Dr. Henriksen’s selection of Northern Ireland provides a rich case study of a hotly contested space that represents an ethnic and religious conflict set in Western Europe. He provides an excellent, short, historical background to frame his analysis. Understanding the historical antecedents of an insurgency is a critical element in any case study because insurgencies are local, not global events. International issues may influence what occurs in an insurgency, but locals rise up in rebellion for their personal grievances or desires.
Prakash Singh’s monograph on the threat that insurgencies in northeast India present to the national government provides an excellent insight into a significant security challenge to the Indian state. The troubles in the eight northeastern states highlighted in Mr. Singh’s work are frequently overlooked in the West when people look at India’s security concerns, which often focus on other more widely known security challenges, both internal and external.
The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) 2009 Research Topics list, produced by the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), is intended to guide research projects for Professional Military Education (PME) students, our faculty, research fellows, and others writing about special operations during this academic year. Research is one of the cornerstones of JSOU’s academic mission as we strive to produce publications to meet joint Special Operations Forces (SOF) operational and planning needs.
Major Anderson provides an excellent overview of terrorist financing and expands upon how it fits into the broader construct of threat financing. He articulates the significant challenges any government faces in trying to interrupt the terrorist networks use of the global financial system. The sheer immensity of this system provides ample opportunity for terrorists to operate undetected or unhindered. He also highlights that the very international nature of the global economic system presents enormous challenges in trying to coordinate amongst the almost 200 sovereign states that comprise the current world order.
Jessica Turnley wades into the discussion with a short monograph on the concept of organizational identity or organizational culture and the difficulty of developing and, more importantly, retaining these in the face of changing organizational structures and institutional growth. Her discussion cuts to the heart of what it means to be SOF vice what it means to be a member of USSOCOM. In the current organization, they are not synonymous. A significant percentage of the command is made up of non-SOF members assigned from the various services. As the command grows, these "SOF enablers" will remain a critical element within the command and the SOF community at large.
Dr. Thomas H. Henriksen in this publication provides a perspective on the challenging question, "Is Leaving the Middle East a Viable Option?" He lays out a convincing argument that historical involvement within the region based on commercial ties, the need to secure stable international oil supplies (for the U.S. as well as its allies), and engagement in the internecine Israeli-Arab conflict all remain critical security issues for the United States. He captures in a few pages volumes of information on the Middle East as he crafts and weaves the history of United States' involvement from 1783 to the present, highlighting the key policy-making decisions concerning the Middle East. The historical review provides the novice reader new understanding of the Middle East and the knowledgeable reader an excellent overview.