By Lindsey Abernathy
OXFORD, Miss. — At the invitation of a University of Mississippi student, a leading expert in defense, intelligence and homeland security will visit campus this week to discuss issues involving counterterrorism in the United States.
James Jay Carafano, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, will address the university community at 2 p.m. Thursday (March 1) in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. The event is free and open to the public.
His lecture is based on “A Counterterrorism Strategy for the ‘Next Wave,’” a report by the Heritage Foundation Counterterrorism Task Force focusing on improvements and recommendations regarding the national strategy for counterterrorism. “Analysts routinely synthesize information from a variety of sources to craft actionable intelligence for policymakers,” said Carl Jensen, director of the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, which is co-sponsoring the lecture with the Lott Leadership Institute. “As a result, we’re excited to welcome experts like Dr. Carafano to campus to share their views on such vital issues as counterterrorism.”
Carafano was invited to campus by Joshua Holdenried, a junior public policy major from Knoxville, Tenn., who is minoring in intelligence and security studies. Holdenried asked Carafano to speak as part of his course, National Security Issues for the 21st Century, a required seminar for all students minoring in intelligence and security studies.
“We want our students to understand who our experts are out there,” Jensen said. “We want them to invite them to campus so they really understand the mechanics of working with experts because if they become intelligence professionals, they’re going to have to do that. Also, in a lot of cases, it works into a kind of mentorship relationship.”
Holdenried explained that terrorism is a topic that frequently sparks classroom discussions and will be the focus of his capstone CISS project.
“I chose terrorism as my topic because it’s really important that we be reminded about the progress we’re making,” Holdenried said. “I chose Dr. Carafano because I’m a big fan of the Heritage Foundation and the policy analysis they do, particularly their foreign policy department. Dr. Carafano is such a prominent expert in his field. He and his terrorism task force team talk about what’s working, how to liquidate threats that are on the horizon, how terrorism has evolved since 9/11 and how we can be proactive.”
Along with writing weekly columns on national security topics for the Washington Examiner newspaper, Carafano has authored multiple books, including “Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World” (Texas A&M University Press, 2011). He is also deputy director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and editor of the book series “The Changing Face of War.”
What began with a couple of emails to the Heritage Foundation transitioned into Holdenried playing an integral role in planning the visit, including helping book plane tickets and creating an itinerary for Carafano, complete with a campus tour and lunch in the Lyceum with CISS and Lott Institute students.
“I’ve never had an experience like this before,” Holdenried said. “The fact that I was able to garner interest for Dr. Carafano to come speak at the University of Mississippi is fantastic. I’m excited to be in touch with the people that I admire in terms of national security and the research they do, especially the Heritage Foundation.”