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New Center for Strategic Communication hosts special event

Rebranding Terror: Al-Qaeda's Strategic Communication after Bin Laden
February 17, 2012

"Laptop James Bond" scheduled to speak at research center launch event

The new Center for Strategic Communication (CSC) is hosting a special event in recognition of its approval by the Board of Regents to become an official University Research Center.

"Rebranding Terror: Al-Qaeda’s Strategic Communication after Bin Laden" will be held at 6 p.m., Feb. 23, in the Fulton Center, sixth floor, on ASU's Tempe campus.

Featuring international terrorism expert and author Jarret Brachman, this event marks the launch of the Center in its official capacity as a policy institute. Dubbed a "laptop James Bond" and an "information warrior," Brachman will address the future of al-Qaeda and its supporters since losing direction from leader Osama bin Laden. He will also highlight recent innovations al-Qaeda has made to their strategic messaging that include poems and paintings, Facebook and YouTube.

In addition to experts from other ASU policy institutes, the CSC has invited military leadership and a number of government officials to attend the launch, as it is a goal of the CSC to help the two entities become more effective in their strategic communication. According to Steven Corman, CSC director, other goals include "doing more funded research and developing new programs at ASU, such as a new certificate in strategic communication and a practitioner-in-residence program."

The new center is an initiative of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. It is home to a group of multidisciplinary scholars who apply theories and research in human communication to issues of countering ideological support for terrorism (CIST), diplomacy, and public diplomacy. The efforts of the group to provide essential research and advice resulted in a recent $4.5 million grant to investigate extremists’ uses of narrative to influence contested populations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Europe. "People don’t always think of it this way, but policy is an element in an ongoing dialog. It has communication value in itself, and guides actions that themselves communicate.  In the past many of our policies have played into extremists’ narratives and we want to help make that as unlikely as possible going forward," stated Corman.

The CSC currently shares a great deal of its work online at and provides updates via Twitter and Facebook to help expand the range of its influence in matters of both policy and practical issues of countering extremist messages.

Dr. H. L.  "Bud" Goodall of the CSC explained how the work done by the center so far "has provided a clear reference point for policy makers and practitioners." Goodall says the center works "to use that common understanding to help decision makers build better paths to peace and to continue our work countering extremist visions and messages."

The CSC plan to host additional speakers and secure funding to increase the range of their activities among the global community of specialists in defense, intelligence, and related fields involving strategic communication.

Steve Corman,
Center for Strategic Communication