially all aspects of western societal strengths. In fact, each executive department in the United States government are adopted as examples of how all of the strengths of the western democracies can be applied in order to out flank the enemy in the battle for the hearts and minds of our Islamic neighbors. The underlying idea is not to learn how to detect and defend against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), but instead to turn the buildings that produced the IEDs to legitimate businesses, factories, schools, and civil resources. Those individuals that would become terrorists must be provided more opportunities to become teachers, physicians, engineers, and business owners.

There are other causes for animosity towards Americans that are manifest in hatred throughout the world. These reasons include:
a perception that Americans are immoral
a perception that Americans are poorly educated
a perception that Americans are spoiled and do not appreciate the advantages that they enjoy
a perception that Americans are wasteful consumers of world resources

Americans reading the list above might conclude that such perceptions must be rooted to some degree of either a misunderstanding or over-simplified view of American culture. The people to people interaction that is part and parcel of the holistic approach to the GWOT will help promote a mutual understanding between Americans and peoples of terror-risk nations that should support a climate of mutual respect.

Some countries have made concessions to the United States in the context of the GWOT. For example, the government of Libya has agreed to not pursue the development of nuclear weapons. Also, the country of Pakistan has been an active partner in the fight against the Taliban. To reward these countries, in manners consistent with the holistic approach, would be a visible demonstration of the benefits of cooperation with the western community. It could also foster a better mutual understanding between nations and peoples.

A major problem facing Americans is that America, through exercise of will and strength that only it appears to have, is perceived by many as an arrogant “World Police”. Such a perception would appear to be very understandable when most of the world is treated only to images of our tanks, warships and soldiers as opposed to anything more positive and humanistic. The holistic approach to the GWOT, addresses this problem through direct people to people interaction on real and visible projects and initiatives that can only help individuals in terror-risk countries and areas.

The holistic approach to the GWOT can be expected to be deemed suitable by a significant portion of the American electorate. It’s humanistic and proactive nature can appeal even to pacifists. It may represent the only aspects of the GWOT that many Americans would find acceptable at all. One of the main reasons why a holistic approach to the GWOT would be perceived positively by the electorate is because it will provide a number of ways for regular citizens to be actively involved in the solution. It is almost always the case that an inability to help leads to frustration. The spirit of assistance and giving is demonstrated in the U.S. frequently... highlighted after natural disasters and after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. By the same token, it is very easy to oppose something that you have no ownership in. Elements of the holistic approach, such as arts exchange and trade, are implicit invitations for involvement. The holistic approach is inherently proactive and human-centric. Human faces will be associated with the challenges and the solutions, on both sides of the collaborative equation.

The short reason why the holistic approach to the GWOT will succeed is because it capitalizes on the combined strengths of the west, in a way that empowers people. The adversary simply cannot compete on such a basis. It will be seen that the holistic approach draws on a wide range of government and private resources. Consequently, strong leadership is essential. The case for each initiative must be presented in a compelling manner and in a spirit of bipartisanship. Government agencies must be committed to their component of the GWOT, as the Congress must be. This paper uses the executive agencies of the U.S. government as examples of what can and should be done in the holistic approach. 100% participation among the agencies is imperative so there is no question of commitment. Ownership of the holistic approach to the GWOT is shared by the military and the rest of the country.

