START Webinar Series: Near-peer Competition and Russian Meddling in Latin America



A recording of this event can be found at this link

On Monday, May 11 at 12 p.m. ET, START Near-peer Competition Lead Researcher and Training Director Barnett Koven provided a virtual lecture on “Near-peer Competition and Russian Meddling in Latin America.” If you have any questions, please email the START events team at

Ample attention has been devoted to Russian interference in neighboring countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, as well as in the U.S. Nevertheless, Russian activities in Latin America have not received nearly as much coverage. This presentation will offer a comparative perspective of Russian engagement in Latin America and Eastern Europe. It will cover why Russia chooses to engage in the region and how its engagement differs from its activities closer to home. Key findings will be explicated through a short case study focused on Colombia. The presentation will conclude by discussing potential responses to this aggressive Russian behavior.

Barnett S. Koven is the Training Director, Near-peer Competition Lead Researcher and Counterterrorism Lead Researcher at the University of Maryland’s (UMD) National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Emeritus Center of Excellence. He is also the Founder and CEO of BSK Consulting, L.L.C., a boutique consultancy specializing in practitioner education and mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) research in support of national security practitioners and policy-makers. In addition, Koven is a Professorial Lecturer in Political Science & International Affairs at the George Washington University (GWU), an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty and a Lecturer in Public Policy at the UMD, an Adjunct Faculty Member at Joint Special Operations University, an Adjunct Presenter at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School, a Fellow at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University and a Quantitative Social Scientist at Performance Systems, LLC. He received his Ph.D., M.Phil. and M.A. in Political Science, as well as a B.A. in International Affairs and Latin American and Hemispheric Studies from the GWU. Koven also holds a Certificate in Conflict Analysis from the United States Institute of Peace and a Certificate in Advanced Security in the Field from the United Nations System Staff College.

Koven has conducted extensive overseas research in conflict and post-conflict zones. His work employs cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative methods to answer pressing defense and homeland security questions. Specifically, he focuses on issues pertaining to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, terrorism prevention and preventing/countering violent extremism, counter-narcotics, near-peer competition, unconventional warfare, resistance, security cooperation, transnational organized crime, weapons availability and conflict onset, post-conflict reconstruction, and the material and non-material sources of military power. Koven has received research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Department of State, the DHS, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as from the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, the GWU and the UMD. A complete list of journal articles, book chapters and policy publications can be found on his personal website: