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A policy focus paper published by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2010.
At the outset of the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama warned that nuclear terrorism is “one of the greatest threats to global security,” observing that terrorist groups like al-Qaeda would “surely use” a nuclear device if they were able to obtain one. He further argued that a “new mindset” is required to successfully meet this dangerous challenge. How has the Obama administration’s response to the resilient terrorism threat expanded on or deviated from Bush-era strategy?
To offer unique perspectives on this important question, the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence has compiled a set of lectures by senior counterterrorism officials delivered at the Institute since President Obama took office. These presentations are part of an ongoing series, initiated in December 2007, in which the Institute hosts top counterterrorism officials from a broad range of U.S. and international agencies. This third volume of published lectures from the series features presentations by:
• Todd Hinnen, deputy assistant attorney general for law and policy, Justice Department
• Lt. Gen (Ret.) James Clapper, undersecretary of defense for intelligence
• Richard Falkenrath, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, NYPD
• Amb. Kenneth Brill, director, National Counterproliferation Center
• Lt. Gen (Ret.) Ronald Burgess, director, Defense Intelligence Agency
• Adm. Eric Olson, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command
• Richard Barrett, coordinator, UN al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee
• Michael Downing, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, LAPD
The lecture series continue into 2010, with upcoming senior-level speakers from military, intelligence, and diplomatic offices. These officials will offer their guidance on the evolving terrorist threat and their recommendations on strategy to ensure that President Obama’s dire warnings about nuclear terrorism do not come to pass.
Editors: Matthew Levitt and Michael Jacobson