The Transformation of Transatlantic Counter-Terrorism 2001-2025

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Politics, Languages and Int Studies

Abstract

This fellowship addresses two salient and inter-related questions in current counter-terrorism. First, why and how have counter-terrorism organisations in the transatlantic space transformed since 9/11? Second, given that a lack of trust remains a key inhibitor for better information exchange, how can it be improved? These themes are integrated in three research questions: 1/ Does a Post-Fordist conceptual framework enhance understanding of transatlantic CT transformation? 2/ What are the implications of this transformation for trust and information exchange? 3/ How can trust be improved?

To address these questions the fellowship follows two research strands. The first addresses an acknowledged lack of theory in the literature on US and EU CT organisation by providing a major new theoretical explanation of the profound transformation of CT intelligence and policing since 9/11. It will apply a Post-Fordist framework originally used in industrial sociology to better understand the organisational solutions adopted by CT communities. When placed in the wider context of societal change, Post-Fordism's central organisational tenets of outsourcing; a network approach; core-periphery divide; and centralisation and de-centralisation will break new ground in understanding why and how transatlantic CT transformation has occurred. Other military sociology theories will give illuminating new perspectives on top-down innovative or bottom-up adaptive drivers of transformation; the development of professional status and organisational capabilities; the militarisation of police CT responses; and the implications of this transformation for organisational cohesion, trust and liaison, providing the richest sociological analysis to date.
Building on three years of research and exploiting the applicant's unique CT network, the second strand follows the end of strand 1 by developing trust and capacity building through the pilot and refinement of a transatlantic CT Centre of Excellence (CoE). Identified by practitioners as sorely needed to help build trust between mid-level operational personnel, it will do so through the development of a syllabus focused on the sharing of operational and organisational lessons, the standardisation of terminology, and the development of trust. As demonstrated by the supporting letters, successful delivery of the CoE will have major international practical impact. With the Post-Fordist transformation context, it will also generate new data on trust building and liaison in this domain.

The argument that there has been a transformation of transatlantic CT since 9/11, and that Post-Fordism best explains this, is controversial. Transformation has not been uniform, and many national CT organisations remain resistant, or unable, to change. Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that Post-Fordism explains the broad trajectory of CT organisation. To make this argument, the project will first gather data on US, EU and selected EU Member States CT organisation prior to 9/11 to establish a comparative evidential base using primary and secondary sources. Second, using interviews with policymakers and practitioners involved in organisational change, the applicability of the Post-Fordist framework will be analysed, along with top-down and bottom-up drivers of CT transformation. Third, using practitioner interviews and fieldwork observations, some of the lower-level micro sociological aspects of this CT transformation will be examined, such as the militarisation of police CT responses and the importance of professionalism. Fourth, organisational cohesion, trust and liaison in the CT community will be examined through engagement with CoE attendees. Senior practitioners on the Advisory Board will ensure research oversight, while a conference to elucidate key lessons learnt from both strands will occur towards the end of the fellowship.

