A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Threats Exchange staff are happy to bring you the Summer 2022 issue of CTX. 

Asset Publisher
Letter from the Editor

Mariupol. Kharkiv. Bucha. Donbas. We’ve all quickly, unintentionally become experts on Ukrainian geography, tutored by a relentless barrage of news stories and videos detailing the Russian assault. After months of ferocious battle, what's the endgame: victory? Stalemate? Partition? Who knows? Even Vladimir Putin, venting his rage against Ukraine’s intransigent bid to be European while yanking his own country from authoritarian kleptocracy into neo-fascist totalitarianism, appears to be flailing for an answer.

Read More

Feared and Revered

How could 75,000 Taliban sweep afghan cities from 300,000 well-trained, better-equipped government forces—forces that mostly folded and fled?

Read More

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Operation Serval, and the Value of Irregular Warfare

Between 2012 and early 2013, the forces of the jihadist organization known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its allies came within a hair’s breadth of entirely conquering the country of Mali. Riding on a wave of civil discontent within the Malian government, the jihadist forces were able to hijack an ethnically based rebellion, capitalize on a fractured government and bring nearly two-thirds of the country under their control. 

Read More

The Fog - Part One: Scimitar of the Prophet

The noise cuts through the darkness like a knife—insisting and incessant. I wake, utterly confused. A strange dream slowly dissipates. For a second, I am unsure of where I am, until recollection begins to manifest.

Read More

The CTX Interview

On 8 September 2021, Ali Maisam Nazary, the Head of Foreign Relations for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), sat for an online interview with John Arquilla, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Defense Analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California.

Read More

The Written Word: Irregular Soldiers and Rebellious States: Small-Scale U.S. Interventions Abroad

The US military's shift from fighting irregular conflicts to preparing for Great Power competition has tremendous logic in the face of China’s continued rise as a modern military power with a significant economic base.

Read More

The Written Word | Head of the Mossad: In Pursuit of a Safe and Secure Israel

One evening in the autumn of 1994, secret negotiations of the utmost importance took place deep inside the al-Maqar palace compound in Amman, Jordan, home of the Jordanian royal family and the site of key government offices.

Read More

Publications: Outsourcing Duty: The Moral Exploitation of the American Soldier

Are contemporary soldiers exploited by the state and society that they defend? More specifically, have America's professional service members disproportionately carried the moral weight of America's war-fighting decisions since the inception of an all-volunteer force? 

Read More


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