General Richard D. Clarke is currently the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Prior to assuming command of USSOCOM, General Clarke served as Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J5), Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. General Clarke’s other assignments as a general officer include: the Deputy Commanding General for Operations, 10th Mountain Division from 2011 to 2013; the 74th Commandant of Cadets, United States Military Academy at West Point from 2013 to 2014; and the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division from 2014 to 2016. He was Director of Operations, Joint Special Operations Command from 2009 to 2011. General Clarke has led Soldiers at all levels in Airborne, Ranger, Mechanized and Light Infantry units in five different divisions, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 75th Ranger Regiment in the United States, Europe, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His deployments include Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Guardian in Macedonia, three deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, four deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one deployment as the Commander of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command—Operation Inherent Resolve. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and was commissioned into the Infantry in 1984.

Editor’s Note: Nicholas S. Tallant is an alum of the Downing Scholars program at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point who serves on the Commander’s Action Group at U.S. Special Operations Command.

CTC: Prior to assuming command of U.S. Special Operations Command, you served as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff. How did that experience influence your approach to your current role, and did it impact how you view the role of SOF, CT, or other mission sets?

Clarke: It’s interesting because no other SOCOM Commander has followed this path—coming from the Joint Staff, in particular as the J5, to come into SOCOM. Reflecting back on it, it’s probably one of the best jobs you could have coming into this position, from the standpoint of understanding the larger strategic picture. You go to National Security Council meetings at deputy and principal level. You interact frequently with the Chairman, the Secretary of Defense, and all the associated folks from the Pentagon.

I’d never served in the Pentagon before and certainly at that level. It was highly instructive to start to see how strategy coming from the National Security Council has worked, and to understand the importance of the documents like the Unified Command Plan, National Security Strategy [NSS], National Defense Strategy [NDS], National Military Strategy, and being responsible on the Joint Staff to help the Chairman craft the National Military Strategy. The NSS and the NDS are the “What.” The National Military Strategy and associated documents are the “How”—how do you execute this.

Serving there really helped me understand the role of the Department, how the geographic, and I’ll just say it purposely, the global Combatant Commanders, how they interact with the Chairman, how the various coordinating authority roles operate in that process, and then where they all intersect. It was a really great learning opportunity from that perspective.

When you consider specifically the counterterrorism mission and the counter-violent extremist [mission]—for which SOCOM has a coordinating authority role—what I was able to observe is how that actually materialized and operationalized itself inside the building and how that was perceived. How does the SOCOM team present to get the optimal strategy, and how do the other Geographic Combatant Commanders and some of the other Combatant Commanders all contribute to that counterterrorism fight while also considering all of the interagency aspects to a global CT strategy.

CTC: You mentioned interagency. We know that the military is only one portion of the broader CT community. It brings in law enforcement, intelligence, diplomacy, and other functions. How have you seen interagency coordination improve or change over the last two decades, and do you have any suggestions on how we could continue to get better?

Clarke: Your question is really important. As I reflect back, the key finding from the 9/11 Commission Report is the lack of interagency coordination that existed prior to 9/11. I think the 9/11 Commission Report really called for some fundamental changes in the interagency, particularly as it applied to counterterrorism—with elements like NCTC [National Counterterrorism Center], with how the National Security Council was going to deal with this, and how this all came together.

My personal belief is [that] in the counterterrorism realm, we’re significantly better than we were prior to 9/11. We had a failure, and from that failure, we’ve actually improved. I would argue that the counterterrorism enterprise writ large is better in interagency coordination than any other particular problem that exists today. The counterterrorism team comes together better than anyone and includes all elements of the IA [interagency], but it’s really heavily invested in the IC [intelligence community]. I think that’s an important part to this.

As I look at it from SOCOM’s perspective, there is tremendous value in the amount of liaison officers that we have within the interagency—at almost every single agency. And the amount of interagency partners that exist here at SOCOM headquarters are vitally important. But also at echelon [i.e., each level], down even to Joint Special Operations Command, down to our Theater Special Operations Commands—some of the components that link this together are really important. [For example], I recently visited the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City. There with the FBI and the police, right inside that task force is a SOCOM LNO [liaison officer] because of the terrorism nexus and how important New York is in helping identify the terrorism threat. We have made tremendous strides working with the interagency.

