Course Spotlight: Introduction to Terrorism

Florida Tech’s BA in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security program focuses on real-world topics and career-specific knowledge, including the detection, investigation, interception and mitigation of threats to our nation’s infrastructure and security.

An essential part of this curriculum is the HSC2011 Introduction to Terrorism course, which overviews a history of terrorism, examines terrorist acts and groups, and outlines the importance of intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism activities.

The course was recently updated with new material to ensure students are learning about the latest terrorism and counterterrorism operations. It now features R. Craig Bates as the primary lecturer and instructor. Bates is a retired FBI Special Agent, Supervisor and Unit Chief with over 21 years of service. He focused on international counterterrorism investigations, including implementing strategic plans for counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as in Afghanistan, Scotland, Germany, Jordan, Kenya and many other countries.

In bringing his level of expertise to the course, Bates says that this class will benefit “anyone that is interested in the threats terrorist pose to us,” from law enforcement to all first responders.

And that’s not just kinetic threats – there are many factors contributing to terrorism both internationally and domestically that students will explore in this course. Learning about terrorism in this format is critical, Bates says, because “…we need people who can take on a big, hairy, complex problem, do some critical thinking, and come up with a way to use all the technology that we have to identify and thwart activities by terrorists in the U.S. without stomping on the constitutional rights of our citizens…We have to do everything we can to stay ahead of them.”

Bates interviews two subject matter experts whom he has known for decades to provide students with high-level knowledge on the complex issues students will discover in the class. One interview is with Lieutenant General Michael Nagata, who is the Director, Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counterterrorism Center. The other is with Major General James Linder, Chief of Staff, Special Operations Command. Bates served in the Army with each of them and he also worked with them to synchronize FBI, CIA and DOD capabilities in support of counterterrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

“It’s uncommon for students to have an opportunity to hear directly from experts about the terrorism problem-set – experts who have spent over thirty years fighting terrorism threats arrayed against our nation. They can speak from the tactical level to the strategy level, and I thought that would be really a critical piece for the students to have an opportunity to listen to and see how they define the problems both domestically and internationally, and how they use problem solving to identify viable solutions.”

Are you interested in learning more about the BA in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security? Click here.

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