(HOST) The war on terror has affected many aspects of daily life, and commentator Bill Seamans says that now it’s changing what some of us will study in school.
(SEAMANS) I read an interesting article in The Washington Post the other day about a new field of studies that is said to be so potentially popular that it is spreading throughout academia like the proverbial wildfire. We could call it Terrorism 101.
The Post reports the convergence of two powerful forces: the growing national security need to better understand the terrorist enemy, and the government’s turn to colleges and universities for help. This is backed up by $4 billion in grants and student aid this year. And, as we know, money is a major stimulant for academic interest and research.
It was noted that several schools are establishing master’s degree programs, and that more common right now are certificates acknowledging course work being offered by Geogetown, Johns Hopkins and George Washington Universities. And George Mason University students can reach as high as a doctorate in biodefense. The list of envisioned courses can now fill a catalog – cybersecurity, the terrorist culture, the high consequence risk and analysis of terrorist events, and on and on….
The new field of homeland security studies is said to be creating a whole new academic industry. Stanley Supinski, the chairman of the Homeland Security Defense Education effort, says there is so much interest and potential in formalized national security studies that “people are jumping on the bandwagon.” What surely is seen ahead is a growing demand by employers for the people with the anti- terrorism security expertise that high-level academia will turn out.
This, I think, is a major step forward. Much has been said, however politicized, that we the people really have not been seriously involved in or appreciate the latent threat of terrorism – except for that very small minority called our First Responders, who are aware of the danger.
President Bush has said the war in Iraq is being fought to prevent terrorism here at home, but critics say he has not focused the public’s attention on the problem, while he expends an enormous amount of energy selling his privatized Social Security plan. It’s said that we need more than a confusing set of multicolored warning signals, and that we do need highly trained civilian leaders to serve the public’s welfare under the threat of terrorism.
Formalized antiterrorism studies are said to be breaking brand new ground in academia and to be so important for our national security and our personal welfare that master’s-degree graduates might someday, like Harvard Business School MBA’s, be gathering the plums of our job market.
This is Bill Seamans.
Bill Seamans is a former correspondent and bureau chief for ABC News in the Middle East. He spoke from our studio in Norwich.