SMA Reachback: Highlights From Round 1, 2, 3 Questions

March 2017 No Comments

SMA Reachback: Highlights From CENTCOM Round 1, 2 and 3 Questions.

Author | Editor: Astorino-Courtois, A. (NSI, Inc).

Overview

ISIS will be defeated militarily. However, whether it is ultimately overcome by containment or by deploying ground forces to apply overwhelming force, the path to mitigating violent extremism in the region is a generations-long one. Military options alone are insufficient to protect US interests and stabilize the region. It will require significant strengthening of State Department and non-DoD capacity to help build inclusive political institutions and processes in Syria and Iraq. Only if these flourish will ISIS — the organization and the idea it represents — have failed and the region been put on a sustainable path to stability

Contents
  • Charter
  • The Meaning of ISIS Defeat & Shaping Stability: Highlights from CENTCOM Round 1, 2 and 3 Reach-back Reports.
  • Individual theme Executive Summaries 17 Messaging Executive Summaries.
  • What are the predominant and secondary means by which both large (macro-globally outside the CJOA, such as European, North African and Arabian Peninsula) and more targeted (micro- such as ISIL-held Iraq) audiences receive ISIL propaganda? Executive Summary.
  • What are USCENTCOM and the global counter-ISIL coalition missing from countermessaging efforts in the information domain? Executive Summary.
  • What must the coalition do in the information environment to achieve its objectives in Iraq and Syria and how can it deny adversaries the ability to achieve theirs? Executive Summary Part 1.
  • What must the coalition do in the information environment to achieve its objectives in Iraq and Syria and how can it deny adversaries the ability to achieve theirs? Executive Summary Part 2.
  • The response to QL5 noted that ISIL is moving to ZeroNet platform for peer-to-peer messaging, which is extremely robust to distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack/other counter measures What effect could this have on Intel efforts? Executive Summary.
  • The wide-spread, public access to smartphones has been a game-changer for the distribution and production of propaganda Is there more data available about the types of apps (eg, WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Viber) used on smartphones to distribute propaganda, and the methods through which this is accomplished? Executive Summary.
  • The Fight Against ISIS Executive Summaries.
  • What are the strategic and operational implications of the Turkish Army’s recent intervention in northern Syria for the coalition campaign plan to defeat ISIL? What is the impact of this intervention on the viability of coalition vetted indigenous ground forces, Syrian Defense Forces and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly ANF)? Executive Summary.
  • What is the strategic framework for undermining ISIL’s “Virtual Caliphate?” Executive Summary.
  • What long-term actions and processes should US government (USG) institutions, the Coalition and the international community examine to position ourselves against a long term ISIL threat? How can the private sector be effectively engaged by government institutions to optimize the effects needed for success? Executive Summary.
  • What are the strategic and operational implications of the Iran nuclear deal on the US-led coalition’s ability to prosecute the war against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and to create the conditions for political, humanitarian and security sector stability? Executive Summary.
  • Have sentiments changed since the December 2014 polling? Have recent IO efforts in Mosul influenced these sentiments? What other means can we use to influence? Executive Summary.
  • What are potential unanticipated complications or reactions (or “black swans”) with respect to defeating ISIL in al-Raqqah? Executive Summary.
  • How does Da’esh’s transition to insurgency manifest itself, and what actions should the Coalition take to minimize their ability to maintain either military effectiveness or popular support? Executive Summary.
  • Mosul Coalition Fragmentation: Causes and Effects.
  • Encouraging Regional Stability Executive Summaries.
  • What are the factors that could potentially cause behavior changes in Pakistan and how can the US and coalition countries influence those factors? Executive Summary.
  • What are the most likely post-lSIL Iraq scenarios with regards to Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, Infrastructure, Physical Environment, and Time (PMESII-PT)? Where are the main PMESII-PT friction points, which are most acute, and how are they best exploited to accomplish a stable end state favorable to US and coalition interests? Executive Summary.
  • What opportunities are there for USCENTCOM to shape a post-ISIL Iraq and regional security environment promoting greater stability? Executive Summary.
  • What are the factors that will influence the future of Syria and how can we best affect them? Executive Summary.
  • What are the strategic and operational implications of the Iran nuclear deal on the US-led coalition’s ability to prosecute the war against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and to create the conditions for political, humanitarian and security sector stability? Executive Summary.
