Based on their ASPI Special Report of the same name, this seminar examined capability aspects of kinetic hard power and the strategic impact of soft power information operations (IOs), and how they intertwine in the urban environment. The seizure of the city by militants linked to Islamic State (IS) and the response by Philippine authorities from May to October 2017- illustrates a future-relevant ‘seize, defy, discredit’ strategic play by asymmetric actors within a changing threat landscape. The report highlights the need to be better prepared to conduct kinetic urban operations, or support allies to do so – with a focus on reducing military and civilian casualties. Likewise, it demonstrates that the narratives surrounding the conduct of operations aren’t merely a supporting element but just as important as the military objective in achieving a favourable political outcome.
About the speakers:
Charles Knight is an adjunct senior lecturer at Charles Sturt University and researches asymmetric and urban operations.
Katja Theodorakis is a PhD researcher at the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict at UNSW ADFA, her research is concerned with radicalization and jihadi ideology – in particular its strategic use in propaganda.