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Use of strategic communication calls for united response.

Terrorists Exploit Information Technologies

July 2010, Number 01.03

“On May 3, 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American, was arrested and accused of planting a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square. This failed attack showed once more al-Qaida’s ability to recruit self-radicalized adherents. This self-radicalization is partially due to the effective use of strategic communication. For al-Qaida, strategic communication is a vital part of its asymmetrical warfighting campaign. Offsetting this threat requires knowledge of what motivates, feeds and sanctions radical Islamist terrorists and their followers. Research and analysis of the root causes and underlying conditions, motivators and enablers of terrorism — including the propaganda strategies of Islamist terrorists — are vital to shaping appropriate countermeasures to the threat. The mass media, especially the Internet, have become the key enablers and the main strategic communication assets for terrorists and have ensured them a favorable communication asymmetry. With these assets, terrorists are able to compensate for a significant part of their unfavorable asymmetry in military power. Al-Qaida networked terrorists place a great deal of emphasis on developing comprehensive communication strategies to reach their goals and desired ends...”

Excerpt from Carsten Bockstette, “Terrorists Exploit Information Technologies,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 3, 2010: 10-19.

Lt. Col. Carsten Bockstette is the operations and German liaison officer in the Strategy, Plans and Analysis Group at the Marshall Center. Responsible for strategic communications, he also is a member of the center’s Combating Terrorism Working Group and the per Concordiam magazine editorial board. An author and editor, he has published works on media, communication, security and defense policy, including “Strategic Information and Communication Management,” “Jihadist Terrorist Use of Strategic Communication Management Techniques” and “Taliban and Jihadist Terrorist Use of Strategic Communication.” He holds a doctorate in political science from the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.