START Featured in Government Security News
Government Security News' October 24 issue covered the official launch of the Maryland office of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, START. The event took place on September 9 at the University of Maryland College Park's Stamp Student Union. "Strategic Visioning Four Years After 9/11: The University's Role in Informing Counterterrorism Policy and Practice", the program theme, featured keynote speaker, Undersecretary Dr. Charles McQueary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who officially opened this fourth DHS Center of Excellence. The article re-emphasized START's great potential to "aid DHS efforts to screen, detect, and prevent terrorism through our understanding of terrorist group behavior, recruitment, and motivation ﾖ why some many are willing to die to kill large numbers of people." Some of the obstacles that START faces were brought to light by Dr. Melvin Bernstein, DHS Director of University Programs, who participated in a panel discussion that followed the keynote address. Dr. Bernstein said, "One of the first trials that START must overcome is finding a common language that can link academics, bureaucrats and first responders and reconcile the inherently inimical interests of government-classified information with open-source scholarship in a free society." Despite the challenges, START is an optimistic and driven consortium. START's Director, Dr. Gary LaFree, and his colleagues underscored the cost-effectiveness of the academic-center concept. Dr. LaFree commented, "By awarding a grant to the University of Maryland and its partners, DHS has built a team of 50 senior researchers, a dozen major institutes, hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students. In many ways we are a center of centers."