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Terrorism Studies - Certificate / Advanced Certificate / Individual Modules

Get a thorough understanding of terrorism and counter-terrorism

Starts 16th February 2021

Core Module - compulsory for those taking Certificate/Advanced Certificate

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Key Issues in Terrorism and Political Violence
Explores the concept of terrorism, the types of terrorism and prominent terrorist groups, before evaluating the international measures to curb terrorism and exploring the role of business and media sectors in countering terrorist activities, while examining emerging trends in terrorism.

Participants critically examine:

  • The features of terrorism and the different types of terrorists.
  • The impact and effectiveness of terrorism as a political weapon
  • Responses to terrorism: the international community, the democratic dilemma, and crisis and consequences management
  • The background and characteristics of Al Qaeda, its offshoots and other jihadist groups including IS
  • The threat to the international community and key features of effective international response
  • Requirements from the public, media and private sector in effectively countering terrorist threats
  • Emerging trends in terrorism post the 9/11 attack on the US

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1 - Gain an overall introductory perspective to terrorism and the various types of terrorists
  • Week 2 - Understand the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of the various democratic and international responses to terrorism
  • Week 3 - Understand the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation. Recognise effective strategies to counter the network
  • Week 4 - Appreciate the necessity of a structured and effective response from the public, media and private sector in countering terrorism
Elective Modules

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Terrorist Ideologies, Aims, Beliefs & Motivations
Focuses on the ideologies that motivate individuals and groups to resort to terrorism. The module also describes the use of various propaganda methods by terrorist groups and examines the global trends in terrorist activities. Understanding the terrorist mind-set is critical to countering terrorism effectively and enhances a participant's analytical ability by identifying the various strains of influence within today's terrorist groups and networks.

In this module, participants learn about:

  • Ideologies that motivate terrorism and the formation of terrorist groups
  • Other motivational factors including psychological, economic and cultural factors
  • The terrorists’ worldview and the transmission of its propaganda through the media and the role of propaganda in recruitment
  • Different interpretations of events from the terrorist perspective and assess the impact of ideology
  • Potential future ideological trends in terrorism

The module is designed to be studied in four weeks:

  • Week 1: Understand the different types of ideologies that motivate terrorists and be able to classify terrorist groups according to ideological orientation
  • Week 2: Get an overview of possible motivations other than ideological, such as those based on psychological, economic and cultural factors or the nature of a state’s response
  • Week 3: Get an overview of the transmission of the terrorist's worldview through propaganda by learning about the methods used to spread propaganda and recognising the use of terrorist ideology in interpreting world events
  • Week 4: Understand the impact of propaganda in facilitating terrorist recruitment, outline some of the methods of recruitment, and get a brief understanding of potential future ideological trends in terrorism

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Terrorist Weapons and Tactics
One of the great challenges of responding to terrorism, as well as studying it as a phenomenon, is that terrorist tactics change over time. Although many core elements stay the same, the means by which terrorist campaigns are conducted changes with time. This may result from security officials gaining a familiarity with new methods, or the adaptation of existing tactics to generate greater attention and renown. This module traces the development of terrorist tactics to examine the weapons and tactics terrorists use, how they have changed and why they have changed.

Upon completing this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the history of terrorist weaponry and tactics
  • Discuss key trends in terrorists tactical innovation, including the use of simultaneous attacks and the use of suicide tactics
  • Describe how (and why) terrorists have used explosives, firearms and knives in their violent actions
  • Explain how terrorist tactics evolve over time, and the key factors that bring about terrorist tactical innovation
  • Explain how tactics spread across conflicts and time periods
  • Describe how (and why) terrorists have use tactics such as skyjacking, hostage-takings and vehicle ramming
  • Critically discuss some of the responses to tactical innovations by states, and consider their effectiveness.
  • Explain why some tactics are abandoned as time progresses
  • Critically assess the likelihood that terrorists would seek to use CBRN weapons in their campaigns.