Lastly, I want to tie this to the international aspect. Right here at SOCOM headquarters, almost 30 different countries are represented because many of our allies also understand the terrorism threat to their countries. And we’ve seen that particularly in Europe, but also in some places in Asia, where that terrorism threat is coming home to roost. So, the tie-in with our allies and our partners is crucial to have a shared understanding and awareness of the threat. We help tie in to help them with our government agencies.

CTC: That’s good insight. How do you see both of those—the interagency and/or international coordination—over the next 10 years. What does the future look like?

Clarke: I think [the efforts will] continue into the future because I don’t think the terrorism threat to us or our allies is gone. We decimated al-Qa`ida and ISIS. And ISIS [was] like an army that held ground in northern Syria and into Iraq. But after they were defeated, they metastasized, and that threat moved into places like North and West Africa. That honestly is a threat to Europe and our great European allies. So I think we continue to work with them, ensure that we understand the threats to their countries, and help them with those threats. We need to know what unique capabilities they need and [provide] support. There will be times when we will need unique capabilities that they have.

I believe that in the future, having a global coalition to be able to work against ISIS is absolutely crucial. We don’t need to be the leader in [every] effort. There are times when it’s best for others to lead when they’re capable. And that’s both with allies, but sometimes, that’s with partners on the ground. We found that building that partner capacity so that they can, in fact, defeat the terrorists within their own countries, which ultimately is the optimal solution.

General Richard D. Clarke

CTC: In a recent interview in CTC Sentinel, former SOCOM Commander General (Retired) Joseph Votel stated, “Combating terrorism is a form of strategic competition. Being good at this, demonstrating our value to partners in this particular area, building relationships around this is really important.”1 What’s your view on this assessment? And how do you see Special Operations roles on CT and near-peer competition moving forward?

Clarke: Well, it would be hard to counter to something that General Votel said. But he’s right. Let me add a couple points. It is about being a partner of choice—because we share the same values. We have shared interests with these partners and allies to keep the world a safer place. Counterterrorism is one area it’s easy to agree on [and] where we can almost always find a shared interest.

General Votel and I have talked about this several times. In some cases, we have access, placement, and influence primarily for the counterterrorism fight that exists. By being there, you can counter some of the things that those adversaries or those competitors are trying to do inside that country that you wouldn’t know otherwise. In a place like Africa, where Russia and China are trying to gain access and are doing nefarious activities inside the continent and taking advantage of the African partners, by our presence there, we can actually counter some of that—just by being a partner of choice. And it doesn’t have to be what you’re against. It’s really what you’re for. I think that’s a critical part to this.

The point about strategic competition also applies to a place like the Philippines, where we have been helping the Filipinos with their counterterrorism threat. No one can understate how important the Philippine geography is in that region for us. We remain consistent with a by-with-and-through approach, with professionals that have cultural and language expertise, [and] that we’re always there at the behest of the host nation. We’re not there doing this on our own. But that host nation is welcoming to us because we have combat credible experience, because of our shared values and our shared interest, and the fact that we’re interoperable with their forces. That’s a key part to this.

CTC: If we could build on that question a little bit, you mentioned recently that terrorism represents an enduring national security concern. In a recent issue of CTC Sentinel, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell highlighted that terrorist groups are easy to degrade, but also easy to build, and if you take your eye off them, they rebound.2 What’s your take on that assessment? And then how does the United States balance its counterterrorism efforts with other pressing concerns such as state-level rivalry with China or Russia?

Clarke: How am I going to disagree with the [former] Acting Director of the CIA on this? I know Michael Morell fairly well. He’s a very smart guy. What’s changed in this effort, which I think is important, is the sustainability of it and the prioritization. There was a time when if anybody raised a flag and said, “Hey, I’m al-Qa`ida,” we’d send a team there. We really did spread out our efforts [and] didn’t [always] necessarily prioritize the threat to the homeland, and go after the high-priority threat that exists.

And that’s really where I think, as we look at the strategy that has changed, it’s really going after those aspects of the high-level threat that can come back to us to roost. That’s really where our focus of effort is. If an ally or partner can do it sustainably and try to keep it within the confines of a region or country, then we should let them continue to do that.

That’s where I use this word specifically—rebalancing between the counterterrorism and counter-VEO [efforts] and campaigning in other areas that we need to do. Where SOF adds value in this is we have access and can get in—with all the authorities that are inherent to do so. Because of our cultural expertise, because of our language, because of our small teams, we can get access to politically sensitive, hard-to-reach, denied areas. And doing that through persistent engagement is crucial. Terrorism isn’t going away. The threat to the homeland isn’t going away. We have to be persistent.

