Mercyhurst intel studies nets half million dollar contract for antiterrorism training


Once again, the U.S. State Department’s Office of Antiterrorism Assistance (DS/ATA) is collaborating with the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University (IIS-MU) to fight international terrorism.

The State Department has awarded a $578,694 contract to the Mercyhurst institute to design and deliver antiterrorism training courses to law enforcement agencies in its partner nations, announced institute executive director James Breckenridge, Ph.D.

“Recent events in Boston and the unprecedented warning given by the State Department on the current terrorist threat in the Middle East point to the absolute need for the courses we have been asked to redesign and deliver,” Breckenridge said. “Mercyhurst has been selected because of our national reputation in the field and our record of delivering a timely and quality product. These courses assist leaders and analysts in preparing for and preventing terrorist and criminal activity that threaten public safety.”

Specifically, Breckenridge said, the agreement funds the update and revision of two courses previously produced by Mercyhurst for the State Department: Integrating Counterterrorism Strategies at the National Level, and Identifying and Developing Investigative Information.  This marks the second time the State Department has chosen Mercyhurst for this international initiative.

Since 2007, Mercyhurst intel faculty have designed antiterrorism training programs, including entire scripts, slides and supporting materials, and delivered them to law enforcement agencies in Latin America, Africa and Asia, specifically Uganda, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia and  Trinidad, among others.  As part of the original five-year contract, the courses were presented to audiences ranging from high-level policy and decision-makers to senior and mid-level officers. Instruction has focused on everything from analysis techniques for effectively dealing with local threats like organized crime and human trafficking, to using analytical resources to better detect, deter and prevent terrorism.

Breckenridge credited faculty, in particular Dawn Wozneak, director of the applied intelligence graduate program, and Mercyhurst students with being instrumental in developing the courses.  Students, he noted, derive great benefit from the opportunity to interact with high-level decision-makers within the federal government and take a skills set learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-life global problem. David Grabelski, chair of the intelligence studies department, along with Breckenridge, have been the primary course instructors.

The new contract is for 18 months, beginning July 2013.

PHOTO: James Breckenridge, Ph.D.

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