More Resources on Radicalization

I know the one thing you don’t have right now is time to read more, but the topic of radicalization is an important one, so I asked a bunch of my counter-terrorism friends to recommend additional materials for when you have more time. If anyone has additional recommendations, please add them in the comments section, and I’ll update the post over time. Ideally, we can build a more comprehensive reading list for you to take with you as you leave the Command and Staff College and continue with your individual professional development.

Tucker, David. “Terrorism, Networks, and Strategy: Why the Conventional Wisdom is Wrong.” Homeland Security Affairs 4, issue 2 (June 2008)

Tucker, David. “Jihad Dramatically Transformed? Sageman on Jihad and the Internet.” Homeland Security Affairs 6, issue 1 (January 2010)

Journal of Strategic Security 4, Number 4 (Winter 2011: Perspectives on Radicalization and Involvement in Terrorism)

Davis, Paul and Kim Cragin, Social Science for Counterterrorism (Washington, DC: RAND, 2009)

Countering the Terrorist Mentality, E-Journal USA 12, issue 5 (2007)

Borum, Randy. Psychology of Terrorism, (University of South Florida, 2007)

Thachuk, Kimberely. Transnational Threats: Smuggling and Trafficking in Arms, Drugs, and Human Life (Praeger Security International, 2007)

McCauley, Clark and Sophia Moskalenko, Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Smart people, what did I miss?

Dr. Johnson



Afghans get CIAO lessons

Doc Shibuya here, just came across this short little story from Reuters. I think we sometimes forget that cultural understanding goes both ways. (This is silly, I know, and frequently is pointed out in seminar thanks to our international–and often, interagency–fellows). The operational significance, however, is important to remember, as the link points out.


ADM (ret) Dennis Blair on developing future US strategy

By way of introduction, this is Dr. Eric Shibuya. I am currently on sabbatical for the fall semester, but will return to CSC and (probably) CGs 5/12 in January (unless Dr. Phillips thinks just being course director is too easy or something). I’m very excited about this blog and will hope to make periodic postings while I am away.

To that end, here’s my former boss, ADM Blair, giving a talk at the Australian National University, discussing the obstacles to developing a coherent US strategy for the future.

International Relations Theory and U.S. Foreign Policy

by Dr. Rebecca J. Johnson

As you’re preparing for this week’s seminar on International Relations Theory, I wanted to share a quick IR Theory Cheat Sheet we use in CGs 1 and 8. For students not in CGs 1 and 8: Please don’t walk in to seminar and tell your PhDs how they ought to approach analyzing IR theory. They will bring their own insight and perspective to your conversations. Still, this could be a useful way to orient yourselves as you read and to focus your thinking on each theory’s strengths and weaknesses.

Also, I very much like this overview of Liberalism by Dr. Andrew Moravcsik. As you can tell from scrolling through his publications, the man’s pretty smart and has spent his entire career thinking about these issues. I know you already have a ton to read, but it’s worth skimming, if you’re so inclined.

Any thoughts or feedback? Leave a comment!

Bookmark for Seminar on IR Theory

by Dr. Rebecca J. Johnson

Head still hurt from all the reading last week? I just came across a post from Dr. Phil Arena at SUNY-Buffalo on the enduring value of International Relations theory. When Drs. Jensen, Marlo, and I were in grad school, we’d read books of this stuff every week. Fun times.

Why am I sharing it with you? In two weeks we’ll study International Relations (IR) Theory in CIAO, and if you can translate the article into English — something I’ve challenged folks on twitter to do — it has a good discussion of Realism as a theory of international relations as well as a good discussion of why theory matters in the first place.

On Thursday Dr. Otis lectured about how our cultural beliefs condition how we see the world. Similarly, by prioritizing different “causal factors” (the things that make other things happen — power, culture, communication ties, etc.) different theories explain the world differently. This produces profoundly different understandings of international threats and opportunities, as well as different understandings of how to leverage the different instruments of national power against those threats and opportunities.  When we read about Walter Russell Mead’s Special Providence in our seminar on Strategic Culture, you can see how the different foreign policy traditions he identifies provides different understandings for how the United States can best secure its interests in the world. This is theory in action.

Right now, focus on your readings for the Federalist Papers and the American Revolution, but when we get to IR theory on 21-22 August, you might want to dive a little deeper with Arena’s thought piece.