JOHNSON CITY (Posted Nov. 20, 2012) – An East Tennessee State University faculty member has been awarded his second United States government contract to author a monograph that may help in the war on terrorism.
Countering Violent Extremism: The War of Facts and the Debunking of Al-Qaeda Terrorist Propaganda is the proposed title of the work by Dr. Paul Kamolnick, a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Kamolnick was awarded this contract by the U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, External Research Associates Program (ERAP), which solicits expertise outside the war colleges and government to assist high-level U.S. government policy-makers in conceptualizing, formulating and executing national security strategy. His proposal was ranked in the top tier among those submitted. The projected date of publication is March 2014.
“It is designed to assist those charged with formulating U.S. counterterrorism strategy targeting susceptible populations,” Kamolnick said.
“Countering radicalization and recruitment to Al-Qaeda based and inspired terrorism is a key strategic objective of declared U.S. counterterrorism policy,” Kamolnick writes in his abstract. “Differing methods of achieving this have been proposed, most prominently, a ‘war of ideas’ paradigm advocating the construction of an effective counter-narrative. This approach assumes that by our crafting and disseminating a more persuasive story, Al-Qaeda can be delegitimized and potential terrorist recruitment dissuaded.
“In contrast, I advocate an empirical ‘war of facts,’” he continues. “It is not by constructing better stories, but by deftly wielding objective facts-in-context, that an even more devastating case against Al-Qaeda can be wrought.”
Kamolnick asserts that “factually de-bunking Al-Qaeda’s tactical propaganda and soberly reassessing those U.S. policies that potentially enhance anti-American message resonance” could help thwart the organization’s terrorist recruitment efforts.
Countering Violent Extremism will include specific policy and strategy recommendations for U.S. government agencies responsible for military information support operations, strategic communication, public diplomacy and public affairs.
Kamolnick’s first monograph on the subject, entitled Delegitimizing Al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach, has garnered the praise of government officials since its publication earlier this year. One wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’ve put it on my team’s ‘must read’ list. I understand that only a great lawyer can take his opponent’s best evidence and make it his own. You’ve given me several ideas. We’ll do our best to put them into practice.”
Kamolnick holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University. Among his many research interests is the sociology of global terrorism, and he has taught various courses on the topic.