Os previously stated, one ofthe most important tasks when it comes to defeating asymmetrical forces (aka terrorists,guerillas,insurgents,etc) is removing their supporters (both direct and indirect support) and, perhaps more importantly, separating the recruiter from a pool of possible recruits.
However, other than the hackneyed cliche "winning hearts and minds", America lacks a cohesive strategy, or short term tactics to achieve this goal... It isn't enough to cut off the head, kill the active fighters, for,like Hydra they grow back... No, we must comprehensively wither the whole body, dry up the pool within which the rebels swim and leave them flopping on the ground, deprived of the very things that give them life.
To this end, we need to get out of our strongholds, bases, fortresses and embassies, and engage with the common people, the local leaders... the families and religious leaders, the businessmen and tradesmen, the farmers and shopkeepers... and in this engagement, help them provide other options to improve their OWN future. Assist them in providing a counter narrative to the one that extremists are providing, specifically that the "west" wants to destroy their way of life, and violence is the only answer.
Right now, there is a surge in normal Muslims who are fighting to provide this counter narrative, from Malala, to Maajid Nawaz (view his TED talk here...good viewing..http://www.ted.com/talks/maajid_nawaz_a_global_culture_to_fight_extremism?quote=1001 ) however we aren't doing much to help them, if anything, we are shooting ourselves in the foot, and helping our enemies.
Keeping this goal in mind, I would suggest the US Army Rangers as a unit are almost ideally suited to pursuing this goal, after all, interacting with indigenous populations are one of the core reasons they were formed in the first place. With minimal retraining, and a few additional skills, the Rangers could easily fill the role of projecting our humanitarian and psyOps mission into the villages, towns and hamlets and begin withering the support that fanatics rely upon. Additionally, these skills would build upon the skills that Rangers presumably already posess.
Operate independently, with little immediate support, away from bases in the hinterlands of war torn,unstable, and strife-ridden areas/nations. While on long patrols, interact and interface with indigenous populations,leaders and commoners, creating good will via humanitarian, educational and material aid. In doing so, assist the local population take a firmer hold on the conditions of their daily lives, and future.
Wow, what a mental jumble of buzzwords, corprospeak and cliches... if I added a couple "proactively"s or "synergy"s, it would be worthy of Dilberts boss. Allow me to paint a picture.
Rangers go on a long patrol, 2-3weeks at a time... perhaps numbness or better armored vehicles (as non threatening and "military"looking as possible) with 24/7drone surveillance(perhaps a variable force drone for direct air support @ the control of the men on the ground...not, I repeat NOT controlled by REMF`s )
They enter a villiage, at least a few of them speak the local language, or a common dialect... they have a good working knowledge of the culture and customs, so they are respectful and open with the people, and know how to approach them... while they are there, they eat WITH the citizens, and assist with the chores of day to day life in the village.. during their visit, they assess the needs of the populace (for next time) and help improve the area... perhaps digging a new well, or irrigation ditch, or latrine...perhaps building and teaching about composting and waste recycling... perhaps a few of them carried a lb of nails/screws and a hammer/screwdriver...Or a "waterwheel" (like the girl invented), a bag of new seeds, these are gifts... they also have copies of "Where there are no Drs" (a book that drs w/o frontiers designed for out back communities to diagnose and treat medical problems)
After a few days or a week, they give thanks to the community and move on, headed to the next villiage...only to return in a month or so...at least half of the same guys to the same villiage, building on the previous relationships... only the next time they have a breeding pair of goats, some chickens, the fixings for a "bloom the desert" style firehouse...
The important thing is not to GIVE presents, give a fish, but teach them to fish... give them tools and knowledge so they can take ownership of their lives and futures...sow the seeds of contentment.... (and perhaps even pass the info over to the myriad NGO`s that seek to do this work)
And THAT is the very most important thing, crosspolinating knowledge and information with the other groups who seek to help people, and, like "Habitat for Humanity" letting THEM take ownership of their future, and the skills,knowledge, and instruments of that future....because, if a terrorist blows up a damn that we built...it's our Dam... if they destroy a "bloom the desert" project that the locals have toiled on, day in,day out... it's the LOCALS project...