SEST-689-01 WMD Terrorism
Spring for 2016-2017
James Van de Velde
What is a weapon of mass destruction? Why are they especially concerning? What is WMD Terrorism (WMD-T) and ‘cWMD-T?’ Is WMD-T qualitatively or psychologically different from mere high explosive terrorism? Are the intelligence requirements to collect on and defeat WMD-T different? How do we predict or anticipate WMD-T? What is a Black Swan event and will all WMD-T be such events?
This course will examine contemporary terrorist interest in weapons of mass destruction and how the United States and its allies attempt to thwart terrorist acquisition and use of WMD. The course will begin with an examination of modern, violent, Islamist extremism – specifically terrorism committed by al-Qa`ida and its associated networks, and how that radicalization has driven these groups to develop interest in acquiring and using WMD if and when possible. The course will examine al-Qa`ida’s historical interest in acquiring nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, its public proclamations regarding it ideological justification for acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction, concepts of al Qa`ida’s ‘WMD employment doctrine’ (how it would use such WMD) and U.S. efforts to combat such WMD-Terrorism. It is hoped that students will gain an appreciation for the complexities of Islamist extremism, the unique WMD danger it poses to the West and Western efforts to thwart and deter such violence.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '17: Van de Velde, J (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: