YouTube War/Foreword

Insurgents making use of terrorist techniques are fighting to shape the attitudes and perceptions of the public to undermine the public will to fight. In a modern age, this is done by shaping media coverage. It is not going too far to say that terrorist attacks are, in fact, media events, designed to draw the attention of the press since, without a larger audience, a terrorist attack will have accomplished very little.

This monograph, by Dr. Cori E. Dauber, argues that terrorist attacks today are often media events in a second sense: information and communication technologies have developed to such a point that these groups can film, edit, and upload their own attacks within minutes of staging them, whether the Western media are present or not. In this radically new information environment, the enemy is no longer dependent upon the traditional media. This is, she argues, the “YouTube War.”

The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this monograph, which methodically lays out the nature of this new environment in terms of its implications for a war against media-savvy insurgents, and then considers possible courses of action for the Army and the U.S. military as they seek to respond to an enemy that has proven enormously adaptive to this new environment and the new type of warfare it enables.

Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr.

Strategic Studies Institute