Heather Hurlburt, Executive Director of the National Security Network, discussed the need for “non-kinetic” forms of counterterrorism, including peacebuilding and development programs. Hurlburt stressed that these were vital ways to delegitimize terrorism, and show would-be terrorists that their methods would not get effective.
Both Cindy Huang, Director of Policy for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the State Dept. and Mahbouba Seraj, Chairperson of the Board at Afghan Women’s Network agreed with Hurlburt on the importance of civil society. Seraj illustrated the benefit that civil society groups have had in her native Afghanistan. Huang noted that local civil society partners were vital to the work being done by the U.S. government around the world.
Retired Colonel for U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Christopher Holshek, focused his comments on the importance of a “whole of society” approach to countering terrorism. Holsheck contends that the asymmetric warfare characterized by the current U.S. approach to counterterrorism is not an efficient use of military resources.