Before retiring as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, Stephen Coughlin was assigned to the Intelligence Directorate (J2) of both the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and United States Central Command (CENTCOM), where he had responsibility for intelligence support to strategic communications and information operations as it related to the War on Terror, as well as operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and related areas. Upon leaving active duty, Major Coughlin was sought out to support Joint Staff efforts along these same concerns. Coughlin is an attorney with a background in International and comparative law.
In 2006, Mr. Coughlin's thesis, "To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad," was accepted by the National Defense Intelligence College, and details the doctrinal drivers of jihad within Islamic Doctrine, along with the failure of the United States leadership to understand this doctrine. Since writing the thesis, he has written a number of papers that followed up on the conclusions raised in the thesis. He has taught, lectured, and briefed on Capitol Hill senior members of Department of Defense, other senior U.S. government officials, and many state and local executives, legislators, and law enforcement.
Stephen Coughlin's presentations have been highly impactful and informative. His briefings forecast with precision:
- The doctrinal basis of the "radicalization" process that was used by Major Hasan to justify his actions years in advance of the Fort Hood killings
- The ongoing attempt to subordinate Western Free Speech canons, including the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that now finds itself playing out in the United Nations through UN Resolution 16/18
- The systematic fall of Middle Eastern states to the Muslim Brotherhood as early as October 2010 under cover of a democracy movement, months in advance of the "Arab Spring."
While all four of us were in senior positions in the U.S. Intelligence Community and should have been aware of this information, we were not. We first heard this critical information from these two presenters. The information is of utmost importance to the security of the United States, and is critical to formulating National Security Strategies.
[Major Coughlin's] vision, and organizational skills were a driving force behind developing an Islamic "how to fight" manual[,] documents critical in developing national strategies to defeat Islamic extremists. He was instrumental in developing strategic communications doctrine integrating affairs, information operations, and defense support to public diplomacy that achieved historic results.