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Institute for Global Security Studies gets a thumbs-up

APSU officials are putting the remaining plans in place to launch an Institute for Global Security Studies (IGSS)the only one of its kind in the state.

Last month, shortly after APSU began offering courses in a new bachelors in homeland security, the University received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents on its proposal to establish an IGSS.
APSU officials are putting the remaining plans in place to launch an Institute for Global Security Studies (IGSS)the only one of its kind in the state.

Last month, shortly after APSU began offering courses in a new bachelor's in homeland security, the University received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents on its proposal to establish an IGSS.

The University had submitted a comprehensive plan for an IGSS last year. Since then, University officials have been putting some key components in place, while also working to secure state and federal funding for the massive project.

The official time slated for APSU to launch the Institute for Global Security Studies is Summer 2005, following receipt of anticipated federal funds, according to Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, who indicated the project already has been well received.

“Last year when Congressmen Frist, Alexander, Blackburn and Tanner were approached by University officials about the plans for homeland-security training, they were quick to realize the potential for Tennessee,” Hoppe said.

“They collaborated to secure $1 million in a soft-earmark appropriation in the 2004-05 fiscal year. When received later this year, the funds will help jumpstart the institution's activities.”

Once operational, the IGSS will provide services to municipal, county, state and federal governments and emergency-service agencies to help them learn to prevent, prepare for and handle homeland security and related public-health issues.

A strong emphasis will be placed on coordinating with other state and federal efforts to detect and deter terrorism. All programs will comply with Office of Domestic Preparedness standards to meet federal requirements. When finalized, training will meet state certification requirements, also.

Hoppe said, “With the sad events of Sept. 11, 2001, and subsequent terrorist actions, a national demand for the detection and prevention of threats to the nation's security has grown rapidly.

“Because of our longtime relationship with the military, especially Fort Campbell, and because we have the state's first bachelor's in homeland security, Austin Peay is ready to become a leader in educating and training in all aspects of homeland security and antiterrorism.”

According to Hoppe, the IGSS will be broad-based and inclusive, offering basic and advanced levels of training and education in eight distinct but interdisciplinary areas:

•Medical and investigative sciences (training public health and safety service workers in prevention and detection of chemical and biological threats)

•Ecoterrorism (encompassing risk-assessment, environmental monitoring and reclamation in areas such as city water and wastewater with training in biology, forensics, geosciences, agriculture and environmental sciences)

• Agroterrorism (developing procedures for ensuring food safety, preventing misuses of agricultural chemicals and determining and assessing the epidemiology of anthrax and other animal/plant related diseases, including their effects on human population.

•Law enforcement and emergency services (focusing on detection, deterrence and response at all governmental levels)

•Politics and security in the 21st century (concentrating on domestic and global security and international relations from a political science perspective)

•Military history (studying the history and nature of terrorism, military governments, multifaceted warfare, occupation forces and peace-keeping missions)

•Language and ideological training (supporting the National Strategy for Homeland Security through the study of the language, religions/ideologies and other cultural elements of militant ethnic groups).

•Geography and Geographic Information Systems (studying geographical dimensions of terrorism and developing skills in construction of the digital spatial database and in performing analysis of geo-referenced data that pertain to homeland security.)

According to Dr. Peter Siska, director of APSU's GIS Center, the Institute for Global Security Studies, which is working with other state, regional and governmental agencies, already has received a contract through the GIS Center to provide various homeland-security services to seven Middle Tennessee counties.

These services include designing tools for evaluating high-risk areas in Tennessee, developing the accurate digital database and designing interactive digital maps containing classified information for homeland security and improving the viewing and delivery of spatial information for homeland-security agencies in Middle Tennessee.

The new opening for the position of director of the Institute for Global Security Studies is being advertised nationwide.

For more information about the IGSS, telephone Hoppe at (931) 221-7571.
—Dennie Burke