Marshall Center Participants Study Counter Terrorists Narratives
By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (July 25, 2016) – Counter terrorists narratives was the topic taught July 25 during the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS) at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.
U.S. Army Col. Kenneth Cole, PTSS deputy course director, recited the definition of a counter narrative from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s “The Counter-Native Handbook,” published in 2016:
A counter-narrative is “a message that offers a positive alternative to extremist propaganda, or alternatively aims to deconstruct or delegitimize extremist narratives."
He presented the best practices from 73 PTSS alumni, who attended the Global Counter Terrorism (GCT) workshop held here in May. These best practices included understanding how terrorists use narratives as weapons, targeting counter-narratives to the right audience, simplifying the counter-narrative messaging, partnering with non-governmental agencies, and creating dynamic and flexible counter-narratives and to respond to as quickly as possible.
He then discussed counter-narrative target areas, complementary components of modern terrorism, multi-faceted role of modern media, types of non-government partners and where to employ resources.
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Anna Gulbis, a PTSS alumna, talked about the U.S. State’s Department “Peer to Peer Challenging Extremism” Campaign.
Beginning her presentation, Gulbis said, “ISIS excels at recruiting American teens.”
She said the problem was “how do we prevent at-risk youth from joining the Islamic State?”
The campaign’s goals are to reach Muslim audience to legitimize campaign for fence-sitters, encourage positive expression as an alternative to violent extremism, and create a sense of community that tailors to personal needs, allow at-risk youth a place to learn, explore, and discuss relevant topics.
After both presentations, the 76 participants from 47 countries were tasked with producing a counter-narrative for media in their seminars.
As a four-week resident program, PTSS supports the Marshall Center's increasing emphasis on transnational threats and challenges. It aims to combat terrorism in all of its manifestations: nationally, regionally and globally, and is designed to highlight four objectives: Understand the Threat; Build Capacity; Build Network; and, Enable Transnational Cooperation. The curriculum consists of lectures, seminars, Munich Field Study Trip and case studies.
The Global CT Alumni COI workshops are designed to support and engage more than 1,400 alumni from the Marshall Center’s premier Program on Terrorism and Security Studies, as well as CT-focused alumni from other DOD Regional Centers. The next PTSS COI workshops are scheduled for Jan. 10 to 12, and May 2017.