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Gain an overview of the “traditional” terrorist structure and the “new” terrorist network by studying case studies of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) campaign during ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland from 1970, and Al Qaeda and the Global Salafi Jihad mainly from 9/11 onwards
  • Week 2: Understand the impact of ideology on terrorist tactics by studying case studies of the IRA and Al Qaeda and the Global Salafi Jihad
  • Week 3: Learn about the various tactics that terrorists have used and understand the impact of state responses on terrorist tactics
  • Week 4: Appreciate the debate on the relationship between the media and terrorism, and be able to consider the possible future trends in terrorist tactics

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International Policing Policy
Introduces students to the functions that comprise a policing response to terror, and assesses the issues that complicate the law enforcement community’s ability to deliver them. It considers the importance of the historical and political context of policing policy in different social settings, the various groups to whom it must answer, and the diverse priorities of different governing bodies.

Key themes in this module include:

  • Roles and responsibilities that should be incorporated into policing policies intended to counter terrorism
  • How the early needs of different societies have led to the development of different policing models, and how these models affect national security and public safety policing policy options
  • The advantages and disadvantages of different policing approaches to counterterrorism
  • An overview of various national counterterrorism policing policies from around the world
  • The concept of supranational policing, policies and organisations
  • The effect of new technologies on counterterrorism policing policy
  • How policing policies address the balancing of civil liberties

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Introduction to the concept of organised policing in counter terrorism. Get an overview of government measures currently employed in countries with non-centralised policing arrangements such as the US, Australia and Europe
  • Week 2: Understand current approaches to countering terrorism based on a case study of the UK model and further studies of counter terrorism strategies of various European and non-European countries
  • Week 3: Be aware of the importance of intelligence and intelligence gathering. Gain an understanding of the role of the media, and of community policing. Get an overview of the role of the military in countering serious terrorist incidents
  • Week 4: Learn about the role (and limitations) of technology in countering terrorism. Get an overview of recent developments in countering terrorism, as well as new trends of terrorism

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Aviation Terrorism & Security
Beginning with a brief historical survey of aviation terrorism from Lockerbie to 9/11 and beyond, this module examines aviation terrorism from both theoretical and tactical perspectives. It discusses the prevailing and potential threats to civil aviation and the measures required to counter them.

Essential topics covered include:

  • A history of terrorist attacks against aviation both in the air and on the ground
  • Why aviation remains a key terrorist target and the need for effective aviation security
  • The evolution of aviation terrorism including hijack and sabotage bombing
  • The severity of the threat posed to civil aviation by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda
  • Emerging threats, the need for awareness and advanced measures in countering aviation terrorism
  • How governments, law enforcement, terrorist groups and the public have changed their views and approach to aviation and terrorism since 9/11
  • Analysis of physical security and intelligence measures aimed at preventing aviation attacks
  • Possible future threats of aviation terrorist attacks and potential security measures

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Gain an insight into the historical evolution of modern civil aviation terrorism and an understanding of the hijack attack method
  • Week 2: Gain an understanding of the ground attack and bombing method of attack, and examine why aviation remains a desired target for terrorist groups
  • Week 3: Gain an understanding of the different security measures employed to prevent terrorist attacks
  • Week 4: Assess how the perception of aviation and terrorism has changed since 9/11 and the developing solutions aimed at strengthening aviation security

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Maritime Terrorism & Security
Provides participants with a solid foundation in the complex and often obscure world of maritime security. The module assesses the threat of terrorism to the maritime industry and includes profiles of the various terrorist groups involved. It also presents a historical perspective on the emergence of maritime terrorism and analyses the impact and probability of the threat and provides information on the different maritime security measures currently in place to combat maritime terrorism. Due to the re-emergence and proliferation of maritime piracy as a serious threat to international shipping along many of the major trade lanes, this module also assesses and analyses this phenomenon.

Participants will gain a solid foundation in:

  • The history of the presence and proliferation of maritime terrorism
  • Current threats to the maritime domain posed by piracy and terrorism
  • Capabilities of groups involved in maritime related terrorism and crime
  • The various threats to maritime trade and judging their impact and probability
  • Major maritime security initiatives to date, including legal requirements such as the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, the Container Security Initiative (CSI), Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
  • Technological solutions for ship and port security
  • The role of private security firms in combating piracy

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Understand the concept of maritime piracy and terrorism by gaining an overall historical perspective and become familiar with the profiles and capabilities of the groups currently perpetuating this threat
  • Week 2: Gain awareness of the different types of threats posed by pirates and terrorists to maritime trade and the level of impact and probability of each type of threat
  • Week 3: Learn about the various legal initiatives from governments and international organisations, and the problems of implementation
  • Week 4: Understand the various private sector solutions that are currently in place to fortify port and ship security, which include hardware and software solutions and private security measures