Planned Impact

As a result of the unique network this research project will exploit it is very well sited to deliver major and innovative international impact. My approach to achieving this impact is based on engaging closely with practitioners from each of policy community from the start. This is necessary not just to overcome problems of access to information, but also to build up credibility and trust. We will rely on the highly-experienced members of the Advisory Board, our Centre of Excellence (CoE) meetings, and a workshop in Bath to keep practitioners engaged.
Research users:
1. Academics: There has been no sociological attempt to conceptualise the recent common changes in transatlantic CT organisation and practice. My conceptual approach to understanding CT transformation, and its implications for trust is novel, interdisciplinary and adds depth to the field. It is likely to prove influential beyond CT/intelligence studies scholars and have impact in wider IR and sociology audiences. The involvement of the PI/Co-I in CoE delivery, this strand's process tracing methodology, its focus on trust, the inclusion of CoE participants in research production, and the pursuit of institutional accreditation partnerships highlight the unique innovative academic outputs of the research project.
2. Practitioners: The transatlantic CT community will benefit from both Strands. Strand 1 provides an overarching framework for understanding organisational change in their domain, while strand 2 is specifically designed to address their needs by increasing trust and speed of information exchange between mid-level practitioners. In particular CT practitioners will:
- Develop relations with other practitioners in an educational environment conducive to trust building and faster information exchange
- Learn about national barriers to information sharing and best practices/lessons learned from recent terrorist attacks.
- Learn about research and technological innovation in CT
- Be exposed to sector innovative leaders with experiences of organisational reforms
- Produce a Standardisation handbook that will aid information sharing.
3. Businesses: The involvement of business partners such as BAE, Thales, Microsoft and Facebook indicate the commercial interest in the CoE. In particular, these firms are interested in sharing and learning best practices concerning their technologies and CT. They are willing to lecture on the course and will receive knowledge on CT best practice. Such interactions may contribute to new technological innovations.
4. Think tanks: Through its partnership with Globsec, the research project is deeply integrated with a very high profile security think tank committed to CT reform. Globsec continues to part fund and host the activities of the network and promotes them annually at its International Security Conference that is attended by senior international policy makers and provides excellent opportunities for networking, research promotion and impact.
5. International and national level policy makers: These have already expressed great interest in the CoE. In the secretive world of intelligence they recognise this is an innovative attempt to increase trust and hence security. Once the CoE has been concept proved, there is a strong possibility that a framework nation will take over its delivery on a permanent and formalised basis. The longer-term benefits of this increased trust will be CT organisations have better situational awareness and decision-making. Delivering a practical organisational solution endorsed by a national government, internationally attended, and valued by practitioners and policymakers alike, would represent one of the highest forms of international impact possible.
6. Society: Better trust and liaison amongst operational CT officers benefits society in general (CoE delivery), as does better understanding of the processes through which this occurs (strands 1 and 2). Please see Pathways to Impact.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description So far, we have developed a new theory for understanding how global jihadist terrorist organisations have evolved since 9/11, and separately, a different new theory for how counter-terrorism organisations have evolved in the same period. Another area of research has developed a new way of understanding the evolution of special forces in this period.

Our major practical trust and capacity building programme was badly affected by Covid and resulted in a two year delay. We are now on course to hold our first workshop in April
Exploitation Route The research is now open access and so provides the basis for scholars and practitioners to take it forward as they see fit.

Practically, once we have conducted out first proof of concept workshop, we hope that the initiative will become a regular tenet of the transatlantic CT liaison relationship...
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

 
Description Our activities are bringing future leader transatlantic CT practitioners together for the first time to build trust and capacity
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Provide expert evidence to House of Commons Defence Select Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact As a result of my evidence the Defence Committee has stated that they will continue to monitor the governance of the reserves review, and I will be invited back to speak to them
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1276/reserve-forces-review-2030/publications/oral-evidence/
 
Description Globsec project partnership 
Organisation Globsec
Country Slovakia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are partnered with the internationally-recognised Globsec think tank to deliver the practical element of our project. So far we have contributed to a number of online events and conferences, and published a research-based article in their flagship annual publication.
Collaborator Contribution They are providing funding (£60,000) event management expertise and administrative support.
Impact Supported by Globsec, we have held numerous research informed meetings with security service practitioners. Theses have resulted in creating the consensus to establish trust and leadership focused international practitioner workshops that form the core practical element of our workplan.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Globsec project partnership 
Organisation Globsec
Country Slovakia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are partnered with the internationally-recognised Globsec think tank to deliver the practical element of our project. So far we have contributed to a number of online events and conferences, and published a research-based article in their flagship annual publication.
Collaborator Contribution They are providing funding (£60,000) event management expertise and administrative support.
Impact Supported by Globsec, we have held numerous research informed meetings with security service practitioners. Theses have resulted in creating the consensus to establish trust and leadership focused international practitioner workshops that form the core practical element of our workplan.
Start Year 2016
 
Description King's College London 
Organisation King's College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Jointly host pracademic workshops and events
Collaborator Contribution Use of staff time and facilities (event space) worth c £10000
Impact First pracademic workshop scheduled for 2022
Start Year 2022
 
Description 250 million audience - Multiple interviews for local, national and international news TV and radio 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In August 2021, I provided expert analysis on the security and intelligence situation in Afghanistan for almost all the BBC regional radio stations, escalating to BBC 5 Live and LBC, and then onto BBC News 24 tv channel. Was asked back to BBC News 24 to speak about intelligence failure in Afghanistan as part of breaking story. Melt water calculated audience 250 million, = £2.5 million AVE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Board of Advisers Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting of board of advisors for project x 2, in person and online. Includes senior practitioners, policy makers and Globsec think tank. Meetings discussed impact of Covid on our project plans and new research and practitioner collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description C 550 million audience - Multiple interviews for local, national and international news TV and radio 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Multiple interviews on BBC News, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, RTE 1, Euronews, RTE PrimeTime, RTE Tonight Show, Virgin The Tonight Show, and numerous local and national radio stations including 5 Live multiple times, all on intelligence and Ukraine war.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Co-Found BISA War Studies Working Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact With Dr James Rogers (SDU) I co-founded the BISA War Studies Working Group which has grown rapidly to become one of the largest groups in BISA. We look forward to holidng our first face to face conference in June 2022.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.bisa.ac.uk/members/working-groups/wswg
 
