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Normative Behaivor and Strategic Security

Normative Behavior Causes Continuous Threats to National Security

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” This famous quote attributed to George Santayana is flawed but still contains a salutary concept.1 The American humorist/philosopher Mark Twain rephrased Santayana. Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The consistent concept in these sayings for intelligence analysts and those developing counterterrorism skills is competency in strategic security, which requires a historical context to frame current threat issues. Intelligence analyses are done in the present to prepare against current and future security threats. The chaos and anarchy ongoing in various locations around the world can accurately be described as a “rhyme of history.” While “normal behavior” can be subjectively defined, “’normative behavior” can be defined as a behavior based on historic patterns of behavior. History documents and patterns of aggression by groups, cultures, and nation-states are consistent, as well as aperiodic. The contemporary aggressive behaviors and chaos provide a set of threats that create strategic security opportunities for veteran jobs.

Examples of Normative Behavior

Russia, Persia/Iran, and Islamic fundamentalism all provide solid evidence of historic behavior patterns that persist as “normative behavior” today. Many current analysts and experts fail to include the enduring cultural experience imprints that form the various security perspectives of nation-states and non-state groups. The historic radical Muslim violence lives on in the normative violent behavior of radical Muslim groups.

Russia has a long history of being invaded from all compass directions.2 While many current explanations for Russian actions in the Crimea, Ukraine, and the Middle East attempt to link these moves as post-Soviet Union strategic revisionism, these explanations miss the sense of hundreds of years of Russian border insecurity. A major security reality of the Soviet Union was to follow the old Russian tradition of seeking border security; this tradition is perpetuated by Russia today.

Persian ambitions to dominate the Middle East predate Iran and Shiite Islam by over two thousand years. As Persia built early empires embracing the religions of Mithraism and Zoroastrianism, Iran (over 60% Persian and 98% Muslim), under the Shiite theocracy, aspires to extend a Shiite and Iranian hegemony across the Middle East.3 One irony is the geographic goal for the Iranian “Shiite arc of influence,” a virtual overlay of the ancient Persian empires.

The decade of the 1980s saw the genesis of three major radical Muslim movements: Hezbollah (Shiite/1982); Hamas (Sunni/1987); and al Qaeda (Sunni/1989). All three have been categorized as terrorist groups. However, none of these groups were formed to promote terrorism; all three were formed to promote a particular Islamic radical belief system and enforce that belief system by violence throughout the world. The historic retrospective once again demonstrates a rich base of evidence showing a Muslim history of radicalism, primarily in the Salafis branch of Islam dating back to the times of the Prophet Mohammad.4

The underlying issue is that while history is not “the answer” to understanding contemporary security threats, history is an essential part of “the answer.” Two additional points are prominent from this perspective. First, while the purpose of radical Muslim groups is not solely terrorism, the radical groups’ use of terrorism as a tactic makes counterterrorism skills a continuing security requirement for the west. Second, historic normative behaviors create continuing opportunities for veteran jobs in the security arena.

Getting Veteran Jobs in Security and intelligence

Education is a key path to achieving counterterrorism skills and other capabilities essential to secure veteran jobs in the intelligence and security fields. Online education is an excellent opportunity to satisfy the need for specialized knowledge and skills that intelligence and security require. However, only a few schools specialize in the nuanced requirements pertinent to security and intelligence. These select schools provide a curriculum that blends the theory and practical competence essential to be successful in real world threat situations. However, the end result potency of the curriculum depends on an effective faculty. The top schools employ faculties who have served in operational roles and bring that pragmatic experience as part of the educational experience for the students.


1. Retrieved: www.bigthink.com
2. Hosking, G. (2001). Russia and the Russians. ISBN: 978-0-674-061958
3. A very Brief History of Iran and Iranian Religions. (2011). Retrieved: www.iranenws.wordpress.com
4. Wiktorwicz. Q. (2005). A Genealogy of Radical Islam. Retrieved: www.afil.tamu.edu

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