Publication:
U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM NARRATIVE: A WAY FORWARD

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Authors
Kristoff, Madeline T.
Subjects
counterterrorism
narrative
terrorism
Social Identity Analytical Method
Social Identity Theory
performative power
Advisors
Brannan, David W.
Dahl, Erik J.
Date of Issue
2019-03
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
While there seems to be widespread agreement that the U.S. counterterrorism narrative is failing, there is little empirical evidence for what the U.S. counter-narrative strategy since 9/11 has been, nor is there an analytical framework for measuring its success or failure. This thesis investigates the effectiveness of the U.S. counterterrorism narrative strategy in the post-9/11 period (2001 through 2016), and develops an effective U.S. counterterrorism narrative strategy. Content analysis of 75 U.S. presidential speeches and 50 U.S. Department of State Twitter postings, and a measurement of U.S. performative power between 2001 and 2016, demonstrates that only the narrative speech factor of promoting commonality has a negative correlation with terrorist attacks in the United States. More messages that promote commonality correlates to decreased terrorist attacks. To understand when to use this messaging, the social identity analytical method was applied to a U.S. presidential speech and an Islamic State leader’s speech and demonstrates that the U.S. government lacks comprehension of social in-group identification nuances. To target messaging effectively, the framework should be applied on a consistent basis, promoting commonality in narratives within a larger comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.
Type
Thesis
Description
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Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
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Copyright is reserved by the copyright owner.
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