  • What will be Iran’s strategic calculus regarding Iraq and the region post-ISIL? How will JCPOA impact the calculus? What opportunities exist for the US/Coalition to shape the environment favorable to our interests? Executive Summary.
  • What significance will small military groups, particularly in Northern Syria, have in a post- ISIL Levant? How should CENTCOM best shape or influence these groups? Executive Summary.
  • How does the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict influence, affect, and relate to current conflicts in the region? Executive Summary.
  • What are the key factors or elements within the Government of Iraq that influence overall stability in Syria and Iraq? What are the tipping points for each? Executive Summary.
  • Regional Actor Interests and Motivations Executive Summaries.
  • What are the strategic objectives and motivations of indigenous state and non-state partners in the counter-ISIL fight? Executive Summary.
  • In light of their divergent goals and interests, what are the necessary factors that would permit the US-led Coalition, regional stakeholders (including Israel, Russia, and Iran), or jihadist groups to achieve their aims in Iraq? Where do disparate groups’ interests align and where do they diverge? What can the US coalition do to deny adversaries the ability to achieve their goals? Executive Summary.
  • What are near and long term Turkish interests and intentions in Syria and Iraq? What are Turkish interests and intentions with respect to al-Bab? Executive Summary.
  • What internal factors would influence Iran’s decision to interfere with the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz or the Bab el Mandeb? Executive Summary.
  • What major economic, political and security (military) activities does KSA and Iran currently conduct in Bahrain, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen to gain influence? What are KSA and Iran’s ultimate goals behind these activities? What motivates KSA and Iran towards these goals? What future activities might KSA and Iran conduct in Bahrain, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen? Executive Summary.
  • What are the indicators of changes in Russian strategic interests in Syria? Executive Summary.
  • What are the aims and objectives of the Shia Militia Groups following the effective military defeat of Da’esh? Executive Summary.
  • What are the critical elements of a continued Coalition presence, following the effective military defeat of Da’esh [in Iraq] that Iran may view as beneficial? Executive Summary.
  • Sources of Extremism Executive Summaries.
  • What are the key factors that would impact the wave of violent extremism and ideological radicalism that affect the Sunni community? Executive Summary.
  • What are the correlations between the US/coalition operational and tactical actions in theater effecting terrorist activity throughout the world (ie, external events) For example, does the loss of ISIL controlled territory or kill/capture of an ISIL high value target lead to an increase/decrease in terrorist attacks in other areas of the world? Can location, intensity, duration or timing of attacks be predicted from a model? Executive Summary.
  • ISIL Support and Recruitment Executive Summaries.
  • What does primary source opinion research tell us about population support for ISIL in ISIL- held Iraq and globally outside the Combined Joint Operation Area (CJOA) (Syria and Iraq)? Executive Summary.
  • To what extent do populations maintain positive views of ISIL or ISIL’s ideology, particularly in European, N African, and Arabian Peninsula countries most associated with foreign fighter flows into Syria and Iraq? Executive Summary.
  • What actions and polices can regional and coalition nations employ to reduce recruitment of ISIL inspired fighters? Executive Summary.
  • USG Bureaucratic Requirements Executive Summaries.
  • Given the generational nature of the threats we face, what changes in organization, legislation, authorities, resources, infrastructure, education, and other areas should the USG make to become as agile, resilient, survivable, sustainable, technologically and intellectually dominant as required to protect our constitutional system and prevail in any conflict from the present until 2050? Executive Summary.
  • Post ISIL Governance Executive Summaries.
  • Are Government of Iraq initiatives for political reconciliation between the sectarian divide moving in step with military progress against Da’esh, and what conditions need to be met in order to accommodate the needs of the Sunni population? Executive Summary.
  • Following the clearance of Da’esh from both Mosul and Raqqah, and beyond that any remaining substantive elements in the Euphrates River Valley, what governing structure is most likely to be effective, and acceptable to the predominant tribes? Executive Summary.
  • How will the population in northwest Syria react to future Salafist political institutions? Executive Summary.
  • Coalition Views Executive Summary.
  • How does the US/Coalition view Shia extremism? Different from Sunni extremism? How do Sunni communities, Shia communities, MENA countries, and media perceive the US/Coalition position on combatting extremists? Executive Summary.

 

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