Friday, September 6, 2013


I recommend reading this report and although the authors never use the phrase, we should think of this Iran Action Network from the perspective of  Unconventional Warfare. 

I also wonder if many of the anti-SOF antibodies that have built up over the concept of the Global SOF Network are from a kind of mirror imaging on these hostile networks that exist.  There may be fear in the now well worn adage "it takes a network to defeat a network" that has resulted in pushback for the Global SOF Network because of the (very incorrect) perception that US SOF might operate in the same manner as the Iran Action Network.

But we should recall that the current US doctrinal definition of UW was meant to also describe non-US conduct of UW and I think this report illustrates the fact that the Iranians are conducting a form of UW.

But rather than a GSN and "a network to defeat a network" what I think should be added to the policy recommendations that begin on page 23 is that we must be able to develop and execute a comprehensive and holistic counter-Unconventional Warfare Strategy.  There are many pieces and parts of one in the recommendations but we really need to recognize that the Iranians are conducting UW and pose a UW threat to the US and our friends, partners, and allies.  Therefore we must devise a counter-UW strategy with supporting campaign plans that will  protect our interests.  As the policy recommendations illustrate countering an enemy UW threat requires much more than SOF or the military (just as conducting UW does).

You can download the 5.5MB 40 page report at this link:



Authors: Scott Modell, Dr. David Asher
Type of Publication: Report
Date: 09/05/2013

In focusing on the challenges posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, U.S. policymakers have overlooked the threat posed by Tehran’s global revolutionary network argue Scott Modell and David Asher in Pushback: Countering the Iran Action Network.  Scott Modell, a Non-Resident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Dr. David Asher, an Adjunct Senior Fellow at CNAS, report that for more than 30 years, Iran has utilized a network of government and non-government organizations to promote the Islamic revolution abroad. They call upon Washington to “conduct an active pushback campaign to combat Iran’s regional and global influence” that includes improving government coordination and information sharing and creating an illicit finance czar at the Treasury Department. 

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