December 2017 issue of Perspectives on Terrorism

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For those encountering difficulties accessing the December 2017 issue of Perspectives on Terrorism, here’s a link to download the full PDF version:

PoT issue 6

Trust, Security and Travel Bans

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by James J.F. Forest, Ph.D.
February 11, 2017

How does an effective system of security work in the real world, beyond political and media punditry? Ask a professional in law enforcement, military or the intelligence community and you’ll hear an overwhelmingly common response:  security is built and maintained on relationships of trust, at every level. Healthy, trusted community and police relationships are key to maintaining peace and order, and for intelligence gathering on crime and security threats. Trust is critical for interagency cooperation and information sharing between local, state and federal agencies. At the national level, the different agencies and branches of government must trust each other implicitly in order to work together toward the overall common objective of ensuring security for the the nation and its interests. And at the international level, trusted relationships are vital for military cooperation, intelligence sharing, cross-national crime and terror investigations, diplomacy, economic security, energy security, cybersecurity, and so much more. These are all components of an effective security system for any country.

A quick caveat before I continue, as a response to some angry messages I have received from Trump supporters. The criticisms that I have shared publicly over the past few weeks about the current presidential administration and its policies have nothing to do with being against one political party or in favor of another. I have always registered to vote as an independent, and I much prefer discussions that focus on data, evidence and academic objectivity over politicized debates. My criticisms are based on what I have learned about effective counterterrorism (and security writ large), and my concerns over policy decisions that may result in our being less secure over time. There are two main themes in my criticisms: 1) the lack of real operational effectiveness and the potential damage this approach may have on our overall national security objectives; and 2) the rhetoric which is being utilized by some members of the administration (and supporters, including some in the media) in their attempts to justify these policies. Both of these areas of concern threaten to undermine critical relationships and trust on different levels, as described below.

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Spring 2017 Courses in Security Studies

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The following is a list of on campus and online courses offered in Spring 2017 that can be used to fulfill degree requirements for the MA or MS in Security Studies. Of course, some electives cannot be used for certain concentrations (like the MS in Cybersecurity concentration which requires a specific set of IT and Computer Science courses). Please refer to your individual program of study, specific to your chosen Concentration within the degree program, for further guidance. Also, where “permission required” is indicated, please contact the instructor and the Security Studies program coordinator to discuss before attempting to enroll.


CRIM.5910 Research Design
Dr. Jason Rydberg
Mondays 5-7:50pm

CRIM.6890 Special Topics:  Seminar in Transnational Crime Networks  (permission required)
Dr. Sheldon Zhang
Mondays 5-7:50pm

CRIM.6900 Advanced Regression Analysis
Dr. Jason Rydberg
Thursdays 5-7:50pm

CRIM.7100 Advanced Research in Terrorism (permission required)
Dr. Arie Perliger
Tuesdays 5-7:50pm

PCST.5080 Theories of Political and Criminal Violence
Dr. Angelica Duran-Martinez
Wednesdays 3:30 to 6:20pm

BIOL.5720 Virology (permission required)
Dr. Michael Graves
Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:45am

ENGY.5070 Reactor Engineering and Safety (permission required)
Dr. Dean Wang
Mon/Wed 2:00-3:15pm

GLST.7012 Conflict, Cooperation, Security and Human Rights
Dr. Jenifer Whitten-Woodring
Wednesdays 3:30 to 6:20pm

GLST.7170 Developing Economies
Dr. John Wooding
Tuesdays 3:30 to 6:20pm

PUBH.5030 Toxicology and Health  (permission required)
Dr. Dhimiter Bello
Mondays 3:30-6:20pm

PUBH.5750 Introduction to Epidemiology  (permission required)
Dr. Natalia Palacios
Wednesdays 3:30-6:20pm

PUBH.6161 Exposure and Risk Assessment  (permission required)
Dr. Margaret Quinn
Wednesdays 3:30-6:20pm

PUBH.6191 Measurement of Chemical Exposure  (permission required)
Dr. Susan Woskie
Tuesdays 3:30-6:20pm


CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies
Dr. Charles Kirchofer

CRIM.5720 Comparative Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Dr. James Forest

CRIM.5780  Intelligence Analysis Policy and Practice
Mr. Chris Hickey

CRIM.5660 Transportation Systems Safety and Security
Mr. Gary Gordon

CRIM.5730 Threat Assessment and Risk Management
Dr. Jarret Brachman

CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security
Dr. Tim Croft

CRIM.5900 Descriptive & Inferential Statistics
Dr. Jason Rydberg

CRIM.5910 Research Design
Dr. Kareem Jordan

CRIM.6500 Violence in America
Dr. Carol Higgins-O’Brien

CRIM.6580 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security
Mr. Scott McGann

CRIM.6680 Scientific & Technological Dimensions of National Security
Dr. David Boyd

CRIM.6660 Terrorism Networks
Dr. Arie Perliger

CRIM.6990 Capstone Research Paper/Project
Dr. James Forest

MSIT.5140 Systems Security and Auditing
Dr. Thomas Cummings

MSIT.5450 Designing and Building a Cybersecurity Program
Dr. Lawrence Wilson

MSIT.5620 Computer Network Security
Dr. Jie Want

MSIT.5620 Digital Forensics
Dr. Xinwen Fu

CTSS Internships, Fall 2016 – Applications due May 1st

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UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) is seeking highly motivated students to become involved in the CTSS Internship. CTSS is offering one 3-credit internship (CRIM 4960) that focuses on issues of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the United States. This internship give students applied experience of collecting, coding and analyzing data on terrorist offenders and terrorist attacks.

Click Here for Complete Details


JM Berger visit to Lowell

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ISIS: The State of Terror, with J.M. Berger
Author’s book signing and discussion

When: April 13th, 7pm
Where: HyperText Bookstore, 107 Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01852

J.M. Berger is a fellow with George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. He is researcher, analyst and consultant, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and use of social media. Berger is co-author of the critically acclaimed ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern and author of Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement. Berger publishes the web site and has written for Politico, The Atlantic and Foreign Policy, among others. He was previously a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and an associate fellow with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.

Recent media appearances

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Here are some recent media appearances and quotes by CTSS team members:


Neil Shortland, interview on Al-Jazeera English (Dec. 7, 2015)

Joel Day, interview on TRI World (Nov. 19, 2015)


Neil Shortland, interview on Al-Jazeera English (Dec. 3, 2015)

James Forest, Daily Beast interview (Nov. 24, 2015)

Joel Day, Radio Interview, “Terrorism Expert Weighs In on Paris Attacks.” KGO News San Francisco (ABC), November 16, 2015.

Joel Day, Television Interview, “U.S. Remains Vigilant In Investigating ISIS After Paris Attacks,” WHDH Chanel 7 News (NBC) November 16, 2015.

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Terrorist Magazines Report

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Online Terrorist Magazines:
A report from the Cyberterrorism Project (Swansea) in collaboration with UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism & Security Studies:

Law Enforcement Job Websites

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Here are a few links (courtesy of Dave Twomey, a Ph.D. student in the Ph.D. program, Terrorism Studies Option) for people who are interested in a career in municipal and state law enforcement. We’ll post more links and other resources here as they are sent to us via email:

ISSS Reception Slideshow “About the CTSS”

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Here is the Powerpoint slideshow that we presented during the CTSS-sponsored reception at the 2015 meeting of the International Security Studies Section/International Security and Arms Control in Springfield, MA.

Slideshow for ISSS-ISAC 2015