CTC: Building on another assessment by Michael Morell, I want to drill down on what you just said and make it specific to al-Qa`ida. In the September issue of CTC Sentinel, Morell said that in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, “the reconstruction of al-Qa`ida’s homeland attack capability will happen quickly, in less than a year, if the U.S does not collect the intelligence and take the military action to prevent it.”3 President Biden has emphasized the development of “counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability” to address potential future terror threats emerging from Afghanistan.a But Asfandyar Mir, a scholar from Stanford, noted in the same issue of CTC Sentinel that, “given the limited number of high-endurance drones, vast geographic scale of land-locked Afghanistan, and non-availability of a strong liaison providing intelligence from the ground, meaningful surveillance to detect threats is likely to be very constrained.”4 From a SOCOM point of view, how do you see the challenges in detecting and neutralizing future threats coming from Afghanistan to the homeland? Can we mitigate this? And is a resurgence of al-Qa`ida a foregone conclusion?

Clarke: It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be harder to understand what is actually taking place in Afghanistan from this point forward. However, our capabilities are better than they were 20 years ago. The interagency, and particularly the IC, understands those challenges and can mitigate it through continued intel collection.

The Afghans that came back and came out of Afghanistan still have contacts. We still have contacts that are on the ground in Afghanistan that we can’t discount. And we understand the importance of the human part to this and the human collection of intelligence. There are ways to mitigate this. We’ve got to continue to learn the lessons that we did learn as we develop really unique and impactful counterterrorism capabilities going forward. We can do that.

And the counterterrorism mission is beyond just the kinetic aspect. There’s an information operations aspect to this. It’s continued understanding—working with our partners in the region—about what is going on. The same thing which makes it hard for us counterterrorism-wise—that Afghanistan is a landlocked country far away from the United States—means it’s also hard for terrorists to get out. They did on 9/11 and they were successful in attacking our country, but they’re going to have a hard time doing it again. There’s a lot of things that have been put in place that prevent future 9/11s. Just as it’s going to be hard for us, it’s going to be hard for them. And we’ve got to continue to make it hard for them.

CTC: Over the last 20 years, the United States has developed significant capabilities to combat terrorism. There have been many lessons learned. In your view, where have we succeeded or been most effective, and where have we failed or been less effective? And what do you think our adversaries have learned about us, watching us fight this over the last two decades?

Clarke: I’ve already talked about some of the key things. Where we’ve improved: interagency integration, ally and partner integration, but then exquisite capability development. All types of intelligence processes, like the find, fix, finish, exploit, analyze, disseminate, or the F3EAD, that really became a big man-hunting capability with a lot of strikes.

Just using the [example of the] counter-ISIS [campaign] alone, [we] mobilized an international coalition, defeated large-scale territorial expansion, interdicted foreign fighters, and disrupted the financing, which was a key aspect to the effort.

Truthfully, one aspect that we should further explore is illuminating the information space and countering propaganda from VEOs. But we should also apply this to adversaries at the national or state level.

If I were being critical—and truthfully, we need to go back and look at ourselves—have we overemphasized the kinetic finish? I think at times we did not maintain a consistent strategy in some places. In some cases, we tried to train foreign militaries in our own image, or the way we want it done, versus the way they could do it sufficiently.

And in that kinetic piece, removing senior leaders alone is not going to be successful, right? I don’t know how many times we took out the [ISIS] number two in Mosul. I’d be on a year-long rotation in Iraq, and we take out the number two guy ten times. What good did that do?

We can’t kill our way out of some of these fights. When you make the estimate that their strength is 5,000, but you’ve killed 10,000 of them, something’s happened. I think that’s the perspective we have to go back and look at.

Part two of your question was, what have the adversaries learned? Don’t confront us straight on. They see what we do, they know we are capable, and they want to study us. I personally was in China with the Chairman in my previous job. The one thing that all the Chinese leadership wanted us to show them: how do you successfully conduct counterterrorism missions? How do you do this? So it’s not lost on me that they study us, they want to understand it, and they want to know how we do things.

CTC: You touched on leadership decapitation. I think something that would interest our readers is some insight into operations. In the last decade, Special Operations Forces undertook two high-profile operations targeting the most senior al-Qa`ida and Islamic State leaders almost 10 years apart—the first ending with the killing of al-Qa`ida leader Usama bin Ladin in 2011 and the second resulting in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2019. How, in your view, did these operations differ? And how do any differences speak to how terrorist groups have evolved and how capabilities have evolved?

