This course is designed as a survey of organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism posing enduring threats to the U.S. national security. It addresses the multiple ways, in which these criminal activities and organizations intersect, and the U.S. government national and international responses. The goal of this course is to offer an overview and analysis of the nature, trends, and sources of organized crime and terrorism in the U.S., federal and local agencies responsible for preventing and responding to these threats, and the U.S. government counter-trafficking and counter-terrorism strategies and responses. By introducing students to the body of the academic and policy literature, and strategic documents on homeland security and by providing them with an opportunity to engage in analysis and assessment of selected homeland security policies of the United States, this course lays foundation for future independent work and continued exploration of these issues.
The course explores the convergence of transnational terrorist and organized criminal threats to the United States and Unified Action responses to contain or defeat them. While links between terrorism and organized crime are now widely acknowledged, the nature of the nexus and ways in which it challenges international peace and security are poorly understood. This U.S. Office of Naval Research MINERVA sponsored pilot elective addresses the knowledge gap. First, it explores the nature of terrorism-criminal nexus – conceptually, substantively in terms of specific criminal activities, and across geographic regions. Second, the elective examines the conditions under which terrorist-trafficking alliances are forged and changed, and how the nexus influences the dynamics and strategies of terrorist organizations. Finally, the elective assesses the capacity of the United States government to prevent, monitor, disrupt, or dismantle the crime-terror nexus. Upon completion, students will be able to contribute policy-relevant assessments of the crime-terror convergence and recommend changes to the DoD approaches to terrorism and conflict.