The remainder of this paper presents specific initiatives that U.S. executive agencies can engage in support of the GWOT. The complete set of executive agencies were chosen as an example. Other government agencies should also be challenged to do their parts. The challenges should extend to the people and governments of other nations as well. It is assumed that each of the following recommendations would be carried out in close partnership with the leadership in the host governments and within the indigenous private industry. The term “terror-risk” is used in the following discussions to refer to countries that are engaged in warfare against terrorism as well as countries, through economic or political problems are at risk of having their population becoming sympathetic to terrorist causes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The current mission and capabilities of the USDA includes: Farm and foreign agricultural services; rural development; food safety; protection of natural resources and the environment; marketing and regulatory programs; and agricultural research, education and economics. USDA’s most recent budget is $97B and they employ a staff of approximately 108,000. Many of the services and functions that the USDA provides to American farmers could be applied to the farms and agricultural industries of foreign, terror-risk countries. Efforts to help develop viable agricultural industries can be expected to have multiple benefits that would benefit the people of the terror-risk nations and by extension, the GWOT. The benefits include improved employment conditions, improved GDP through export, decreased hunger, and improved overall well-being and future for the country. The perception of the allied coalition can be expected to improve.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). The current mission areas of the DOC that are most relevant to the holistic GWOT include: fostering economic development; conducting the census and statistical analysis; fostering international trade; and facilitating industrial development. DOC’s budget is approximately $6.3B and about 38,000 are employed. Terror-risk countries can benefit from DOC’s efforts to facilitate development of industry and international trade and export. Commercial alliances can be established between American companies and companies that are in country. Commercial engagement and the growth of commercial industry within terror-risk countries will result much of the same long lasting benefits that agricultural development will. Thousands of individuals who would otherwise be at risk of becoming terrorists would instead be provided numerous opportunities to live prosperous, beneficial and rewarding lives, like many are trying to do now under more difficult circumstances.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Within the context of the holistic GWOT, the DoD would have the added challenge of adapting their mission and functions as the conditions in their areas of responsibilities change.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED). It appears evident that many countries that have become terror-risk states have first lost their educational establishments to the radically motivated elements that foment terrorist ideologies. The expertise of the ED is needed to help rebuild a foundation for learning that can empower citizens with the education that they need to function in the global, economic community. An educated populace is needed in any society for it to remain free and prosperous. To neglect the rebuilding of a fair and tolerant educational infrastructure is to cede the youth of that country to the radicalized forces. American schools cannot be neglected either. American public school curricula must be infused with up to date knowledge about life and challenges in the terror-risk nations. Current ED funding and staffing are $63B and 4500, respectively.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The mission areas of DOE currently include: energy security; nuclear security; scientific study and innovation; and environmental responsibility. DOE’s budget is currently about $23B and they employ approximately 116,000 federal and contract employees. The DOE should establish programs within terror-risk nations that will help establish energy independence and sound environmental practices tailored to the environment and resources of the country in focus. In country and U.S. collaborative research initiatives should be fostered to these ends. The challenge of energy independence is a high calling to individuals who might otherwise be drawn into the terror subculture.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The current mission areas and capabilities of HHS that are most relevant to the holistic GWOT include: promoting affordable health care; biosurveillance; improving health centers; healthy family development; health programs for children; HIV/AIDS initiatives; Community and economic development programs and the National Institutes of Health (research). The budget of HHS is approximately $642B and they employ a staff of about 67000. Many of the initiatives that HHS is currently engaged in would be even more critically needed in terror-risk countries. Improved health care centers would be visible indicators of international care and cooperation. They would support child and family health, help provide vaccinations, help prevent and control outbreaks of disease. Indigenous medical resources could collaborate with NIH on research that would have the potential to benefit all people and would help develop prestige and enhance knowledge in the country of focus.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has a staff of over 160,000 and has a budget of approximately $33B. The current DHS capabilities of border enforcement, port security, security screening of people and cargo, aviation security, emergency response and counterterrorism and counterWMD efforts represent areas of need for any terror threatened country. Establishing and maintaining cooperation between DHS and agencies of similar purpose in terror-risk countries has the potential to benefit both nations in terms of increased security through capture, thwarting and deterring attacks and through the sharing of intelligence. Any efforts to develop and improve the security of terror-risk nations of governments friendly to the United States can be expected to have direct benefits for the U.S. as those that would engage in terror are denied resources, mobility and safety in those countries and are made to pay a cost for their activities.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD addresses homelessness, administers to homebuyer grant programs, seeks to increase minority homeownership through grants and administers to voucher programs for low-income home buyers. HUD administers to a budget of $40B and has a staff of approximately 10,600. HUD would have the important role in the holistic GWOT of assisting in the development of practical, low-cost housing that would be consistent with the culture, resources and environment of the host nation. Owning a home is often associated inherently with a commitment to function as a productive citizen. The home must be paid for and maintained in an ongoing basis. Home ownership is a way for individuals to own a stake in their country and society. Home ownership is good for individuals, families and societies. This is why HUD exists. Home ownership is a critical need for citizens of terror-risk countries. A vast majority of citizens in some risk regions have historically been denied land and home ownership. To help facilitate private home ownership and making the case for it at the highest levels of the host government, if necessary, would be consistent with the highest American ideals and go far towards turning a population away from militant extremists.

Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ has a budget of approximately $23B and employs about 112,000. The challenge of DOJ within the context of the holistic GWOT would be to assist the indigenous judicial systems and law enforcement agencies in reforms, as necessary and to develop crime fighting and detention capabilities so as to introduce fairness and to develop confidence in the criminal justice system. Assisting terror-risk nations in fighting corruption is a task that is key to the success of many of the initiatives that are described in the overall plan described herein. Americans would benefit directly through increased coordination between empowered host country law enforcement agencies and U.S. and international law enforcement agencies.

