June 2014 to December 2017 represented the high tide of radical Islamist (Salafi-jihadist) territorial control under the authority of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This monograph analyzes and provides policy response options for US national security and Army planners concerning the potential for postterritorial caliphate battlefield migration by the sizable contingent of battle-hardened Islamic State foreign fighters situated within various enclaves in Syria and Iraq. The monograph achieves these ends by
- discussing Islamic State territorial eras and demographics;
- offering an overview of the initial inflows of these fighters into the territorial caliphate, outflows to the United States, and lateral transfers to new battlefields, as well as mentioning special issues related to Islamic State women and children;
- highlighting and analyzing the four strategic options available to the Islamic State in its postterritorial caliphate phase; and
- offering senior US policy makers and planners options for counterbattlefield migration policy responses.
These options pertain to policies focused on extremists and the Islamic State as an organization and embedded within the context of higher-level US foreign policies toward Syria and Iraq. Additionally, recommendations for counterforeign terrorist fighter programs and the Joint force are provided.
Carlisle Barracks, PA
Battlefield Migration, Caliphate, Extremist Fighters, Foreign Fighters, Global Insurgency, Iraq, Islamic State, Policy Response, Salafi-jihadist, Syria
Defense and Security Studies | Leadership Studies | Military, War, and Peace
Robert J. Bunker Dr.,
A Policy Response to Islamic State Extremist Fighter Battlefield Migration (Carlisle Barracks, PA: US Army War College Press, 2020),