The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Using Text Analytics to Explore the Post 9/11 Strategic Narrative and its Influence On America’s Military Strategy

By Dr. Lcol. Nick Blas


This presentation is focused on exploring strategic narratives and the influence narratives have on military strategy. The social nature of stories links narratives employed in strategic situations with meaning-making during times of conflict. The presenter Nick Blas uses the text mining software WordStat in his analysis. By way of an applicable case, the attacks on 9/11 represent an inflection point between two periods where there is a distinct change within the strategic narratives and military strategy. Using the 9/11 case, Nick presents a framework to explore the change in strategic narratives and military strategy after the 9/11 attacks. Nick uses topic modelling and other exploratory features of WordStat and constructs a content analysis dictionary to explore the main themes discussed by the media, government and academia in the pre and post/11 world as it relates to foreign and domestic threats to the United States.


Nick Blas earned his PhD in International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of Utah where he focused on security studies and military strategy. He is an active-duty Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force with over 20 years of service. During Nick’s career, he deployed several times to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He also served as the intelligence advisor to the Commander of NATO Air-South in Izmir, Turkey. Now that he has finished his PhD, Nick’s next assignment is to be a professor at the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Alabama. There he will be teaching international security studies and airpower strategy.


The comments and opinions expressed in this presentation are Nick’s alone. They do not reflect the position or views of the government of the United States or the United States Air Force.