Biden’s security advisor describes US strategy to fight ISIL in Crown Center talk

Photo/Jarret Bencks
Colin Kahl, national security advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden, said the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State must go beyond military action to be successful during a talk at Brandeis Tuesday, February 2.

Kahl outlined the multidimensional counter-campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIL, and broke it down into categories he dubbed the "6 D's:" Defeating ISIL on the battlefield, diplomacy to promote inclusive governance, delivering humanitarian assistance, disrupting ISIL's global network, discrediting the group's narrative and defending the U.S. homeland and allies.

His talk was sponsored by the Crown Center for Middle East Studies as well as the Department of Politics, the Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence and the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Program.

The U.S. military is capable of severely degrading ISIL, but there must be local actors on the ground, both militarily and politically, in order to defeat it, Kahl said.

"Unless you address the underlying political, social and economic issues, which drive groups like ISIL to be able to take root in this part of the world, you are not going to sustainably defeat them," Kahl said. "We can do a lot, and the military can do a lot, but at the end of the day, we need actors on the ground if we are going to decisively defeat ISIL."

Kahl's career has spanned scholarship and public service. Currently on public service leave from his position as associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, Kahl has previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon, as a fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as an assistant professor of politics at the University of Minnesota. He is an example of what a scholars can contribute when they decide to dedicate themselves to public service, said Shai Feldman, the Judy and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center and professor of politics.

"Coming into government service with a fresh mind, having examined it from the outside, it's a wonderful dimension of the U.S. system," Feldman said in introducing Kahl.

The Crown Center regularly hosts talks and panels by its scholars and outside scholars. A list recent and upcoming events can be found on the center's website.

Categories: International Affairs

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