A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Threats Exchange staff are happy to bring you the Spring 2018 issue of CTX. The terrorism landscape looks different and also very much the same since our last issue came out in spring 2017. ISIS is on the run and no longer has a secure stronghold in Syria or Iraq. It has been pushed out of the large cities and towns it once held, but even partial victory has come at a tremendous cost in military and civilian lives, in treasure, and in the very structure of the besieged cities that ISIS held. Much of Mosul was destroyed to save it.

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From the Editor

Wildfires throughout the western United States, typhoons in Oceania, economic upheaval and pandemic across the globe; violent extremism is only one of the many catastrophes that are unfolding around us in this strange and unpredictable year. What is predictable is that most of us will continue trying to live our lives the best we can. It is also predictable that certain groups of people will continue to tear at the structures of society in the mistaken belief that building something new is no harder than destroying what exists.

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What Special Operations Forces Might Learn from the Police: Three Observations

At around 11 O’Clock in the morning on 18 March 2019, a fellow Marine and I were running through the woods near our base  in the Netherlands, chatting as we ran. It was warm, beautiful weather and we had a lot to talk about because we had not spoken to each other for some time. Suddenly, my cell phone rang.

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Movements of Rage

The purpose of this essay is to introduce special operators to the concept of “movements of rage,” a distinctive form of violent sociopolitical movement that does not fit well into the common categories of terrorism, fourth wave religious terrorism, new terrorism, cosmic war, or other existing definitions of forms of political violence. 

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The CTX Interview | Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations

On 31 January 2020, the National Security Affairs department of the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California, hosted Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi for a guest lecture with students and faculty. Afterward, he sat for an interview with Dr. Craig  Whiteside and Colonel Ian Rice (Retired) to discuss the rise and fall of ISIS in Iraq and prospects for the future of the US-Iraqi relationship.

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Ethics and Insights | On Truth, Lies, and Loyalty: Part One

As I write this, in the spring of 2020, I am living through the third month of California’s state-wide shelter-in-place order to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. My neighbor remains convinced that measures to control the coronavirus pandemic are part of a political plot by persons nefarious and unidentified. 

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The Game Floor | Cyberspace Operations Training Using CyberWar: 2025

Most current cyber warfare games are developed to help businesses think through cyber crisis and incident response scenarios. By delving into actions and reactions, these commercial games reveal their roots in traditional military wargames; however, the scenarios they address apply only to the organizations for which they are built, and thus do not have extensive training and education applications outside such organizations. 

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The Written Word | Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman

How far is a nation willing to go to protect itself from terrorists? In 1973, in Lillehammer, Norway, Israeli agents gunned down Ahmed Bouchiki in front of his pregnant wife. A Moroccan national who was married to a Norwegian citizen, Bouchiki had become a victim  of Israel's global targeted-killing program.

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The Written Word | Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists By Audrey Kurth Cronin

I was intrigued the first time I witnessed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to attack Iraqi and Kurdish forces. In early 2018, Syrian rebels carried out the first documented drone swarm at-tack, using 13 drones to target Russian forces at Khmeimim Air Base and Tartus Naval Facility in Syria

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JSOU Publications

These recent Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) Press publications are available electronically on the USSOCOM Research Library website in the JSOU Press Publications 2019 and 2020 sections:

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This journal is not an official DoD publication. The views expressed or implied within are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any governmental or nongovernmental organization or agency of the United States of America or any other country.


Copyright © 2023 by the author(s), except where otherwise noted. The Combating Threats Exchange journal (CTX) is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research, or educational purposes free of charge and without permission, except if otherwise noted. Any commercial use of CTX or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published herein rests with the author(s) of the article, unless otherwise noted.


  • SALLY BAHO, Copy Editor
  • LAYOUT AND DESIGN, Graduate Education Advancement Center, Naval Postgraduate School


  • VICTOR ASAL, University of Albany SUNY
  • CHRIS HARMON, Marine Corps University
  • TROELS HENNINGSEN, Royal Danish Defense College
  • PETER MCCABE, Joint Special Operations University
  • RAJAN RAVINDRAN, Indian Army (Ret.)
  • IAN C. RICE, US Army (Ret.)
  • ANNA SIMONS, Naval Postgraduate School
  • SHYAMSUNDER TEKWANI, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
  • CRAIG WHITESIDE, Naval War College


  • AMINA KATOR-MUBAREZ, Naval Postgraduate School