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#176 Bob Jones on Special Operations at a Crossroads and Strategic Influence

The Cognitive Crucible

Release Date: 11/28/2023

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The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association. During this episode, Bob Jones returns to the Cognitive Crucible to discuss strategic influence and how the United States is at a crossroads. Additionally, we revisit Bob’s previous Cognitive Crucible appearance and discuss the importance of governance and taking other people’s perspectives....

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The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.

During this episode, Bob Jones returns to the Cognitive Crucible to discuss strategic influence and how the United States is at a crossroads. Additionally, we revisit Bob’s previous Cognitive Crucible appearance and discuss the importance of governance and taking other people’s perspectives.

Research Question: Bob Jones suggests as interested student examine: 

  • Is political conflict internal to a single system inherently different than political conflict between two or more systems; and if so, how, why and so what?
  • How is the modern Chinese effort to expand their sovereignty to match their expanded power distinct from, or similar to, the US efforts to do the same in the 1890 to 1914 timeframe?
  • If one expands the definition of unconventional warfare (UW) to the leveraging of foreign political grievances to advance or secure one’s interests, do al Qaeda and ISIS conduct UW?
  • Does the presence of absence of violence lend strategic insight to the nature of a political competition/conflict?
  • If one accepts that AQ and ISIS wage UW campaigns, how does one best disrupt, defeat, or render irrelevant their efforts?
  • Is counterinsurgency best thought of as a purely domestic, civilian-led activity; where, as in all domestic emergencies, the military is always in support, last in and first out?
  • It has been offered that internal, revolutionary insurgency differs from democracy only in legality; and that causation is rooted in how some distinct demographic feels about the governance affecting their lives.  How does this perspective affect counterinsurgency operations?

Resources:

Link to full show notes and resources

https://information-professionals.org/episode/cognitive-crucible-episode-176

Guest Bio

Mr. Robert Jones is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel; a former Deputy District Attorney; a Fellow with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), and the Senior Strategist at U.S. Special Operations Command.  Currently serving as a member of the SOCOM J5 Donovan Group, Mr. Jones is responsible for leading innovative thinking on the strategic environment and understanding how it impacts factors critical to national security, such as competition, the character of conflict, deterrence and societal stability.

Mr. Robert Jones is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel; a former Deputy District Attorney; and the Senior Strategist at U.S. Special Operations Command.  Currently serving as a member of the SOCOM J5 Donovan Group, Mr. Jones is responsible for leading innovative thinking on the strategic environment and understanding how it impacts factors critical to national security, such as competition, the character of conflict, deterrence and societal stability.

Mr. Jones’s principle focus is on the fundamental human aspects of political conflict. In a rapidly evolving strategic environment, good strategy is rooted in understanding what remains constant and why; while good tactics demands a realistic appreciation for what is different or changed. Successful campaigning demands a fusion of the two. He enjoys “wire brushing” concepts by routinely standing in front of tough audiences.  None of these is tougher than those he faces in his role as a fixture in the Joint Special Operations University’s Enlisted Academy, applying a commonsense perspective to bring our most experienced Special Operators strategic insights they can actually use. This is also the third consecutive year that Mr. Jones has addressed the Air War College class during the Operational Design phase of their curriculum, sharing practical insights gleaned from his experiences.

He has been a featured speaker at Universities as storied as Oxford, St Andrews, Stanford and Harvard; and has led professional development events with operational units across the SOCOM enterprise. Mr. Jones is also a Fellow with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS).

About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.