Department of Labor (DOL). The current mission areas of the DOL include job training and employment initiatives and collecting and reporting labor statistics. DOL employs approximately 17,000 employees with a budget of approximately $51B. A theme that underscores the discussion of the holistic GWOT is that people that are gainfully employed, have hope, a dream for the future, and the means to attain that dream, are less likely to sympathize with terrorists or engage in terrorist activities. The DOL is needed to manage the placement of individuals indigenous to terror-risk countries in jobs, especially in the wake of the new jobs that would be introduced in the wake of other holistic GWOT initiatives. Detailed labor statistics would have critical importance as indicators of which areas of host countries are most at risk of high unemployment and the swelling of pro-militant sentiments.

Department of State (DOS). Among other activities, the DOS engages in diplomatic activities; coordinates international assistance including disaster recovery; child health; and military financing. The budget of DOS is approximately $27B and the staff is about 30,000. The holistic role of the GWOT would to a degree be a reemphasis of it’s current role of forming alliances to benefit terror-risk countries directly and allied nations and the U.S., more indirectly. Each element of the holistic GWOT would have more effect if cooperation among more nations either in support or participation, can be achieved. DOS must strive to achieve the maximum level of cooperation and participation.

Department of the Interior (DOI). The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service are all agencies of DOI. DOI’s budget is about $10B and it staffs about 71,400. The DOI has the capabilities and experience necessary to assist in the conservation and the preservation of natural resources and the presentation of culturally significant sites and landmarks within countries of focus. Such activities could be expected to benefit citizens of the host countries the same way American citizens benefit from parks, and historically preserved sites. Benefits include those brought about from conservation, recreation, and national pride and interest in learning.

Department of the Treasury. The Treasury Department collects taxes, manages and accounts for the public debt, administers to federal finances, and combats financial crime and terrorist financing. They also regulate and supervise financial institutions and produce coins and currency. The Treasury Department has a budget of about $53B and staffs about 116,000. Nascent governments or reforming elements of terror-risk countries are likely to need assistance with several problems that the Treasury Department deals with daily. These problems include assisting in the collection and accounting for taxes and managing the public debt. It is likely that the banking systems of some terror-risk countries will require some kind of reform in order to more fully embrace the global market place and to provide investment opportunities to citizens and to foreigners. Problems of counterfeit currency can be addressed with the help of the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department can assist nascent governments in the development of policies and regulation designed to reduce corruption in financial institutions.

Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT administers to our countries aviation system, interstate highways system and rail system. They do so with a budget of $60B and a staff of about 58,600. Within the context of a committed, holistic GWOT, it is likely that terror-risk countries will be in need of expertise regarding the planning and management of a modernized transportation infrastructure. DOT has the required capabilities and experience to provide guidance and support to those effects.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA administers to programs for service veterans. The programs administered by the VA include health programs, disability programs, pension programs, vocational rehabilitation and employment services, and administration of national cemeteries. The budget of the VA is about $68B and it staffs about 218,000 employees. For a country to be able to care for those that become disabled in it’s defense reflects the highest moral values and is conducive to credibility and trust in the view of all citizens. Countries engaged in or emerging from violent struggle are in particular need of services like the VA provides for the U.S. The VA should assist in the development of programs to benefit veterans and emergency responders that are tailored to the needs and resources of terror-risk countries.

Conclusion. It has been the purpose of this paper to point out what should be obvious to the reader at this point. The United States is currently employing only a tiny fraction of it’s capabilities on behalf of the GWOT. The non-military resources and capabilities of the U.S. are arguably more important than the military ones in some cases. By the time the military is necessary, it is often may be too late. The set of U.S. executive agencies were selected as an example to demonstrate how those kinds of capabilities can be employed in order to at once:
Build allies
Strengthen allies
Develop trading partners
Uncover new resources
Empower Americans in support of emerging nations
Empower citizens of emerging nations economically and politically
Support interaction and understanding between Americans and people of other nations
Build American credibility
Spread democratic values
Weaken the grip that terrorist have on populations

To re-emphasize an important point, the holistic GWOT is based upon the inherently human-centric theme that people that are gainfully employed, have hope, a dream for the future, and the means to attain that dream, are less likely to sympathize with terrorists or engage in terrorism. Our opponents in the war on terror cannot match our ability to engage in a holistic GWOT. Their capabilities do not currently extend beyond the use of bombs, the media and fear tactics, and the threat of WMDs. The cost of the holistic GWOT is high and will require some budgetary sacrifice for purely domestic programs. But, based upon what is at stake, the cost is a bargain.