Clarke: That one night, the night that the UBL [Usama bin Ladin] raid was done, I think we did 13 other raids that night in Afghanistan. We did 10 other raids in Iraq that night. That was one particular and obviously very high-profile raid. We were able to do those raids because of the previous decade of conducting raids that had honed the force for counterterrorism.

And it goes back to the answer I gave earlier. Those raids will not determine the long-term viability of the counterterrorism effort, and we should never put too much weight on them. But they’re the things that the legends are made of. We’ve got to be careful about those. We’ve got to be careful about how we as a military—we as a nation—put those up in the forefront. Because the important piece is the sustained effort, across the board, on security force assistance and helping with the irregular warfare campaigns is really what’s going to make a difference in the long run.

Those were needed, and those were great raids. But we need to look at the sum of all the parts if we really want to be successful. To go to your point on the difference between those two raids—and I think it’s really instructive—with the UBL raid in 2011, we had surprise. Obviously, we flew into Pakistan without telling the Pakistanis. And not until we were on our way out were we actually known to be in the country. There were no radars. There were no emitters. The mission went very closely to plan other than one helicopter that crashed inbound. But there were contingencies for that, and they were prepared.

For the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi raid almost a decade later, it was known that there were radars. [U.S. forces] were having to go through a very dense emitter environment given the electronic warfare systems. And it was a completely different approach. It should not be lost on any of us what things could have been impacted, with really a near-peer adversary that controlled some of the radar systems that were in northwest Syria at the time—which could have easily known and struck some of our aircraft enroute or coming back out of the raid. And so, fighting a terrorism fight, or any kind of crisis mission today, can be largely contested. And I believe that thinking through how we’re going to operate in what has been a largely uncontested or just semi-contested environment has changed. We have to think through how we’re going to do it, what systems we need, and how we’re going to approach things in contested areas.

CTC: In a CTC Sentinel piece about leveraging terrorism data published in October, Don Rassler highlighted5 something you wrote with Richard Shultz in your “Big Data at War”6 article which described Project Maven—a pathfinder effort to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to better process and understand full motion video and ISRb data in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa`ida—as not “an endgame,” but “a start point.” And in the same article, you and Shultz noted how “the intelligence warfighting function alone has many other data-rich nodes, such as digital media and other forms of captured enemy material, that are ripe for AI/ML application.” Can you unpack the potential you see, and offer any unclassified examples that speak to how SOCOM is trying to leverage data and AI in the current terror arena?

Clarke: We’re trying to leverage data and AI in all arenas in what we’re doing. There’s tremendous capability for the military writ large in this space. Professor Schultz is a good friend of mine, and he’s helped us a lot in seeing ourselves. In an environment where commanders on the ground are going to have to make split-second decisions in command and control [C2], and the ability to sort through all types of information that could exist on the battlefield to be able to make decisions. Whether it’s to shoot down an enemy drone, take out a potential enemy plane, or know where the threat vectors are coming through on cyber that is attacking a specific C2 node, and being able to see that and sense that, is crucial to our enterprise.

And it’s not just for SOCOM. It’s for the entire Joint Force. Ensuring that we are leveraging all the possibilities in AI, machine learning, algorithmic warfare, whatever you want to call it, is a priority in our modernization efforts.

We had Eric Schmidt from Google here over three years ago. He told General Thomas, my predecessor, “You guys suck. You guys are terrible.” He came back about a year and a half later, and we showed him what we were doing with Project Maven and object identification. He and Bob Work, the former [Deputy Secretary of Defense] came in, and they were astounded by how much progress we had made in this space.

We can’t rest on our laurels. We’ve got to continue to pull in the best of [the private sector], and truthfully leverage industry, and leverage smart young men and women. Another quick example: I do a monthly tech update in SOCOM for this very reason—to see, what are we doing now in AI, and where are we going?

We also bring in interns. We started [this] three summers ago. We bring in interns from top colleges across the country for the summer. One of those interns is an AI wizard, but she also speaks six or seven languages. After doing an internship, we hired her. Just brought her on. She just showed me an AI project that she has led the effort for in natural language processing which is world-class—taking what would have taken months [to process] into literally minutes and seconds with this.

