Can Counter-Gang Models Be Applied to Counter ISIS's Internet Recruitment Campaign   [open pdf - 958KB]

"In 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) came to the attention of the world community due to its rapid takeover of territory in Iraq and Syria. Since then, ISIS has executed an Internet-based recruitment campaign directed at vulnerable populations worldwide, to include the United States, in order to recruit followers and encourage attacks within their homelands. Through utilization of American-based social media companies, ISIS has been able to reach its target audience in a manner that has frustrated U.S. counter-efforts due to the enormous size of the social media environment. Through an analysis of influencing and recruitment operations, a linkage is shown between vulnerable populations susceptible to gang and terrorist recruitment. Analysis of the gang and terrorist mitigation models used against these groups draws key distinctions between intervention and deterrence-based models. Selection of specific case study applications of the models facilitates answering the primary research question: can models utilized against gangs in the United States be applied to counter ISIS's Internet recruitment campaign? The conclusion is that a modified deterrence-based model can be applied to counter ISIS's Internet recruitment campaign. However, the model should be applied against the technology companies providing the communication medium for ISIS's messaging."

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