Michael S. Smith II is a terrorism analyst, open source intelligence specialist, and an internationally recognized expert on the influence operations of Salafi-Jihadist groups. An international consultant in the field of countering violent extremism, Mr. Smith’s current projects include providing assistive guidance to a government in the Balkans under the auspices of a United States Government-funded program. Mr. Smith is meanwhile serving as a teaching fellow (adjunct faculty) in Johns Hopkins University’s Global Security Studies program, for which he is developing a graduate studies course examining the open source intelligence discipline’s utility in conflict, politics, and scholarship. Since 2009, his work with prominent think tanks and as Principal and COO of Kronos Advisory, a private national security consultancy he cofounded with Medal of Honor recipient Major General James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret), has been at the nexus of strategic and tactical threat analysis, technical mitigation support, and the formulation of United States national security policy. During this time, his insights on al-Qa’ida’s and Islamic State’s activities, along with opportunities to more effectively manage threats posed by them have been regularly sought by members of the United States Congress and Executive Branch officials, as well as governments comprising the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, for which Mr. Smith served as a keynote speaker during a counterterrorism practitioners conference hosted at the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s headquarters in London in March 2017. Mr. Smith’s work for members of Congress has been entered into the Congressional Record, and used as a source document for national security legislation signed by President Barack Obama, titled The Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012. In October 2017, he provided expert testimony during the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism’s high-profile hearing focused on terrorists’ and Russia’s online influence operations. His work assisting policymakers and perspectives on international security issues have been covered extensively by major media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Associated Press, Reuters, Voice of America, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, Time, Channel 4 (UK), CBC (Canada), France 24, Agence France-Presse, The Times of London, The Guardian, Bloomberg, 9 News Australia, ABC (Australia), El Mundo (Spain), and Corriere della Sera (Italy). In 2016, for his collaboration with hactivists who infiltrated Islamic State social media networks to gather information about attack plots and recruitment activities, Foreign Policy listed him among the “Moguls” in its annual list of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers,” and Fast Company magazine ranked him 14 on its annual list of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.” In addition to serving as a speaker during academic and government conferences hosted in the United States, Europe, and Africa, he has published with a diverse mix of influential policy and news publications, including Foreign Affairs (US Council on Foreign Relations), Lawfare, World Politics Review, The Times of London, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, The Washington Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, and his scholarly work includes a chapter on Islamic State in the first edition of the Routledge Handbook of International Relations in the Middle East (Routledge/Taylor & Francis). Since 2018, he has also served as a consultant to the International Spy Museum (Washington, DC), assisting education staff with development of an open source intelligence practitioner simulation. He was awarded both his master’s degree in Intelligence and Security Studies and his graduate certificate in Intelligence Analysis from The Citadel. In recognition of his academic accomplishments he was inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the United States’ oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society.
“Mike Smith and the members of the team he leads are among the very best in the field of ‘Open Source Intelligence,’ or OSINT. And with extremist groups like the Islamic State generating so much activity in social media and the Internet, the ability to collect and analyze OSINT as impressively as Mike and his team do is hugely important. Their insights are absolutely invaluable.”
—Former CIA Director General David H. Petraeus, USA (Ret)
Comments referenced in a profile of Smith published in 2016