Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS) Graphic

Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS)

The PTSS resident program, offered two times per year, is designed to promote intellectual interoperability and common understanding around the transnational nature of terrorism and violent extremism and their global effects. The course, which brings about 80 international participants together for four weeks at the Marshall Center, aims to strengthen  the understanding of the motivations, methodologies, and capabilities of modern terrorist groups and their role within the context of irregular warfare; to improve  partner capacity to utilize and implement available international tools to develop effective national CT strategies and policies; to create, build, and sustain  an interconnected transnational network  of security professionals who can collaborate in the effort to combat global terrorism and violent extremism.

The four-week program, with participants from over 50 countries, is intended for government officials, police, and military and security service officers employed in mid- and upper-level leadership positions of counter-terrorism organizations or agencies throughout the world. It focuses on familiarizing participants with the major contemporary threats from terrorism and violent extremism and helps develop an understanding and familiarity with the wide range of capabilities available to a nation state to defeat or minimize this threat while adhering to democratic norms and principles. The PTSS intent is to enable individual nations to successfully cooperate and coordinate efforts to strengthen and sustain an international combating-terrorism effort and develop habits of cooperation and collaboration beyond their border.

The “Marshall Center Experience” is the opportunity for a diverse group of participants to live and learn together while also sharing their individual expertise, experience, and knowledge. Through this experience, the PTSS program hopes to foster “intellectual interoperability” that transcends national borders and enables national security officials to better collaborate and coordinate both within and across international boundaries. Specifically, the PTSS:

  • Enrolls participants as alumni in a global network of CT experts and practitioners;
  • Develops and strengthens human and intellectual capacity to understand and analyze the mechanisms of terrorism and the strategies to defeat it;
  • Improves the Counterterrorism capabilities and capacities of partner nations;
  • Cultivates an understanding of the tensions between operational effectiveness and the protection of civil liberties, the rule of law; and democratic governance;
  • Educates participants about the shared global threats from contemporary terrorism and violent extremism and the challenges that need to be overcome to combat them.

With its focus on the development of core knowledge and skills, PTSS provides critical professional development in these sub-fields of terrorism studies:

  • Introduction to Concepts and Theory of the Study of Terrorism and violent extremism within larger context of irregular warfare.
  • Terrorist Motivations and strategies
  • Terrorism Radicalization and Recruitment
  • The Use of Security Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Intelligence-Led Operations against Terrorism
  • The Role of Civil Society in Counterterrorism
  • Countering Violent Extremism
  • Countering Terrorist Narratives
  • Global Cooperation and transnational collaboration

The PTSS curriculum is balanced between lectures and seminars, and makes use of inside and outside experts, including CT practitioners, whose presentations about contemporary challenges helps participants put theory into practice. The Program also regularly utilizes the PTSS alumni network as presenters or as adjunct faculty. The PTSS schedule supports active learning and participant engagements through lectures, seminars, discussions, group projects, simulations/exercises, and individual research projects.

PTSS (Program on Terrorism and Security Studies) Field Study TV Spot
(DOD Video)
Global Counterterrorism Workshop Builds the Team, Explores Increasing Role of Women
(DOD Video)

English Language Enhancement Courses (ELEC)

The Marshall Center has its own language school – Partner Language Center Europe, which offers advanced and specialized classroom instruction in Arabic, English, French, Persian-Farsi, and Russian to more than 400 U.S. military and NATO/Partner attendees each year. Included in this are faculty professional development courses in language testing and classroom instruction and assessment. It is also a certified NATO Partner Training and Education Center. Contact the Registrar office for details on ELEC courses.

Course Details

George C. Marshall Center - European Center for Security Studies
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
How to Register

For application and deadline information, contact Marshall Center Registrar, your ministry point of contact, or the U.S. or German Embassy in your capital city.

Course Language