Fall 2019 - 59224 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2019 - 59224 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Terrorism and Counterterrorism


Though aimed at future policymakers, the course is designed to help students resist the urge to begin developing policy or military options for defending society against terrorism until they have established a foundation for understanding terrorism as a phenomenon.  Readings and discussion in roughly the first half of the course will, therefore, focus on terrorism and terrorists.  Students will review the profound diversity of approaches to defining terrorism; the history of terrorism; a review of the various disciplines important to understanding terrorism (political science, history, psychology, religious studies, strategic studies, communications studies, anthropology, etc.); terrorism’s connection to the broader fields of war, revolution and insurgency; the reasons widely differing groups choose terrorism tactics as part of their strategy; and terrorists’ strategy and tactics. The last half of the semester will explore Counter-Terrorism (CT) at the policy, strategic, operational and tactical levels; offensive and defensive CT; the effectiveness of various policy options in countering the threat posed by contemporary and future groups and movements; an examination of how (a few) other nations approach CT; and consideration of how terrorism ends. 


1. “Inside Terrorism” by Bruce Hoffman. ISBN 978-0-231-12699-1.
2. “Terrorism – How to Respond” by Richard English. ISBN 978-0-19-959003-2.


Course grades will be based on a student’s performance as follows;

  • Class Participation/Reading Reactions           30%
  • Book Reviews                                                  20%
  • Assigned student presentations                       20%
  • Policy Memorandum                                        30%


M 2:00PM to 5:00PM
SRH 3.216/3.219