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Summer Simulation Course Tackles the Foiling of Terrorists

CEHC creates immersive group training that allows students to get into the minds and planning of terrorist cells.

CEHC students this summer, guided by counter-terrorism professionals, will inspect case studies of successful terrorist attacks, and also ones, through law enforcement coordination, that were thwarted.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 5, 2016) - Without argument, experts agree that stopping an impending terrorist attack before it occurs is better than having to rely upon a rapid response afterward. Efforts to stop an attack, they say, can be significantly improved by first understanding how terrorists plan and prepare.

One of the best ways to develop this understanding is through immersive simulation training — using a “Red-Team” approach.

In a College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) course scheduled this summer from July 18 – August 12, counter-terrorism experts will guide students through red-team style simulations involving foreign terrorist cells, lone-wolf actors, and domestic extremists as these “terrorists” plan, prepare, and rehearse potential attacks.

The offering, “Building Security and Preparedness: Counter-Terrorism through the Eyes of a Terrorist,” is the second iteration of CEHC’s simulation course. (The first, “Simulation: Building Security and Preparedness,” was held this spring.) It will consist of three weeks online and one week of immersive simulation training in person from August 1-5.

Part of the course will involve selected case studies that will be used to help students learn how real world attacks were carried out by terrorists. These will include the attacks that occurred in Mumbai (2008), Boston (2013), Paris (2015), San Bernardino (2015), and Brussels (2016).

In addition, the counter-terrorism experts will present students with other potential attacks that were “foiled” before they occurred. Finally, the experts will help the students develop a familiarization for types of weapons, IEDs, and tactics that have been used by terrorists.

Applying the red-team approach, the simulation will enable students to take on the role of terrorist planning cells intending to attack domestic targets. This approach will immerse the students into the classic terrorist attack cycle, including target selection, weapons and tactics selection, surveillance, rehearsal, the attack, and exploitation. The simulations will conclude with discussions about indicators that might be observed that could help interdict each attack before it happens.

The course is open to juniors and seniors, with a preference given to those with GPAs of 3.25 or over. Funding is available for housing, food, and transportation. Students can register by emailing Rick Mathews, CEHC’s director of simulations and behavioral-based training, for a permission number. They can find more information at the course description site.

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