A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Terrorism Exchange staff are happy to bring you the August 2012 issue of CTX.

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Combining Special Operations Forces: A Dutch Case Study

Special Operations Forces (SOF) constantly have to adjust to the reality of increasing demand and decreasing national defense budgets. Some units are able to expand because of increased demand while others may be forced to reduce their size because of budget decreases. The Royal Nether-lands Marine Corps decided in 2009 to combine its two relatively small SOFunits into ...

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The Civilian Casualties Management Team: A Piece of the Counterinsurgency Puzzle

In counterinsurgencies, few events shape the perception of the legitimacy of military operations as powerfully as those that cause civilian ca-sualties. Civilian leaders and populaces, informed by round-the-clock media, are increasingly intolerant of harm to civilians, and such events directly affect what is recognized as the “information environment,” a critical component of overseas operations...

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Learning From History: What Is Successful Interrogation?

As long as military units have taken prisoners in wartime, captors have agonized over how to entice or force their prisoners to share what they know. Often the default has been to use torture. Recent history has shown, however, that although torture may get prisoners to talk, there is no guaran-tee that what they say is the truth...

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Financing al Shabaab: The Vital Port of Kismayo

Al Shabaab, which is generally described as a “Salafi-jihadist movement,” is a major player and instigator in the ongoing fight to win control of Somalia.1 For about four years after its inception in 2006, al Shabaab focused its violence in Somalia only. In 2008, its leader,  Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed “Godane,” pledged loyalty to al Qaeda and the goal of global jihad...

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Parole for Guantánamo Releasees: Revisiting a Time-tested Concept

Since the United States began its fight against global jihadists more than ten years ago, the U.S. government has struggled to find the right term to describe those fighters who take up jihadist activities after their release from the detention camp at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba...

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Teenage Spy: Infiltrating the Irish Republican Army

The ability to infiltrate a group in order to obtain tactical intel-ligence is a critical weapon against terrorist organizations. Open-source literature on human intelligence does not provide many examples of terrorist infiltration, but a notable exception is the story of Martin McGartland, who successfully infiltrated the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIR A) as a teenager while he was working for the British Special Branch...

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Ethics and Insights

Six months ago, in response to a question, I stood before a class of forty American and international military officers and told them they were not all heroes. Interestingly, my remarks were not met immediately with protests and rejection. That may be because the students respected my opin-ion enough to at least listen and consider it, or it may be because a number of them agreed with me. Yet even as I expressed it, I knew that many of the fine men and women in service throughout the world did disagree with me. So, for the sake of discussion, here’s my case...

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The Moving Image: Not Just a Russian Platoon in Afghanistan

Watching this story of Russian infantrymen in Afghanistan in 1988, veterans of the current war may sense they have shared not just the geography, but the same enemy, the same struggles, and the same ultimately unattainable objective...

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The Written Word: Find, Fix, Finish ...

Find, Fix, Finish is a well-written, fast-paced, and compelling overview of U.S. counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the United States since 9/11. Authors Aki Peritz and Eric Rosenbach are former counterterrorism officials with the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, respectively. Their collaboration credibly dissects the evolving legal and operational complexities of con-ducting counterterrorism...

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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