The Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS ) addresses numerous aspects of a threat that confronts nations around the globe. The five-week course is designed for military officers, government officials and police administrators currently working in mid- and upper-level management positions of counterterrorism organizations throughout the world.
PTSS focuses on how a state can effectively combat terrorism but still adhere to the fundamental values of a democratic society. It helps participants appreciate the nature and magnitude of today's threat, develop a common understanding of the definition of terrorism and establish contacts within the counterterrorism community. By developing common grounds of knowledge, understanding and contacts among participants-an "intellectual interoperability"-PTSS improves national security officials' ability to cooperate internationally to counter the aspects of terrorism that transcend national borders.
PTSS is divided into an introductory segment and five modules: a historical and theoretical overview of terrorism, the vulnerabilities of terror groups, the role of law, the financing of terrorism, and security cooperation.
Throughout these modules, the course emphasizes several recurring themes:
Leadership and ethics: how educated, disciplined leaders can meet the moral challenges of terrorism and catalyze its suppression.
Globalization: how globalization contributes to terrorism by accelerating and magnifying contacts between terrorists and illicit actors, but how it can also contribute to the solution by encouraging cooperation among diverse actors and networks that counter terrorist organizations.
Countering ideological support for terrorism: how cooperation among the global community in encouraging principles and philosophies anchored in justice, moderation, and tolerance may wean disaffected populations away from ideologies of hatred, destruction and death.
Weapons of mass destruction: how terrorism's most deadly threat may now be less a matter of if than when and where.
Competing angles of analysis: how terrorism and responses to terrorism are seen through various terms of reference, including those of domestic and international law, moral and ethical issues, roles of non-state actors, national interest, and the national interests of Realpolitik.
PTSS features presentations by prominent military and government officials and internationally renowned scholars. The course also includes a field study that gives participants a view of a selected country's counterterrorism policies in action.
Through this curriculum, participants will develop a framework of action to combat terrorism as they pursue their careers. Graduates will find they have learned not what to think, but how to think about the complexities of our rapidly shrinking globe and the questions they should ask as national security officials.