Burkinabe Soldiers return fire during a squad attack scenario while participating in Flintlock 20 near Thies, Senegal, Feb. 16, 2020. (U.S. photo by Sgt. Steven Lewis)

The Future of Counterterrorism: Start By Defining the Threat

December 15, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Zoom Webinar

With the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a broader debate has opened up about the ongoing struggle with militant Islamic movements. What is the threat today, and who is threatened? Is the United States committed to hunting down and killing every member of al Qaeda and ISIS-K who attack the Taliban government? Are we committed to killing the Taliban authorities themselves if they appear to be collaborating with more radical forces? Should U.S. counterterror efforts in Afghanistan be focused only on protecting against attacks on the Unites States and its outposts in the region, or should we be protecting friends and allies?

How might such questions apply to U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Somalia, Yemen, Niger, Mali, and other relatively remote locations? Which fights are insurgencies or civil wars versus anti-U.S. terrorism? And when it is our fight, what are the most effective approaches to countering terrorism against our people or interests “over the horizon”? 

To address these questions, the Quincy Institute will convene a panel of distinguished experts in counterterrorism. The discussion will feature Paul R. Pillar, non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute; Jytte Klausen, professor of international cooperation at Brandeis University; and Jacqueline Hazelton, associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College. Steven Simon, senior research analyst at the Quincy Institute, will moderate.


Paul R. Pillar
Paul R. Pillar is a Non-Resident Fellow of the Quincy Institute and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community. His senior government positions included National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, Deputy Chief of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and Executive Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence. He is a Vietnam War veteran and a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. He is the author of Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process, Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform, and Why America Misunderstands the World: National Experience and Roots of Misperception.
Jytte Klausen
Jytte Klausen is the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation at Brandeis University and an Affiliate at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of The Cartoons That Shook the World, about the worldwide protests against the Danish cartoons of the Muslim Prophet, and The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe ). In 2006, Klausen founded the Western Jihadism Project, which studies Western violent extremists associated with al-Qa’ida. Klausen is a regular commentator on the BBC, Voice of America, and other U.S. and international media. In 2021, Oxford University Press will publish her next book titled Western Jihadism: A Thirty-Year History.
Jacqueline Hazelton
Jacqueline L. Hazelton is an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College. Hazelton specializes in international relations. Her research interests include international security, compellence, great power military intervention, and U.S. foreign and military policy. She received her Ph.D. from the Brandeis University Politics Department. Her B.A. and first M.A. are in English Literature from the University of Chicago. Her second M.A., also from Chicago, is in international relations. Her book, Bullets Not Ballots: Success in Counterinsurgency Warfare, is published by the Cornell University Press. At the Belfer Center, Hazelton is writing her second book, which is on the reasons why Western great powers sometimes set ambitious liberalizing goals for military interventions.
Steven Simon (Moderator)
Steven Simon is Senior Research Analyst at the Quincy Institute and the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at the MIT Centre for International Studies. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies for the U.S. and Middle East. From 2011 to 2012 he served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs. He also worked on the NSC staff 1994 – 1999 on counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. He is the co-author, among other books, of The Age of Sacred Terror, winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations. He is now working on a new book, The Long Goodbye: The United States and the Middle East from the Islamic Revolution to the Arab Spring.