Four Pillars of a Unified Asymmetric Threat Strategy
1. A Strategic Communications Strategy
America's strategic communications programs are a significant national weakness. The U.S. government must revitalize,
reinstitute, and aggressively implement an enhanced, worldwide strategic communications program addressing both near- and
long-term needs. Of particular note, Islamist extremists have clearly understood and exploited the value of strategic
communications in propagating their ideology and intimidating their adversaries. The U.S. and others have not yet found
effective means to cope with or counter this threat. To do so requires a Strategic Communications Plan that
- Leverages communications both defensively and offensively by telling America's story internally and externally
- Effectively counters propaganda such as misinformation, distortions, prejudices and untruths
- Promotes the U.S. as the inspirational world leader in advancing freedom, the rights of the individual and forms of government that embrace equality
and the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
- Leverages current and future communication technologies to convey these messages on a consistent, frequent and worldwide basis
- Responds to global, national, state and local needs and goals because one tactical action or missed action can destroy the entire communication plan
2. A Defense and Homeland Security Strategy
Asymmetric threats are not solely military and require the integrated engagement of all elements of international and
national power to be effective. It is, therefore, imperative for national homeland security planners, military strategists,
doctrinal experts, policy analysts and scholars to coalesce around a set of common terms, strategies and operational methods
to successfully combat these threats. A defense and homeland security strategy must
- Respond to adversaries with a common voice and approach. The U.S. government seems to have missed recent
opportunities to engage the Iranian government, on such issues as the development of weapons of mass destruction. A
response from the U.S. President or senior representative might have spoken directly to the Iranian people and candidly
set out both American expectations of the Iranian government and what America could offer in return.
- Create a credible and widely accepted counter-narrative to enemies, which must come from within the Muslim
community, e.g., through clerics and women's movements. The counter-narrative must be consistent with Muslim culture and traditions to be effective.
- Help governments of failed or failing states to rebuild. The U.S. and other groups must increasingly focus on
helping failing states establish governments that can provide effective political, economic, social and security
institutions that are grounded in internationally accepted rules of law. Also, when engaged in military conflicts,
stabilization operations need to be planned and conducted simultaneously with any concurrent combat operations.
3. An Economic Strategy
A sound economic strategy contributes to national security. The next administration will have to address the de facto
economic crisis, while planning to meet long-term economic goals. This will include identifying what should have the highest
priority in government spending – defense, homeland security, health, education, intelligence, diplomacy and aid for natural
disasters, for example. To address these questions the U.S. should
- Establish a national economic strategy to lead to long-term economic stability and growth, and world economic
leadership. The nation also needs to ensure sufficient resources to permit the government to fight world terror and help build a stable world.
- Develop a long-range budget to create appropriate economic and financial programs for national security. It was
suggested that the U.S. should develop a ten-year budget to help drive economic strategy into the future. A comprehensive
national economic strategy that considers the economic impact of asymmetric threats would be more successful if it
encompassed a period more on the scale of these long-term problems.
- Redirect American agricultural know-how to the production of food supplies throughout the world to help ensure
adequate levels of food and nutrition for people at home and abroad. Food shortages are an increasing concern,
particularly in developing countries where population growth is outpacing economic growth and agricultural output.
- Develop a comprehensive strategy for energy independence. While a degree of energy interdependence is given,
perhaps even desirable, the increasing American dependence on foreign energy resources is threatening America's economic
and national security interests. The nation's strategy must be one of increasing available clean energy resources through
research and development, innovation, conservation and efficient wind, solar and biofuels development. Such a strategy may
be the single most important thing the U.S. can do to redress strategic, environmental and economic problems.
A new economic security strategy will require trade-offs and changes in priorities. Therefore, governmental policies must
evaluate carefully the issues of free and open market competition, protection and promotion of domestic commercial interests
and enhancement of global market economies that will aid emerging national economies.
4. A Diplomatic Strategy
National, regional, cultural and religious influences require a different global and regional diplomatic model. Various
governmental agencies "carve" the world differently and one department or agency's regions do not necessarily overlap with
those of another. This degrades the quality of coordination, integration and synchronization of missions and programs.
Consequently, there needs be a national alignment of regional responsibilities among U.S. governmental departments/agencies to
fully develop a new and relevant diplomatic strategy.