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Congrats to CTSS at UMass Lowell

Department of Defense 2014 Minerva grant awards have been announced. UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism & Security Studies have received two of them – outstanding!

Here is the formal UMass Lowell CTSS Press Release

See the full list at: http://minerva.dtic.mil/funded.html

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Terrorism Research Conference, Sept. 2014

Announcement: Click here for preliminary information on the 8th Annual International Conference (September 2014), to be held in Boston and co-sponsored by UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism & Security Studies, the Society for Terrorism Research, and UMass Boston.

 

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Countering the al-Shabaab Insurgency in Somalia

JSOU Report: Countering the al-Shabaab Insurgency in Somalia: Lessons for U.S. Special Operations Forces by Graham Turbiville, Josh Meservey, and James Forest

In this report, the authors argue that al-Shabaab’s current prospects have probably never been so low.  This work provides a meaningful context to al-Shabaab and the Somali milieu.  Al Shabaab has been pushed from all of its major strongholds by a robust international effort, and its violent Salafism has alienated many Somalis.  But it still has teeth.  It continues to harass coalition forces, as well as ordinary Somalis, with improvised explosive devices, suicide bombings, and assassinations.  Its tactics reflect a strategic decision made by its leadership to fight a guerrilla war, a familiar role for a group that thrived by waging an anti-Ethiopian insurgency in the emid-2000s.  This monograph is a useful resource for anyone who wishes to know more about the conflict in the Horn of Africa.

Click here to Download the full report in PDF

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New: Rand report on Terrorist Learning

Breaching the Fortress Wall: Understanding Terrorist Efforts to Overcome Defensive Technologies

by Brian A. Jackson, Peter Chalk, Kim Cragin et al.

Available online at: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG481.html

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New: 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar from NCTC

The National Counterterrorism Center has published its 2014 Calendar, which you can download at this link:

http://www.nctc.gov/docs/ctCalendar2014.pdf

 

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Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 7 no. 6

In this issue of Perspectives on Terrorism we are pleased to present four articles on a variety of timely topics. First, Sarah Marsden offers a comparative analysis of several hundred Arab and Western media sources, highlighting their different conceptualisations of what constitutes ‘success’ and ‘failure’ in the ‘War on Terror’. Second, Iromi Dharmawardhane evaluates several aspects of the post-conflict initiatives in Sri Lanka, and offers recommendations to address shortcomings and persistent challenges. Third, an international team of scholars led by Mark Woodward challenge the perception that the Sufi tradition in Islam has always been tolerant and non-violent while the Salafist tradition is the one consistently associated with intolerance and violence. Finally, Kathleen Deloughery draws from several incident databases to explain how and why simultaneous terrorist attacks are more likely to be successful and cause more fatalities

This issue of the journal also introduces a new Policy Notes section, in which we will publish relatively short pieces containing informed analysis and policy recommendations on a variety of important topics. Josh Meservey inaugurates this section with a timely analysis of Somalia’s safe havens and their critical importance to al-Shabaab. This is followed by a review of international counterterrorism assistance to the Horn of Africa, authored by three senior analysts at the Centre on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation.

» Continue reading “Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 7 no. 6″

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CTSS Audio Brief, No. 1: Terrorist Disengagement

Short primer on terrorist disengagement, by Dr. John Horgan. The first of the new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies audio briefs! http://blogs.uml.edu/ctss/ 

(  also hosted via http://www.terroristbehavior.com/blog/    )

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Perspectives on Terrorism vol. 7, no. 5

The newest issue of the internationally-acclaimed scholarly journal Perspectives on Terrorism is now available online.  Research and analysis by Jeffrey M Bale, Benjamin S. Eveslage, Alexandra Lewis, Paul Kamolnick, and Ely Karmon, along with book reviews, literature search resources, and much more . . .

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Video and Shapiro’s book The Terrorist’s Dilemma

Here’s a great 90 minute video of Jake Shapiro, Bruce Hoffman and Will McCants speaking at an event announcing the release of Jake’s new book, The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations.

http://www.newamerica.net/events/2013/the_terrorists_dilemma

His book systematically examines the structural differences between terrorist groups, discusses the core managerial challenges these groups face, and illustrates how the organizations are affected by their political goals and operational environments.  Shapiro provides a historically-informed explanation for why some groups have little hierarchy, while others resemble miniature firms.  Looking at groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, he highlights how consistent and widespread the terrorist’s dilemma — balancing the desire to maintain control with the need for secrecy — has been since the 1880s. A good read for anyone interested in a higher-level study of terrorist organizations.

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Launch Event Sept 24: Center for Terrorism & Security Studies

See the following link for details on the formal launch of the UML Center for Terrorism and Security Studies. Participants include:

  • Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis III
  • Former National Security Council Deputy for
    Counterterrorism Roger Cressey ‘87
  • National Counter Terrorism Center Deputy
    Director Nicholas Rasmussen
  • FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Vincent B. Lisi
  • Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety Andrea Cabral

http://www.uml.edu/university-relations/evite/2013/SecuritySymposium/index9-18.html

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New PoT Issue: Terrorist Financing

Check out the August issue of Perspectives on Terrorism for several articles on Terrorist Financing and an extensive guide to conducting literature reviews.

URL: http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/issue/view/41

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Reflections on Terrorism Studies

On this anniversary of 9/11 it seems appropriate to reflect on how Terrorism Studies has evolved as a field of interdisciplinary research and education. A recent article raises a number of good points for consideration:

There are still research grants available for scholars in this field, and many publishing opportunities in respected peer-reviewed journals (particularly in our own journal, Perspectives on Terrorism), and there has been a proliferation of research centers (like CTSS) at which you can pursue sophisticated research (for example, see the list of 100 Centers compiled by Benjamin Friedman). UMass Lowell will soon be offering a doctoral-level education in terrorism studies, an option within our PhD program in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies. There are Master’s degree programs throughout the U.S. as well.

Overall, I take a “glass is half full” attitude toward the current state of the field. Surely I’m an optimist, but being an optimist may actually be required for those who study the terrible things that terrorists do to innocent people. The reality is that terrorism has been a part of human history for centuries, and is unlikely to go away anytime soon. With that in mind, academe appears to be slowly, perhaps grudgingly acknowledging the need to study the phenomenon of terrorism, understand the many complexities of it, and hopefully discover new ways to contain, mitigate, and even prevent it in the future.

 

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New Research Center at UMass Lowell

A few years ago, our journal Perspectives on Terrorism published a very popular resource article by Benjamin Freedman, “Terrorism Research Centres: 100 Institutes, Programs and Organisations in the Field of Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, Radicalisation and Asymmetric Warfare Studies“. 

Now that the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at UMass Lowell is up and running (with Professor John Horgan as Director – see http://www.uml.edu/ctss) we’re going to need to update that list . . .

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New book: Homeland Security & Terrorism

The 2d edition of Homeland Security and Terrorism has now been published by McGraw-Hill.

HST-2031

Information is available online at the following link: http://www.mhprofessional.com/product.php?isbn=0078026296

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Media and the Boston terror attack

Living here in the Boston area, the past week has been an almost sleepless blur. Here are some news stories for which I was interviewed:

CNBC interview #3 about Boston
» Continue reading “Media and the Boston terror attack”

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