Thousands of miles away from conflict zones, it is easier to discuss the natural ebb and flow of insurgents and their respective movements. Although there is a natural inclination to focus on wins and losses, and frame efforts as success or failures, those with experience in the field can offer potent insights on the complexity of circumstances on the ground. By blending the benefits of theory and practice, and facilitating discourse between policymakers, scholars, and practitioners, the security community can better respond to terrorists and violent extremist groups.
To help foster this environment, the Program on Extremism at George Washington University hosted an event titled "Ground Perspectives on the Wars Against the Islamic State: A Look at the Past, Present, and Future" on Monday, March 25, 2019. This event featured a panel discussion moderated by Program on Extremism Senior Research Fellow Audrey Alexander, with commentary from three experts in the field:
Brett Reichert (Joint Chiefs of Staff/Office of the Secretary of Defense). Mr. Reichert shared perspectives on more recent efforts in Iraq and Syria and highlighted how these measures shape dynamics on the ground.
Dr. Craig Whiteside (Naval War College). Dr. Whiteside highlighted the role of Islamic State leadership and discussed the organization's use of intelligence and special operations.
Dr. Haroro J. Ingram (Program on Extremism). Dr.Ingram reflected on ground efforts to stop the resurgence of the Islamic State in the Philippines, particularly Mindanao.