Marshall Center Professors Join Forces for new Counterterrorism Book, Dedicate it to PTSS Founder
By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (June 8, 2016) – For almost three years, Professors James Wither and Dr. Sam Mullins collaborated on a counterterrorism book to replace the five-year-old text book used at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies’ premier Program on Terrorism and Security Studies.
“We wanted to produce a book tailored to PTSS students, who are counterterrorism practitioners rather than scholars and who particularly are not native English speakers,” said Wither, professor of National Security Studies at the Marshall Center.
The book, “Combatting Transnational Terrorism,” provides a comprehensive foundation for the study of contemporary terrorism. It includes 16 chapters and 32 case studies, and is divided into two parts – “Understanding the Threat” and “Counterterrorism” – each containing eight chapters. All the chapters are written by Marshall Center professors or PTSS alumni.
“James and I wanted to make sure that the book would appeal to a global audience of security sector professionals, as well as our students,” said Mullins, professor of counterterrorism at the Marshall Center. “We drew upon the combined practical and academic experience of the authors to present complex topics in a way that is accessible to an international audience.”
Mullins added that each chapter utilizes case studies of terrorism and counterterrorism from around the world, highlighting the transnational nature of the threat and the need for a global, cooperative response.
But, it was much more than a text book to them. It is a dedication to the man who helped create the Marshall Center’s PTSS program – U.S. Marine Col. (Ret.) Nichols “Nick” Pratt.
Pratt conceived of, created and implemented PTSS at the Marshall Center in 2004. While still the PTSS course director, he died suddenly in December 2013.
Inside the book is a dedication to Pratt from the Marshall Center’s Director U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Keith Dayton:
“As a professional educator, Nick taught and enriched the lives of hundreds of security professionals from around the world. He founded the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS) shortly after 9/11 and was its director for more than a decade. PTSS was and remains the Marshall Center’s most prestigious course.”
PTSS is a four-week resident program that supports the Marshall Center's increasing emphasis on transnational threats and challenges.
“We started planning for this book in February 2014, soon after Nick died,” said Wither, who worked with Pratt here at the Marshall Center since 2000. “We had to secure funding, find authors and contract a publisher. The main period of writing occurred between March and September 2015. Each chapter had to be read by both of us, edited, sent back to the author for approval, and then edited further.”
Mullins said this book will support PTSS for years to come.
“It provides the foundational material, which is always going to be essential to understanding terrorism and counterterrorism so it could possibly have a long shelf life, up to five years” said Mullins. “But then again, things are constantly changing and developing. No one could have predicted where we are now with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq two years ago. It’s very important to keep up to date and to capture new events and developments as they occur, which this book does now.”