Gary Ackerman is Director of the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies. He is both an accomplished terrorism scholar and a successful project manager. Prior to taking up his current position as Director, Mr. Ackerman was Director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Research Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey , California , and he earlier served as the Chief of Operations of the South Africa-based African-Asian Society. He received his M.A. in International Relations (Strategic Studies – Terrorism) from Yale University and his Bachelors (Law, Mathematics, International Relations) and Honors (International Relations) degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg , South Africa .
Originally hailing from South Africa , Mr. Ackerman possesses an eclectic academic background, including past studies in the fields of mathematics, history, law, and international relations, and has won numerous academic awards. His research encompasses various areas relating to terrorism and counterterrorism, including terrorist threat assessment, terrorist technologies and motivations, terrorism involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons, terrorist financing, environmental extremism, and the modeling and simulation of terrorist behavior.
Mr. Ackerman has published extensively in a variety of academic and popular media. His recent publications include “ WMD Terrorism Research: Where to from Here?,” International Studies Review 7:1 (March 2005); “The Psychological and Social Sequelae of Bioterrorism,” in Raymond A. Zilinskas and Richard Pilch (eds.), Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense (New York: Wiley, 2005); Bioterrorism and Threat Assessment , paper commissioned by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (The “Blix” Commission), Stockholm (2005) (with Kevin S. Moran); “Beyond Arson? A Threat Assessment of the Earth Liberation Front,” Terrorism and Political Violence 15:4 (Winter 2004); “Chemical Terrorism,” in N. Matuszak (ed.) History Behind the Headlines: Terrorism ( Farmington , Gale, 2002); and “Would they if they could? WMD Terrorism in the Middle East ,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (May/June 2002) (with Laura Snyder). He has also been invited to present briefings and talks before a variety of audiences, including the JASON Group, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center, the National Legislative Services and Security Association, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Deputy Directorate for the War on Terrorism - The Joint Staff (the Pentagon), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the Bay Area Terrorism Working Group. He has granted well over one hundred media interviews and has appeared several times on national television.
Mr. Ackerman has experience in leading large funding efforts and simultaneously managing multiple complex projects. He has acted as Principal Investigator on large research projects on behalf of various government agencies, and has also served as a private consultant to several projects involving the modeling of terrorist behavior. Recently, he played a key role in securing the award of the Department of Homeland Security National Center of Excellence for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism (NC-START) to the University of Maryland Consortium , and continues to play an integral role in NC-START activities.
As an educator Mr. Ackerman teaches graduate level courses on terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and threat assessment for both the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the California University of Protection and Intelligence Management. He also regularly mentors graduate students, many of whom later enter government service in intelligence and law enforcement.