This ten-minute-long video presents a documentary short of a counterterrorism simulation exercise Professor Amos Guiora conducted in November, 2007 for students enrolled in his Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism class at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. The course is based on his casebook, Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism (Aspen Publishers). The exercise is one of the ways the College is developing intensive leadership experiences for students both within and outside the classroom.
The class participates in a half-day simulation exercise that mirrors a potential crisis happening in real time. The students play the roles of key decision-makers (U.S. president, CIA director, FBI director, secretary of state, attorney general, judge, prosecutor, secretary of Homeland Security, et al) in an effort to understand from experience the dilemmas they face and how they make critical decisions predicated on minimal intelligence information.
The students are assigned roles two weeks before the simulation and are expected to prepare for the “position” from a legal and policy perspective. However, they do not know the facts ahead of time. Rather, the events unfold during the course of the simulation via simulated or “dummied” newscasts. Thanks to the College’s IT team, the students (divided into three locations—Washington, D.C., New York City and Paris) communicate via video-conferencing (with all of its attendant problems and tensions) in an effort to provide the president with legal and policy advice relevant to their position regarding the multiple fact patterns (potential bombing of New York City port, possibility of attack against U.S. ambassador in Paris, and potential suicide bomber on a plane).
Guiora’s Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism class is part of the Quinney College’s Leadership Initiative, which provides students with opportunities to lead through experience and complements the classroom component of their education. Other leadership opportunities include student think tanks, clinics, a pro bono initiative, public service programs, co-curricular programs and advanced research opportunities on issues from banking to global security, climate change to justice.