You asked for some specific examples. In particular, think about all the captured enemy material that has come off the battlefield for 20 years. Think about all of the interrogation reports that have come off the battlefield, and cataloging those now, and being able to search through those—and all that in seconds to be able to see and sense what could happen.

So we don’t have to go relearn lessons again. That’s the type of thing we are using in the counterterrorism fight today. We’re leveraging experts in AI and data to be able to sort through, sift through, [and] find the key part that I need for a commander to make a decision about where to apply resources or where to potentially apply an effect on the battlefield.

CTC: That brings up an awesome leadership question about how to lead the younger generation. You took an intern who is now creating incredible product for the command. How do you see that evolving over your career? And is there a way that you can empower that?

Clarke: You just hit the key word. You’ve got to empower, and you’ve got to give an opportunity for those things to even be in existence. One way to do this is you have to train leaders. So, what did I do when I got to SOCOM and started seeing the role of data? I read. I personally read a ton of books. We had our first Command Data Officer. I said, “What should I be reading right now to make me smart about this?”

But then, I go out to technology firms personally and go out to academic institutions. About a year and a half ago, we decided to run a course for our mid- and senior-level leaders inside our enterprise to teach them about artificial intelligence [and] data. What do they need to know to empower our workforce? So that they can ask the right questions, so they’re not asking things that are impossible or should have been thought [of] about 10 layers down.

In conjunction with MIT, we ran a six-week, virtual course. Four hundred SOCOM people attended. At the end of it, they got a certificate from MIT. And we’ve also done similar courses with Carnegie Mellon. We have to leverage academic institutions. We have to leverage technology companies. And we have to look for ways to train our leaders.

To get to your empowerment question, in order to empower the lower-level folks, who really have the good ideas—some of them are already coders and already know what they’re doing. They can write algorithms, and they want to be able to do that. We have to sense talent. We have to be able to sort through our people and know who has the talent, the capability, and the desire to actually help us in this space. Is it more important for this individual to be a rifleman, or to be a coder and help solve big problems? That’s the debate—that we’ve got to put the people with the right skillset in the right place.

CTC: When we talk about technology, what are some trends that are proving most concerning from a threat perspective?

Clarke: UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]. Right now, adversary UAVs, autonomous vehicles, primarily from the air today. But in the future, unmanned maritime vessels could be a huge threat to us. But right now, I view threat UAVs like the IEDs that we were encountering early in 2003—except they can move, they can sense, and they’re only going to get bigger with size, weight, and power capabilities improving. And they’re only going to become more lethal.

Right now, they’re used heavily inside Iraq and Syria, but they’re going to continue to expand. The threat is [from] these capabilities. They’re easy. They’re light. They’re cheap. You don’t have to bury something on a roadside where I can watch it. They’re going to start coming in larger numbers and bigger sizes.

CTC: In the wake of a failed attempt to rescue Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis, the need to provide effective hostage rescue capability was one of the drivers for the creation of an organization that unified Special Operations Forces, and ultimately resulted in the creation of SOCOM. While this capability obviously remains, a lot of the SOF focus over the last 20 years has been on targeting of leadership. Are there core or traditional missions—hostage rescue or otherwise—that you think SOF need to refocus on and reinvest in for the future?

Clarke: There are a lot of questions in there. From Eagle Clawc and from those ashes rose the Joint Special Operations Command. You have to give great credit [to] folks that said that we’ve got to change the way we’re doing it. What I always remember is the Brits who wrote on the outside of the beer container—’from those of us, to those of you who had the guts to try.’d We had great men and women who are willing to put it on the line and try. The creation of the Special Operations Command as we know it today still comes from those great professionals. I don’t think we can ever forget that.

As we look at this, on the hostage rescue, there’s still other SOF core missions I talked about earlier—there’s hostage rescue, Direct Action, Security Forces Assistance, COIN [counterinsurgency], [Special] Reconnaissance, Information Operations, [and] Civil Affairs. I think you’ve got to broaden that significantly today—beyond just [hostage rescue]. As I said earlier, it’s going to be the sum of all parts.

But the other piece you didn’t ask about that I think is also important is the environments in which you work. Those are all core missions. We’ve got to start thinking about things like the Arctic. As our 10th Special Forces Group is now up in the Arctic and diving under five feet of ice, doing freefall jumps at minus 50 degrees. So you have to look at how you’re doing things differently in different environments.

And [we’re] even taking that to our Navy SEALs. They’re working in the maritime environment and in the littorals. Undersea, subsurface warfare is going to be significantly more important.