Description Expert interview for BBC Today Programme on Cold War espionage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave an expert interview for BBBC Today Programme on Cold War espionage, namely about recruitment of Western political figures by Russian and Eastern European intelligence services. This generated considerable public and expert interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Expert interview for Channel 4 documentary on Cold War espionage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave an expert interview for Channel 4 documentary on Cold War espionage, namely about recruitment of Western political figures by Russian and Eastern European intelligence services. This generated considerable public and expert interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Gave a lecture at meeting of French L' Association pour les Etudes sur la Guerre et la Strat├ęgie (AEGES) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This talk to largely French scholars and students of intelligence studies and history focused on discussing how small states use their covert action capacity to pursue foreign policy goals. It focused on the case study of Cold War Czechoslovakia and explored the role terrorists and other play within this context.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Guest Lecture - Dr Kjetil Hatlebrekke 'The Problem of Secret Intelligence in Counter-Terrorism' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Special guest lecture by a practitioner to UG and PG students, and staff, on intelligence and counter-terrorism. Resulted in increased uptake on Terrorism and CT course and a number of enquiries as to careers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description History Hit Podcast on IEDs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In depth interview about the use of IEDs by terrorist groups and the intelligence battle to defeat them
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Honorary talk by Michael Chertoff to Brunel University London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Former US Secretary of Homeland Security gave an honorary talk to faculty, postgraduate and undergraduate students at Brunel University London. The talk was hosted by the Brunel Center for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS) and focused on: 'Storming of the US Capital, Disinformation, and Domestic Terrorism'. It was attended by 85 faculty members, students, as well as intelligence and security experts from across the UK. The talk sparked a lively conversation about the nature o 'domestic terrorism', legal ramifications of the storming of the Capital, and the role of the US intelligence community and law enforcement in the run up to the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Interview for Deutsche Welle about Central European intelligence agencies and their use of social media 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview for Deutsche Welle about Central European intelligence agencies and their use of social media, which generated a further debate about how intelligence agencies use or should use social media platforms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Interview for Podcast series - The Secret Struggle for Cold War Dominance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The interview was used for a narrative podcast episode on Cold War terrorism, namely the role of Carlos the Jackal in changing the nature of terrorism and his relations with Central European intelligence services. I received lots of positive feedback via social media and email.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Interview for national news - The Guardian 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The article published in The Guardian on 6 September 2020 focused on Cold War counterterrorism and reached 110,000 readers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Interview for national news - The Mail on Sunday 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The piece sparked a conversation (emails with experts and journalists) on the nature of British operations behind the Iron Curtain.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Jihadism 3.0: How terrorists are adapting to cyberspace and what policymakers can do about it 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Blog re-write of IA article to ease dissemination
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://medium.com/international-affairs-blog/jihadism-3-0-how-terrorists-are-adapting-to-cyberspace...
 
Description Presentation at ISA - International Studies Association Convention (academic conference) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Gave a talk at a panel called 'The Hidden Hands: Comparing National Approaches to Covert Action' on the use of non-state actors (terrorists or revolutionaries) by states for covert action purposes. This generated considerable debate about the nature of covert action and the role of non-state actors in pursuing such clandestine forms of foreign policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Presentation at Need to Know conference at King's College London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented a paper on Cold War terrorism at the Need to Know conference which welcomed over a hundred international participants. This sparked debate among the participants and resulted in further collaboration with scholars in the US, UK and France.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Speaking to Cambridge Intelligence Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact With Hon Sec Michael Chertoff, we spoke to 130 strong international expert audience on New Intelligence Strategies for the New Decade at Cambridge University's Intelligence Seminar, the oldest and most distinguished in western Europe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk by Dr Daniela Richterova at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, University of Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 90 scholars, practitioners (including former heads of services) and students attended the talk. This was followed by a lively debate about intelligence liaison, international relations and defence policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020