Thursday, January 17, 2008

The military needs Maj. Stephen Coughlin

A letter in today's Washington Times

I would like to address the comments of Capt. Gordan E. Van Hook regarding Maj. Stephen Coughlin's employment with the U.S. military and the value of his contributions as a lawyer and reserve military intelligence officer ("Differences of opinion," Letters, Tuesday). I am an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College charged with educating military officers in strategic and operational planning to implement government policy. Additionally, I have more than three years' experience conducting operational and strategic planning at U.S. Central Command during Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war on terrorism.

Though I cannot assess the value of Mr. Coughlin to those inside the Beltway, outside the Beltway and on the front lines of this struggle, his understanding of the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine is invaluable. Mr. Coughlin's thesis, written for the National Defense Intelligence College, "To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad" is quickly becoming a must-read among my peers. Unfortunately, soon Mr. Coughlin will no longer be available to help us understand Islamic jihad, and we will again find ourselves at a severe disadvantage in this ideological struggle. I only wish more of my taxpayer dollars could be spent on such invaluable contracts that directly support those out in front.

Marine Corps

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