CTC: Africa continues to emerge as an epicenter of global jihadi terror.7 What role does SOCOM play there, and what do you think about this challenge?

Clarke: This goes back to the partner enablement. Success in the counterterrorism fight would be that you can contain the threat to such a level that local forces can handle it. I think that particularly applies to places in Africa. And so, working with all elements of national power if we take a look at our embassy country teams, they’re heavily invested there. And working closely with them, with our African partners, I think is critical.

I challenge a little bit your question of being an epicenter. But I do think it’s a place where it’s metastasized too, and if left unchecked, it could grow. And it could become a place where we have to be very wary of. But I think if we can empower local partners, but then also encourage our allies, particularly our European allies, that have tremendous investments and capabilities—and truthfully, it’s in their backyard—to enable and assist them with our unique capabilities so that we can actually do very well in Africa.

CTC: When it comes to threats, what keeps you up at night?

Clarke: I actually sleep pretty well. I’m not going to use the Mattis quote whatsoever.e We’re not going to leave the terrorists unchecked. While we’re sitting here, there’s thousands of great Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines from SOCOM that are defending forward so that they can protect our homeland here.

If there’s an area that is of concern to me, it’s ‘are we modernizing quickly enough?’ Are we harnessing all the capabilities? And are we going to be able to properly balance the counterterrorism, counter-VEO fight with strategic competition so we don’t overly extend the force and can balance the threat to the homeland?

And we must always be able to respond to crisis. When our country calls, we’re up for a no-fail mission. Are we ready to do it? We’re never going to lose sight of that.     CTC

Substantive Notes
[a] On August 16, 2021, President Biden stated, “We’ve developed counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on any direct threats to the United States in the region and to act quickly and decisively if needed.” “Remarks by President Biden on Afghanistan,” The White House, August 16, 2021.

[b] Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance

[c] Editor’s Note: “Operation Eagle Claw, conducted April 24, 1980, was a complex mission to rescue 52 U.S. citizens held hostage in the U.S. embassy in Iran. Tragically, the attempt ended in the death of eight service members, including five from Hurlburt Field’s 1st Special Operations Wing, who were caught in an explosion at one of the rally points before ever reaching the embassy.” Senior Airman Ryan Whitney, “‘To you all, from us all, for having the guts to try’–30 years later,” U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, April 29, 2010.

[d] Editor’s Note: “One legacy from the [Eagle Claw] operation that has lived on today is the motto of the 8th SOS, ‘With the guts to try.’ This phrase came after two British Airmen quietly delivered two cases of beer with the words “To you all, from us all, for having the guts to try” scribbled across the cardboard lid of one of the cases.” Ibid.

[e] Editor’s Note: “Defense Secretary James Mattis pulled out a casual punchline Sunday when an interviewer asked what threats around the world keep him up at night. ‘What keeps you awake at night?’ CBS host John Dickerson asked Mattis during an interview on ‘Face The Nation.’ ‘Nothing. I keep other people awake at night,’ Mattis responded, almost instantly.” Brett LoGiurato, “Defense Secretary James Mattis on what keeps him up at night: ‘Nothing. I keep other people awake,’” Business Insider, May 29, 2017.

[1] Paul Cruickshank, Don Rassler, and Kristina Hummel, “Twenty Years After 9/11: Reflections from General (Ret) Joseph Votel, Former Commander of U.S. Central Command,” CTC Sentinel 14:7 (2021).

[2] Paul Cruickshank, Don Rassler, and Kristina Hummel, “Twenty Years After 9/11: Reflections from Michael Morell, Former Acting Director of the CIA,” CTC Sentinel 14:7 (2021).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Asfandyar Mir, “Twenty Years After 9/11: The Terror Threat from Afghanistan Post the Taliban Takeover,” CTC Sentinel 14:7 (2021).

[5] Don Rassler, “Commentary: Data, AI, and the Future of U.S. Counterterrorism: Building an Action Plan,” CTC Sentinel 14:8 (2021).

[6] Richard H. Shultz and Richard D. Clarke, “Big Data at War: Special Operations Forces, Project Maven, and Twenty-First Century Warfare,” Modern War Institute, August 25, 2020.

[7] Tricia Bacon and Jason Warner, “Twenty Years After 9/11: The Threat in Africa—The New Epicenter of Global Jihadi Terror,” CTC Sentinel 14:7 (2021).

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