A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Threats Exchange staff are happy to bring you the November 2013 issue of CTX.

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Protecting Soft Networks: Time to Counter the Enemy’s Logical Strategy

In local gathering places, away from the ears of the occupiers, insurgents meet and discuss ways to punish occupation supporters. Although the techniques vary—insurgents confront traitors in the street, leave messages at their homes, and threaten their family members—all of their tactics are designed to make supporting the illegitimate occupation unattractive, dangerous, and even deadly...

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The Ideologies of Anti-Technology Violence

The recently released film The East, a thriller about a corporate spy infiltrating an anarchist collective, has sparked interesting discussions about surveillance, eco-terrorism, corporate espionage, and the violent anarchist fringe.1 It touches upon, though doesn't fully explore, another theme related to terrorism and political violence—those individuals who engage in anti-technology violence. That is, political violence that targets researchers, firms, and producers because of their involvement in technological innovation and distribution. It is a phenomenon with a longer history than you might imagine...

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De-Radicalizing Muslim Youth in Western Societies

Weak and in some cases almost non-existent family bonds have left young Muslims in Britain caught between the beliefs and networks of their parents and those of the host society. This confusion, along with feelings of disenfranchisement and discrimination, creates an identity crisis. Reinvigorating the extended family would help youth overcome the trauma of their identity crisis by granting them a firm sense of belonging to a network of peers, in the form of cousins and other relatives who would help put family first...

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The Role of Medical Development in Support of Security

The motto of the United States Army Medical Department, "To Conserve the Fighting Strength," often conjures visions of field medics providing care to the injured on the battlefield or surgeons with blood-soaked gowns using skill and ingenuity to save patients from the grip of death. For some, the motto summons images of soldiers lined up for vaccinations or digging field latrines, thus preventing the diseases that are endemic to areas of conflict...

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The Challenge of Combat Search and Rescue for Colombian National Army Aviation

Since the mid-1960s, the Republic of Colombia has suffered from an internal armed conflict against Marxist-Leninist narco-guerrillas, violent drug cartels, illegal armed groups, and criminal bands, most of whom support themselves through the production and trafficking of narcotics.1 This situa-tion profoundly affected the stability of the country; more specifically, foreign investment dropped, international confidence in the country reached unfavor-able levels, and several social and economic problems reached the boiling point.  ...

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The Future of SOF Education: A Vision for Global Special Forces Education

In early March 2013, Dr. Sugata Mitra, one of the pioneers in online learning (also known as e-learning), was awarded the TED Prize, which comes with a $1 million check and the commitment of millions of TED community followers to help fulfill a wish of the winner.1 Dr. Mitra's vision forms the first step toward what is being called in the education community "Online Learning 2.0." Dr. Mitra's ideas are clearly pushing toward the day when access to education will become far easier and considerably less expensive than it is now, ideas that are very much in line with NATO's current force education efforts as well. Programs like Smart Defence and the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) offer NATO member states innovative solutions in many areas of the defense industry, particularly in the areas of training and education

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The Haqqani Network: Pursuing Feuds under the Guise of Jihad?

The intersection of tribes, corruption, insurgency, poppy, tyranny, family feuds, and loyalties makes conducting counterinsurgency in eastern Afghanistan highly complicated.2 Few terrorist organizations in this region have had the kind of sustained success over a period of years and the ability to adapt and increase their threat as the Haqqani Network (HQN). From its beginnings as a subgroup in the Afghan insurgency with ties to al Qaeda, the network has risen to become one of the most effective, feared, and hard-core elements of the Afghan Taliban insurgency..

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CTAP Interview: Colonel William (“Billy”) H. Shaw

This interview is taken from the collection of the Combating Terrorism Archive Project.1 Dr. Douglas Borer, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, spoke with U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel William H. ("Billy") Shaw on 22 July 2013 in Stuttgart, Germany, where COL Shaw was serving with Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). They discussed a groundbreaking training program for the Afghan Army Special Forces that COL Shaw developed while serving in Afghanistan in 2010–2011...

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Kill v. Capture—With a Twist

The recent debate in the United States about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, referred to as "drones" in the popular press) has highlighted the question of whether it is more ethical to kill the enemy or capture and imprison them. (In some cases, especially with U.S. citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki, there may be the issue of legality as well.)1 This kill-or-capture debate is a long-standing one in the ethics of war, but recent prison breaks in Pakistan, Iraq, and Libya have added a layer of complexity to the discussion

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The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle

Even to serious fans of W W II history, devoting an entire book to the operations of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in wartime Albania might seem to be a generous enterprise, but the story told by historian Roderick Bailey in The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle is intriguing. Both strategically and politically, the British SOE engagement in Albania was a complete failure.

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The Deceptive American

Any epic novel's lore can be enhanced by a mysterious urban legend. The meteoric success of The Ugly American, published in 1958, created high expectations among readers for authors William J. Lederer's and Eugene Burdick's second collaboration. They published Sarkhan in 1965, and received initial high praise from early reviews. The Literary Guild and the Reader's Digest Condensed Book Club made it an immediate selection for their readers. Bookstores around the nation stocked tens of thousands of copies on publication day...

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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