UNC-Chapel Hill SealThe Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) is a collaboration of efforts from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International. Their mission is to “enhance the understanding of terrorism and the means to combat it through education, research and the development of partnerships between universities, industry and government.

TCTHS released their sixth annual report on Muslim-American terrorism suspects in February 2015.  This report analyzes the twenty-five Muslim-Americans (five minors) who were associated with violent terrorism in 2014, bringing the total since 9/11 to 250. Five of these individuals traveled, and fourteen attempted to travel, “to join designated terrorist organizations in Syria or (in one case) Yemen.” This leaves just six of…

Demographics of International Students in the U.S.

The diversity and quality of American educational institutions set the international standard. Among others, these two characteristics currently galvanize over 1.1 million foreign students to pursue studies at American colleges, private elementary/high schools, vocational schools, and other academic institutions. These students must possess student visas, which are monitored by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and documented in their Information System (SEVIS).

ICE recently released the program's quarterly report entitled SEVIS by the Numbers. The report focuses on two classifications of nonimmigrant visas. Nonimmigrants are defined as "[people] entering the United States to visit, study or work temporarily, but not to stay permanently." The categories are:

  • F-1 nonimmigrant: Visas granted to foreign nationals…

Learning From the Past: FBI Releases Final Report of the 9/11 Review Commission

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released today the final report and recommendations of the 9/11 Review Commission. The comprehensive document is a historical overview and projection for the future - as noted in the title, "The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century." This was a congressionally mandated review focusing on the FBI’s implementation of the recommendations proposed by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). In January 2014, the 9/11 Review Commission was tasked to report on:

  1. An assessment of the progress made, and challenges in implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that are related to the FBI.
  2. An analysis of the FBI’s response to trends of domestic terror attacks since

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

Drug Pile The 2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, was submitted to Congress.  Volume 1, Drugs and Chemical Control, describes steps taken by over 80  governments (from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014) to protect their citizens  from the harmful effects of drugs. The report covers different aspects of the fight, such  as legislation, reforming state institutions, treatment programs, international  cooperation, and combating drug trafficking. Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes, covers the steps taken by the largest money laundering countries, to improve anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regimes. 

The World of Tomorrow and the Rise of Individual Criminal Entrepreneurs

Satellite sending a signal around the Earth.The European Police Office (Europol) presented their view on the future of serious and organized crime in the European Union this month with the report “Exploring Tomorrow’s Organised Crime”. The release of this report comes at an opportune time for EU policymakers. The first full multi-annual policy cycle on serious and organized crime entered its third year in 2015, and as such now is an ideal time to look ahead and identify key trends and developments that will shape law enforcement and the wider environment of serious and organized crime.

Europol and law enforcement agencies across the world face a unique challenge in organized crime groups (OCGs). “Organised crime is dynamic and adaptable and law enforcement authorities across the…

Forward, Engaged, Ready: A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower

The United States Navy recently released their Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower report. Since their last issue from 2007, there has been a boatload of changes regarding security, environment and strategy. Referencing the 2014 Quadrennial Defense and Homeland Security Reviews, maritime strategy continues to, "advance our national interests in an increasingly complex and interdependent world." In this Cooperative Strategy report, the following topics are discussed: "The Global Security Environment" (focusing on Geopolitical Changes and Military Challenges), "Forward Presence and Partnership", "Seapower in Support of National Security", and "Force Design: Building the Future Force." This Cooperative Strategy describes how the U.S. Navy is equipped with the most advanced technology and is always within close proximity to

Speaking for the Future: Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Offers Final Recommendations

American FlagMost readers will recall where they were when they first heard the news: “Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting Leaves 28 Dead”. A wave of grief and horror poured over the American public as the news spread.

“On December 14, 2012, one of the most vicious and incomprehensible domestic attacks in American history occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.”1 This attack ended in the loss of life of twenty children, six adult staff members, the attacker and his mother. This attack became the second-deadliest in U.S. history, after Virginia Tech. Public opinion was that though the nation had grown darkly accustomed to public shootings (such as the movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO, in July 2012), the horror…

Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response

Ebola virusIn February, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released a report titled, Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response. Although the Ebola epidemic in western Africa no longer dominates national news headlines, issues concerning Ebola and its ethical implications remain relevant. This relevancy is based on the need to acknowledge and integrate a morally acceptable public health response to the disease. Not only does the U.S. government have a responsibility to U.S. citizens in regards to Ebola and ethics readiness, but there also exists the responsibility of the government to contribute to ethics preparedness on a global scale.

In the Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response report, "…the Bioethics Commission offers seven recommendations…

Cyber-attack at 35,000ft

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report to congressional requesters titled “FAA Needs to Address Weaknesses in Air Traffic Control Systems.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensures the advancement, safety, and regulation of civil aviation, as well as the development of the air traffic control (ATC) system. They do this by providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world, the national airspace system (NAS).

GAO performed this system review of FAA’s information security program in order to “evaluate the extent to which FAA had effectively implemented information security controls to protect its air traffic control systems.” GAO did this by reviewing FAA policies, procedures, and practices and comparing these to the relevant federal law…

Laughing All the Way to the Bank: ISIL's Illicit Finances

One of the reasons the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has risen to prominence so quickly is because of their ability to acquire resources. While their violent tactics and their tech-savvy propaganda videos are what catch the eye of the mainstream media, it is the surplus of illicitly acquired assets that allows them to overtly control such a vast area of territory.

Recently the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its report titled Financing of the Terrorist Organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as a "snapshot of the revenue sources and financial activities of ISIL." FATF utilizes data from a variety of international sources including the United Nations and defense agencies from multiple countries. The…