In the fourteen years of the Global War on Terrorism, the United States has not been able to form a decisive strategy to eliminate Islamic extremism. Great progress has been made in our ability to defend the nation from attack, but the threat remains. In order to address this gap and eradicate the enemy entirely, the United States must confront the mobilizational ideology of Islamic extremism. Only then will we see consummate victory replace the never-ending string of temporary tactical successes.
IWP professor Sebastian Gorka has been the most vocal cutting-edge strategist addressing this issue. While the bureaucratic inertia of Washington D.C. focuses on the physical destruction of enemy materiel and personnel, Dr. Gorka contends that the true center-of-gravity of Islamic extremism lies not in its physical means, but in the threat doctrine of Global Jihadism.
In 2012, Dr. Gorka stated before the House Armed Services Committee, “Although we have proven our capacity... to kinetically engage our enemy at the operational and tactical level with unsurpassed effectiveness, we have not even begun to take the war to al Qaeda at the strategic-level of counter-ideology... Just as in the Cold War, the United States must take active measures to arrive at a position where it shapes the agenda and the story of the conflict, where we force our enemy onto the back foot to such an extent that Jihadism eventually loses all credibility and implodes as an ideology.”
Dr. Gorka is not only a proponent of a strategic response within the ideological battlespace, but he also understands the operational means that would be employed to great effect against our adversaries. He submits that in order to be truly effective in our resistance to the spread of this ideology, we must come to understand the Islam claimed by extremists as they understand it themselves. He testified: “All those who have brought death to our shores as al Qaeda operatives have done so not out of purely political conviction but clearly as a result of the fact that they feel transcendentally justified, that they see their violent deeds as sanctioned by God. If we wish to combat the ideology that drives these murderers, we ignore the role of religion at our peril.”
His tireless advocacy for the targeting of the ideological center of groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS and the understanding of the Islamist narrative in minute detail is bearing fruit. In just the last month, Dr. Gorka has been asked to brief the FBI’s Washington Field Office, CENTCOM, the director of the DIA, USSOCOM, DARPA, and lastly, GEN Joseph Dunford Jr, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
As the Global War on Terrorism continues to change, as ISIS makes headway in ways that Al Qaeda never did, perhaps we will see more of Dr. Gorka’s strategy applied to real world scenarios. Perhaps the United States will begin to remedy our strategic misconceptions and begin the counter ideological attack. For details on how The United States can win a war against totalitarian ideology see Dr. Gorka and Dr. Lenczowki’s chapters in Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism, a book that the redoubtable Ayaan Hirsi Ali told the New York Times is the one book on this fight that must be read by the President.
Photo Caption: Dr. Sebastian Gorka briefing military personnel at the SOCOM Wargame Center.
Dr. Gorka is a graduate of the University of London, and Corvinus University, Budapest. He was Kokkalis Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and holds a Ph.D. in political science. In the UK he served with 22 Company of the Intelligence and Security Group (V) of the British Territorial Army reserve. Today, he hold the Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University and advises and briefs officials at the highest levels of the US Special Operations community, as well as the National Intelligence Council, the FBI, the National Counter Terrorism Center, and CIA. He is a regular instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg and is a founding member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs. You can access his work directly at www.TheGorkaBriefing.com.