Monday, July 18, 2016

An ISIS Twofer As Today’s Posting

There is no doubt that ISIS is one of our primary threats today. Part of the challenge is that they are an international, non-traditional threat and unlike nation states – do not play by any rules.

It’s no secret that ISIS has become adept at employing technology to achieve their nefarious goals. At the moment it appears that our rule book isn’t working and that we are playing catch-up on two fronts: propaganda and cyber.

An excellent background article, “Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine.” appeared in November of last year. The article gives the reader an inside view of the ISIS propaganda machine. “(see:, which is also a photo source). “

Fast forward to 7/15/16 and we come across the article “U.S. military has launched a new digital war against the Islamic State” (see: which describes the efforts of Cyber Command to engage the enemy digitally.

Juxtaposing the two articles seems to give the edge to our adversary. The two articles leave you with the impression that the enemy has maintained the high ground in propaganda while the US is playing catch-up in dealing with the cyber battlefield and the digital influence war.

Of course, there is the on-going cat and mouse game where each party doesn’t really want to reveal how successful they may have been or if and how their enemy has negatively impacted their efforts. Yet it makes logical sense to step back for a moment.

I have always believed that ‘you train as you fight’. Unless you have trained and exercised to accomplish a task you are not likely to be very good at it.

There are several parallel efforts at work here:

1.     The use of offensive cyber weapons against a non-traditional enemy.

2.     The employment of cyber influence along with traditional Military Information Support Operations (MISO).

3.     The execution of a coordinated set of operations involving both.

4.     Injection of other resources be they COTS, contract, mercenary or volunteers.

One wonders how training is preparing our force to engage and dominate these battles.


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