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Preparing the Next Generation of Defenders

Preparing the Next Generation of Defenders

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Published by Dan Feidt

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Published by: Dan Feidt on Sep 16, 2010
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 Vol.14, No.4Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International www.iacsp.com 
Preparingthe Next Generationof Defenders
By Charles and Rebecca Loftus
 FOB WARHORSE, Iraq (Sept. 10, 2008) PettyOfficer 2nd Class Jason Jordan,assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EOD MU) 12, practices reflexive firing during a periodicweapons assessment at Forward Operating BaseWarhorse. The assessment allows EOD team membersthe opportunity to ensure optimal weapon performancewhile maintaining combat readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by MassCommunication Specialist 1st Class Mario A. Quiroga/Released)
The Global War on Terror is unlike any other war the United States has fought. We are battlingnon-government combatants and the durationof this war will endure well past the careers of current defenders. Recognizing that the torchneeds to be passed to the next generation, it iscritical that experts in the field prepare the suc-cessive generation.Since the War on Terror is not limited to gov-ernment agencies, the class was geared towardstudents from a variety of degree fields: emer-gency management, foreign service, militaryservice, intelligence, political science, criminal justice, and victim services/grief management.Additionally, this struggle involves private in-dustry and protection of infrastructure as well.Indeed, there is a demand for professionals inthis area, so the need is not limited to militaryand government service.There is a strong need to create a bridge be-tween academics and practitioners in this field.Although a solid background in the theoriesof aggression, political issues and history areimportant, a practical application is also neces-sary. Practitioners need to be given a soundtransition into whatever field they choose, andthis program provides unparalleled access toreal-life examples. ITRR was able to fill thesegaps with its treasure chest of experts.The ASU delegation included both traditionalstudents and students who are current practi-tioners such as military officers, ROTC cadetsand police officers. Many of this latter groupattended to increase their skill level and seewhat they could bring back to their agencies.While counter-terrorism training is offered inthe United States, it is rare for the facilitatorsto include international experts who have per-sonally experienced this type of attack or dealtwith its consequences. The program offered adifferent focus for students from the latter cat-egory (including weapons training and defensivetactics). Because of the sensitive nature of thematerial and because some students did not wantto be exposed to this material, it was not offeredto the traditional students.
Why Israel?
Israel was chosen for a multitude of reasons,not the least of which is the country’s long his-tory of fighting terrorism. Israel’s defenders(e.g. police, military, intelligence) have been protecting the country against hostile forcesfor approximately 60 years. This time frameeasily exceeds the professional career of over 3generations. This delegation sought to tap intothis vast reservoir of knowledge and experience because our generation of defenders in theUS is close to or in the process of retirement.Indeed, in the seven years since the attackson September 11, those who entered the frayare close to the midpoint of their careers. Theones already involved are close toretirement or already retired. Thus,there is a need to prepare not onlythe next generation, but succeedinggenerations of defenders.Israel was also selected because itis the only true democracy in theregion, and its institutions and ser-vices are regularly tested by hostileforces. Seeing firsthand how theneed for national security is bal-anced against civil liberties gavestudents insight into how the twoconcepts can co-exist. In addition,as a democracy, Israel exhibits someof the same weaknesses as the US(e.g. polarized politics, corruption,and vocal activists).Moreover, few civilian institutions provide specialized instruction to prepare students for the practicalcareer. While this delegation of ASUstudents was granted unprecedentedaccess to security operations not gen-erally open to other student groups,this level of access is not available tosimilar groups in the United States. Thanksto ITRR’s connections in Israeli governmentand industry, access was made.Israel and Arizona share a number of character-istics including a warm, dry climate. But thetwo regions also face similar issues relating toinfrastructure and border security, immigration,and scarcity of water resources. Many of thesolutions the Israelis have implemented could be applicable in the Southwestern United States,even in non-security related fields. For example,the Israeli requirement for solar hot water heatersfor all newly constructed residences could savetremendous amounts of energy.Issues related to security walls were also a con-sideration in selecting Israel as the destinationfor this study abroad program. With the presentconstruction of the US-Mexico security wall,anticipation of similar threats and attempted breaches were examined during the course of the program. At a time in the US where crimescommitted by illegal immigrants are increas-ingly in the news, Israel’s drop in violent crimeafter construction of its security walls made astrong argument in favor of similar structuresat US borders.So, choosing Israel as the location for this studyabroad program made sense for a number of  practical reasons.
Focus on Suicide Attacks
Particular interest was focused on suicide bomb-ers/attackers, a subject with which Jerusalemhas unfortunately become all too familiar.
 A study abroad seminar in Israel might not be the rst
choice for many college students, but the delegationfrom Arizona State University that traveled to Israelin July 2008 was not composed of the typical
college students. In its rst counter-terrorism class
in Jerusalem, Israel, ASU’s goal was to introducemodern intelligence and counter-terrorism techniquesto a select population of students: the next generationof defenders.
Need to Fill the Gap
The seminar was coordinated in partnership with theInstitute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR).This joint partnership provided a unique opportunityfor students to learn from experts with hands-on
experience in the eld of counter terror. Moreover,
students were given access to locations not normallyaccessible to citizens of Israel, let alone tourists or other student groups.
Israel was also selected because it is theonly true democracy in the region, and itsinstitutions and services are regularly tested
by hostile forces. Seeing rsthand how the
need for national security is balancedagainst civil liberties gave students insightinto how the two concepts can co-exist. Inaddition, as a democracy, Israel exhibitssome of the same weaknesses as the US(e.g. polarized politics, corruption, andvocal activists).

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