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Critical Infrastructure Protection
What is infrastructure and what makes it critical? Why is it imperative to protect it and what would happen if we chose not to protect it? These are all questions addressed in this module before studying the international necessity to protect these areas against a range of threats, and in particular that of terrorism, in an all hazards approach. By critically examining key areas, the module enhances participants’ understanding of this essential topic.
  • The importance of the protection of critical infrastructure and key resources
  • Understand the current threats to critical infrastructure and key resources posed by terrorism.
  • Explain the critical infrastructure protection cycle as well as risk assessment and risk management plans.
  • Case studies on nuclear energy, aviation and cyberspace security to understand the issues of criticality, vulnerability and threats to key assets
  • Critical infrastructure interdependency and Complex Adaptive Systems
  • Critical infrastructure protection vs. Critical infrastructure resilience
  • Future threats to critical infrastructure

The module is designed to be studied over fours weeks:

  • Week 1: Get introduced to the concept of critical infrastructure protection. Get an overview of government measures currently employed nationally and supra-nationally in the US, the UK and the European Union
  • Week 2: Understand current approaches to risk assessment and risk management strategies, and discuss related concepts such as criticality, vulnerability, threat, prioritization on the one hand and protection as well as consequence mitigation on the other
  • Week 3: Deepen your knowledge and understanding of the key concepts by applying them to several case studies. Gain an insight into the complex and interdependent nature of CI, and understand the implications for CI protection.
  • Week 4: Learn to think critically by discussing the “protection versus resilience” question, and by discussing possible future threats to CI

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Terrorism, Cyber Threats and the Internet
Examines the concept of cyberterrorism and provides an introduction to the ways in which terrorists use the Internet and the politics of cybersecurity. It offers explanations of the technology of the Internet and major types of cyberattack, with the aim of assisting students to gain a concrete sense of the issues that are under discussion. Note that the module does not provide a technical grounding in cybersecurity.

During your studies you will gain an understanding of:

  • Relating cybersecurity threats to terroris
  • Definitional and conceptual issues needed to assess why the idea of ‘cyberterrorism’ may be relevant and how it may be distinguished from other
  • How a variety of political actors use the internet in legal and illegal ways, including the culture and practice of computer hacking
  • Basic technical principles of how the internet works, and why internet based systems are vulnerable to attack
  • How the internet is used as a weapon and a resource by activists, terrorists, their supporters and governments
  • Issues involved in countering cyberthreats and terrorist use of the internet at global, regional and national levels
  • General principles of cybersecurity, and political and legal issues at stake in developing regimes against cybercrime and cyberterrorism

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Understand the main definitional and conceptual issues needed to assess why the idea of ‘cyberterrorism’ may be relevant, and how it may be distinguished from other phenomena. Understand the culture and practice of computer hacking
  • Week 2: Gain a basic technical understanding of how the Internet works, and how it can be illegally exploited
  • Week 3: Understand how the Internet is used as a weapon and a resource by activists, terrorists and governments
  • Week 4: Understand the general principles of cybersecurity, and especially the political and legal issues at stake in developing regimes against cybercrime and, potentially, cyberterrorism

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Radicalisation, Counter-radicalisation and De-radicalisation
In this module students are called upon to critically engage with and challenge popular understandings of radicalisation and deradicalisation in order to contribute to the design and refinement of the counter-radicalisation, deradicalisation and disengagement initiatives that play an important role in preventing future terrorism. While recognising the interconnection of ideological, social and environmental factors in facilitating terrorism, students will come to understand the differences between and nuances of the radicalisation and engagement processes (and with them deradicalisation and disengagement).

