A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

Happy New Year, everyone. As I write this, we’re a few weeks into 2021 and there are sparkles of hope here and there that this year may be an improvement over the seemingly endless disasters of the last one. Vaccines are finally being deployed against the coronavirus, although how fast and for whom remain big sticky questions. The United States seems to have survived a political crisis that brought its system of democratic government to the edge of chaos. The endless conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan aren’t over by any means, but they have evolved—devolved?—once again into chronic civil agony instead of multinational warfare.

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From The Editor

2021 is also the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring, a moment when the world held its breath while citizens of countries across North Africa and the Arab Middle East rose up against corrupt authoritarian governments in a bid to end chronic poverty, oppression, and inequality... 

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Irregular War Is Revolutionary

In 2010, after decades serving in special operations forces deployed throughout Africa and from the Balkans to the Middle East, I wrote a paper about the use of terrorism as a tactic in revolutionary change...

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How Dutch Special Operations Forces Can Support Cyber Operations: A Symbiotic Relationship

On the sunny morning of 11 April 2018, Russian cyber operator Aleksej Sergejvitsj Morenets left the Moscow headquarters of the GRU, Russia’s main military intelligence directorate, to take a taxi to the airport. At the airport, he joined his cyber colleague Yevgeni Michajlovitsj Serebrakov and two support agents...

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Causes of the Ongoing Mass Radicalization of Islam in Pakistan: An Ethnography

Religious radicalization in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed, Muslim-majority country of 195 million souls, has been a source of concern to its neighbors and others around the world for a long time...

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Ethics and Insights

Within the first five pages of his book, How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, ethicist Rushworth Kidder draws a clear distinction between true ethical dilemmas and what he calls moral temptations...

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The Written Word | How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns

After 18 years of perpetual warfare, the new American generation will struggle to imagine a world in which their country is not in conflict...

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The Written Word | Blood in the Fields: Ten Years Inside California’s Nuestra Familia Gang

There is a hidden world around us. Chances are, you see it daily but don’t recognize the signs. The strange symbol that is spray-painted on an overpass, the guy in the team jacket at the grocery store, or the person with unusual tattoos passing you by on the street may be communicating something vital about your community that you fail to recognize...

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Publications | Global Jihad: A Brief History

Most violent jihadi movements in the twentieth century focused on removing corrupt, repressive secular regimes throughout the Muslim world. But following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a new form of jihadism emerged—global jihad. With this book, Glenn E. Robinson develops a provocative argument about this violent political movement's evolution...

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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