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Homeland Security

28 October 2005

Military Attachés from 60 Nations Discuss Counterterrorism

Partnerships, communications strategies needed for success

Washington –- Further progress in the Global War on Terror will require nations to develop strategies to better inform their publics and to garner public support for anti-terror programs, says Lieutenant General Dell Dailey, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Dailey spoke to military officers and attachés from 60 nations who met in Florida in October to discuss regional and national counterterrorism efforts.

Terrorism is “a global problem that recognizes no borders … violates the sovereignty of all … nations and … must be combated individually and collectively,” Dailey said.  He said the next level on the global War on Terror will require nations to develop individualized strategies with which to communicate to their publics about the problem, as well as find ways to enlist public support for anti-terrorism programs.  [Note: The United States has done this through its Rewards for Justice program. (See related article.)].

SOCOM and the U.S. Strategic Command hosted 80 participants for the two-day multinational workshop held at MacDill Air Force Base October 18-20.  They heard SOCOM’s Colonel John Davis point out that global partnerships make it possible “to plan, execute and sustain effective counterterrorist networks.”  Successful counterterrorist initiatives, he said, depend “on the total integration of all our partner nations’ capabilities.”  Such partnership, he added, is critical for the success of the global war against terrorism.

Workshop attendees from every region of the world participated in sessions to discuss how to influence individuals who may be considering committing acts of terrorism, as well as how to share information about various counterterrorist initiatives and programs offering rewards for information.  Dailey said the goal was to spark a frank dialogue.

Lieutenant Commander Steve Mavica, SOCOM’s media relations officer, deemed the workshop a success because participants gained a better understanding of effective U.S. anti-terror strategies.  Discussions of cultural differences and their effect on perceptions also led to suggestions on ways the United States can improve its own performance, he said.

Participants heard SOCOM officials outline a Global Rewards Information Program, also known as GRIP.  Mavica said some participants suggested that the program be renamed because the concept of a “reward” for information leading to the apprehension of terrorist can have a negative connotation in some cultures.

An individual who provides such information might be compensated in different parts of the world, for example, by money, land, a job or relocation.  Individual programs thus could be tailored according to whatever works best in that nation or region.  In some cultures, for example, providing tips about terrorists is considered a civic duty and the idea of offering a reward is thought to be offensive.

Workshop participants also listened to presentations about the global Jihad movement.  SOCOM’s public diplomacy adviser, Stanley Schrager, told the St. Petersburg Times that the ideological attraction that terrorism has for some recruits cannot be addressed militarily.  “It’s a war of ideology and it’s a war for the hearts and minds of people,” he told reporter Alexandra Zayas.  (See related article.)

One Singaporean said the United States has to make a bigger investment in the Muslim world.  Rohan Gunaratna, director of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said that statistical analysis shows that less than 1 percent of the Muslim population supports terrorism.  Gunaratna said he believes defeating terrorist groups and their supporters requires the complete support from the entire Muslim population.

Information about the U.S. Rewards for Justice program is available on the program Web site.

 

For more information about U.S. policy on terrorism, see Response to Terrorism.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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