Students will gain a understanding of: 

  • the similarities and differences between violent and non-violent radicals;
  • how radicalisation and engagement are often, but not always, concurrent processes and the impact of this;
  • how deradicalisation and disengagement often occur separately and the opportunities this presents for tailoring deradicalisation and disengagement initiatives
  • the strengths and limitations of current approaches to counterradicalisation and deradicalisation
  • why we need to better target deradicalisation and disengagement initiatives to reach those who are at greatest risk of carrying out acts of terrorism

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Introduction to the concepts of radicalisation, de-radicalisation, and disengagement. Overview of attempts to identify ‘terrorist personalities’ by way of profiling, and of studies focussing on the root causes of terrorism
  • Week 2: Gain a deeper knowledge of radicalisation by exploring how and why individuals end up being terrorists.Understand the process character of ‘becoming involved’ and ‘being involved’ on the basis of interviews with former terrorists
  • Week 3: Explore how and why individual terrorists ‘walk away’ from it by ending involvement or ‘disengaging’. Gain an insight into the complex nature of ‘de-radicalisation’ – a process that involves a change in individual’s way of thinking about certain issues
  • Week 4: On the basis of existing disengagement and de-radicalisation programmes, think critically about the implications of lessons learnt so far for counter-terrorism purposes in the present and in the foreseeable future

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Terrorism & Human Rights
This module introduces participants to the role that human rights standards play in the fight against terrorism, both in terms of the duties that they impose on governments to protect civilians from harm and in terms of the constraints they place on the counter-terrorism measures that governments may adopt.

Throughout this module you will cover:

  • The international human rights framework and the different institutions that have been established to protect human rights at the international and regional level
  • Key concepts behind the idea of human rights, and its relationship with democracy and the rule of law
  • States of emergency, and the idea that human rights safeguards may be restricted or even suspended during times of crisis
  • Whether respect for human rights is no longer meaningful or it is an essential aspect of effective counter-terrorism policy
  • Details of specific rights, including the right to life, the right to liberty and due process, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and freedom from torture
  • A wide range of policy issues including the use of surveillance, ‘enhanced’ interrogation methods, drone strikes, secret evidence, deportation, extradition and detention without trial

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Introduction to the international human rights framework and the concepts of human rights and the rule of law. The right to life: understand how the right to life gives rise to a duty on governments to protect people from terrorism but also disproportionate counter-terrorism measures
  • Week 2: Freedom from torture: gain a deeper knowledge of the UN Convention against Torture and the international prohibition against the use of torture. Due process and the right to liberty: explore the concept of due process and the right to liberty and the circumstances in which these rights can be restricted in times of emergency
  • Week 3: The right to a fair trial: what types of restrictions may be legitimately imposed for the sake of the fight against terrorism? The right to privacy: examine how surveillance and interception of communications may be compatible with privacy rights
  • Week 4: Freedom of expression: is it ever legitimate to restrict speech as a counter-terrorism measure? Balancing rights: what lessons can we draw from the pattern of human rights violations arising from the War on Terror

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Homeland Security
This module examines how the term homeland security came into use after the September 11th attacks and describes efforts by governments and private companies to prevent and respond to terrorist events and later to natural and manmade disasters. Explaining the differences between the US, UK and European approaches to homeland security, the module will consider some key conceptual issues including an analysis of risk as well as disaster preparedness and response. The module will also consider some of the special problems associated with homeland security, as well as policy responses.

The module includes discussions on:

  • The US approach to homeland security including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the issues it has faced
  • The changing nature of responses of both UK and key European organisations and agencies involved in domestic policy both pre and post 9/11
  • Disaster preparedness and response as a key element within homeland security
  • Border security in protecting against threats like illegal immigration and smuggling as well as transportation security
  • The fundamental issues of intelligence sharing within homeland security organisations
  • The increasing problem of homegrown terrorism and how to deal with terrorists from within the domestic population
  • Prospects and barriers for international cooperation on homeland security including differing penalties and the issue of human rights

The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:

  • Week 1: Get introduced to the key concepts of homeland security and develop an understanding of how important risk analysis is.
    Develop an overview of the American approach to homeland security
  • Week 2: Gain a deeper knowledge of the variation between the British, French and German approaches to homeland security and the attempts to institutionalize cooperation among them
  • Understand the dilemmas of disaster preparedness and response, as well as building resilience in communities at risk
  • Week 3: Examine the political and bureaucratic problems associated with border and transportation security. Describe the problems associated with sharing information across government agencies, and how these can be mitigated
  • Week 4: Consider the special problems associated with ‘homegrown terrorism’, especially in democratic societies, and how existing government agencies have come to grips with this problem. Understand the mechanisms in place to permit international cooperation on homeland security issues, and the special challenges associated in making sure those responses are consistent human rights standards

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This module reviews and analyses the use of intelligence in supporting counter-terrorist activities, the relationship between intelligence and secrecy, as well as the legal and ethical issues which frame many of the questions around intelligence use. It also looks at how intelligence supports many different forms of activities including terrorist themselves who can make use of intelligence for their own purposes.

