Michael S. Smith II is a terrorism analyst, open source intelligence (OSINT) specialist, and an internationally recognized expert on the global influence operations of Salafi-Jihadist groups like ISIS. From 2019-2021, he served as an adjunct member of the faculties of Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Global Security Studies and MS in Intelligence Analysis programs, for which he developed and taught a course focused on the OSINT discipline and its utilities for such actors as governments and terrorist groups like ISIS. In 2021, he accepted an unconditional offer to pursue the degree of PhD in War Studies at King’s College London, where his research will examine how governments of the United States and several close allies apply certain intelligence resources in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) initiatives. As an international P/CVE consultant, his recent work includes providing assistive guidance to the Ministry of Security in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the auspices of a USAID Office of Transition Initiatives-funded program. 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, officials with the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and 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. In December 2019, he presented his analysis of how conflict in Syria is impacting such phenomena as international terrorism during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 19th Annual Parliamentary Transatlantic Forum in Washington, DC. 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, The Washington Post, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, BBC, NPR, 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, CTV News (Canada), 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). In addition, contents of both his open source investigation archives and his Twitter feed have been featured in reporting by major media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, BBC, Foreign Policy, and Newsweek, among others, as well as in such authoritative academic works as Thomas Hegghammer’s (2020) book titled The Caravan: Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad. From 2018-2019, he also served as a consultant to the International Spy Museum (Washington, DC), where he assisted education staff with development of an open source intelligence practitioner simulation focused on counterterrorism analysts' work identifying potential terrorist threats in social media posts. He was awarded both his master’s degree in Intelligence and Security Studies (4.0 GPA) and his graduate certificate in Intelligence Analysis by 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
On December 11, 2019, Mike served as a speaker and panelist for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 19th Annual Parliamentary Transatlantic Forum hosted in Washington, DC at the National Defense University. Titled "The Situation in Syria and its Implications for the Terrorist Threat," his draft remarks are accessible here.