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Brussels’ Terror Attacks Highlight Difficulties in Monitoring Unprotected Areas

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 24, 2016) – Another terrorist attack in Europe has left hundreds of victims in its wake and a nation mourning. The Brussels suicide bombings have left at least 31 dead and 270 injured. The attackers appear to have targeted large gathering areas that were unprotected: an airport entryway and ticket counter, and a train right after it left the metro station.

Brussels in mourning after terror attack
Belgium is in mourning after terror attacks left more than 300 people dead or injured.

In the wake of this tragedy, University at Albany faculty experts are monitoring and analyzing the situation. These scholars are available to discuss the challenges facing law enforcement both in the U.S. and in Europe as they grapple with the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as well as other known terrorist organizations.

UAlbany is also home to the first-of-its-kind College of Emergency Preparedness, Cybersecurity and Homeland Security. The College is designed to maintain New York's position as a front-runner in state and national security. With nationally recognized experts in homeland security training and cybersecurity research and education, UAlbany is an established partner in public health preparedness with the State's Department of Health and UAlbany's School of Public Health.

The University’s terrorism experts include:

  • Victor Asal, associate professor of political science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy: Asal is an expert on the interaction of international relations and domestic politics and how this interaction influences ethnic conflict and ethnic terrorism.
  • Richard Lachmann, professor of sociology at College of Arts and Sciences: Lachmann is an expert on political sociology, war and terrorism. Lachmann can discuss the role of “Islamophobia” in recruitment of terrorists to join ISIS.
  • Brian Nussbaum, assistant professor of public administration and policy at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy: Nussbaum is an expert on cybersecurity and cyber threats, terrorism and terrorism analysis, homeland security, risk and intelligence analysis and critical infrastructure protection.
  • Rey Koslowski, associate professor of political science, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy: Koslowski's primary teaching and research interests are in the field of international relations dealing with international organization, European integration, international migration, information technology, and homeland security.
  • Blanca Ramos, associate professor, School of Social Welfare: Ramos, an expert on cross-cultural social work and immigration, examines the role of post-traumatic stress in victims of disasters, including terrorist attacks. Ramos, an affiliated faculty member of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, can discuss the responses, experiences, health concerns and adjustments of survivors in the aftermath of major disasters.
  • Karl Rethemeyer, interim dean, Rockefeller College: Rethemeyer's primary research interest is in social networks, both their impact on social, political, and policy processes, and the methods used to study such networks.

Asal and Rethemeyer have teamed together on a project to enable a better understanding of how terrorist organizations network and function over time. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has launched the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD) online platform. The innovative new tool features updated, vetted and sourced narratives, and relationship information and social network data on 50 of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world since 1998, with additional network information on more than 100 organizations.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.