The module examines the question of how intelligence supports varied efforts to counter-terrorism and the difficulties of adapting to these challenges in the modern world. Looking to the future, the module will also look at the challenges the Intelligence Community are likely to face and how these may be addressed.

You'll also look at:

  • What is intelligence and the difficulty of definition
  • The different types if intelligence including the three traditional elements of Human Intelligence, Signals Intelligence and Imagery Intelligence
  • The principles of intelligence including centralised control, responsiveness, objectivity and accessibility
  • Policy makers and operational planners and the differing ways in which the two use intelligence to make decisions
  • The law and human rights including privacy, data protection and freedom of information
  • ‘Need to know’ vs ‘Dare to share’ concepts
  • Political, military, commercial, economic and criminal intelligence and how these types differ
  • The use of the internet and cyber intelligence in the future

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The Psychology of Terrorism
This module looks at how we can apply psychology to the study of terrorism, introducing you to some of the key psychological concepts that are relevant in understanding the terrorist and terrorist behaviour such as aggression, group behaviour, ideology and victimhood.

The module begins by looking at two phenomena that are central to the study of terrorism: aggression and violence. It then takes you thought the group nature of terrorism, and applies what we know about group psychology to the study of terrorism. It then examines the individual terrorist by looking at so called ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorism and the process of moving away from terrorism. Finally we look at the issue of victimhood, both by examining the experience of victims of terrorism but also how there is a complex relationship between being a (perceived, vicarious or otherwise) victim of terrorism and becoming a perpetrator.

It will examine:

  • How psychology can contribute to the study of terrorism and the terrorism
  • The range of approaches within psychology and how a multilevel approach is needed, including clinical, developmental, neuro, social and forensic psychology
  • Explanations and psychological frameworks for aggressive and violent behaviour
  • How group processes play a key role in terrorist behaviour
  • The problems with approaches that assume mental health and personality types are root causes of terrorism
  • The issues inherent in leaving terrorism behind
  • How the study of victims of terrorism are central to understanding terrorism

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Personnel and Personal Security
This module introduces participants to concepts aimed at reducing the risk of individuals and employees falling victim to acts of terror either as the intended target, a target of opportunity, or ‘collateral damage’.

This module looks at methods you can employ to determine who may be targeted by a particular terrorist group and how to determine a ‘proportionate response’ based upon the group’s intent and capability. It discusses how terrorists plan their attacks and how people actually respond to terrorist attacks. It also considers how to reduce risk whilst travelling abroad and the need for increased cyber safety to prevent terrorists from using the internet and social media to target personnel.

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Explain how to create a threat assessment to ensure that a proportionate response can be put in place to mitigate the threat of terrorism to individuals.
  • Gain an understanding of how terrorists plan their attacks against individuals and how this process can be thwarted.
  • Discuss how people react psychologically to the threat of terrorism including how people’s decision making processes may be affected during an attack.
  • Explain what actions to take during an attack including what to do when the security services / emergency services arrive.
  • Outline the key considerations prior to and during international travel in order to reduce the risk from terrorism.
  • Explain the current and emerging risk of ‘virtual targeting’ through vulnerabilities that can emerge through the use of the internet and / or social media.

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Terrorist Financing

Terrorism Financing introduces the evolving nature of finance, techniques and practices of terrorist financing, plus various methods and practices introduced to prevent them.

This module explores the methods, techniques and practices of terrorist finance.

The detailed content includes the investigation of the methods behind the financing of terrorist events and the application of anti-money laundering (AML) methods and other techniques to combat the financing of terrorism, the targeting of illegal money (proceeds of crime) and legal money (charitable contributions). 

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the USA PATRIOT Act and Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) are explored along with government agencies involved in combating terrorist finance. The evolving nature of terrorism finance is investigated and how new methods challenge efforts to counter terrorist financing, plus how mechanisms for countering terrorist finance should be an integral part of any new financial tool.  The module concludes with consideration of the consequences for the rest of society from combating the financing of terrorism as a product of the tension between liberty and security in modern society.

I recommend it highly to anyone. The modules are up-to-date and are taught by well-known authorities in the terrorism field. This is well worth the time and money

Eric Holm,

 Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA