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The Business of Counterterrorism: Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security

This is a spotlight on the newest book published by Austen Givens, Adjunct Professor in Cybersecurity at Utica College.

This is a faculty publication spotlight featuring the the work of Austen D. Givens, Professor of Practice in Economic Crime, Justice Studies, and Cybersecurity at Utica College.


Nathan E. Busch and Austen D. Givens

Austen Givens

Austen D. Givens

Mr. Givens teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on infrastructure protection, cyber incident management, homeland security, counterterrorism and emergency management at Utica College, and has worked with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Virginia Fusion Center. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London.


The Business of Counterterrorism focuses on the opportunities and challenges that public-private partnerships (PPPs) face in the post-9/11 world. Although these partnerships are a major topic of discussion and study among businesses and government agencies involved in homeland security efforts, they have received a much less thorough analysis by scholars. The Business of Counterterrorism identifies the essential role that PPPs are now taking in homeland security and explores the implications of this transformative shift in the field. In its discussion, it focuses on five areas in homeland security—critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, information sharing, security at U.S. ports of entry, and disaster recovery.

Excerpts from the Book

Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security: Past and Present
"...The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill all highlight the prominence of public-private partnerships in what is today called homeland security..." (p. 11)

Public-Private Partnerships in Critical Infrastructure Protection
"....In New York City, local and federal government counterterrorism officials quickly picked up on Al-Nasser's call for violence against financial institutions, and began to alert Wall Street bank representatives. Personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York Police Department (NYPD) briefed leaders from Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays about the threat, as well as measures that these firms could take to bolster security..." (p. 49)

Public-Private Partnerships in Cyberterrorism, Cybercrime, and Cyberespionage
"...Today's cyber threats do not stop with China, however. In 2013 The Wall Street Journal reported that Iranian hackers had electronically broken into several U.S. energy companies' computer networks. The hackers appeared to be surveilling these firms' computer networks for electronic vulnerabilities..." (p. 88)

Public-Private Partnerships and Information Sharing
"...There are striking parallels between the information sharing failures of the Boston Marathon attack and other previous terrorist incidents, including the Underwear bomber case in 2009 and the Al-Qaeda attacks of 2001. The FBI was aware that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have posed a threat, but Tamerlan's name never made it onto a "no-fly" list..." (p. 144)

Integrating Public-Private Capabilities at U.S. Ports of Entry
"...About 75% of all goods that enter and exit the United States go through maritime ports...Given maritime ports' tremendous importance for daily living, as well as the American economy as a whole, effectively protecting maritime ports is a top homeland security priority..." (p. 184)

Public-Private Sector Collaboration in Disaster Recovery
"...Since Hurricane Sandy leveled significant portions of the New Jersey shoreline and New York City's outer boroughs in 2012, there is a flurry of renewed focus on how public-private partnerships can help the communities affected by Sandy to recover faster...Better synchronizing public and private sector contributions will result in greater community resilience..." (pp. 243-244)

Conclusion – Taking Care of Business: The Future of Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security
"...At the root of these diverse types of partnerships is a central concept: added value. One or more parties gain "something" from the public-private partnership, whether that something is information, money, political capital, operational effectiveness, or some other factor...Public-private partnerships will not form unless they add value for all parties in the partnership..." (p. 289)


"Nathan Busch and Austen Givens have written a very useful and illuminating book. The Business of Counterterrorism refreshingly bridges the scholarly and practitioner understandings of homeland security in showing the promises and pitfalls of public-private partnerships. Using case studies from the most important homeland security challenges, Busch and Givens blend succinct lessons from the academy with the hard-won lessons of practical experience over the decade-plus since 9/11 to provide something of a roadmap for building successful public-private partnerships for future homeland security preparedness."
-William C. Banks, Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law; Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, SU Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; and Director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism

"America will never reach its highest level of security in this troubled world acting alone. Authors Nathan Busch and Austen Givens offer compelling testimony to the value of public-private partnerships and specific direction as to 'where' and 'how' this collaboration has the greatest security impact. This is a must-read for Congressional leaders, business executives, and academics who are concerned about the future safety of our nation."
-Hon. Tom Ridge, President and CEO, Ridge Global LLC; former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Governor of Pennsylvania

"Developing and implementing workable and affordable strategies to guard our security here at home requires us to harness the collaborative power of public-private partnerships. Authors Nathan E. Busch and Austen D. Givens skillfully evaluate homeland security challenges and describe outcome-focused opportunities, backed by well-researched case studies and accounts of hard-learned lessons."
-William J. Bratton, CEO of the Bratton Group LLC, former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and Commissioner of the New York City and Boston Police Departments; co-author of Collaborate or Perish

"While PPPs are certainly on the forefront of U.S. achievements in the domestic response to the terrorist threat, much writing on them doesn't present the complete picture. Unlike its predecessors, The Business of Counterterrorism provides a comprehensive and direct view of the growing importance of PPPs to homeland security. An outstanding contribution by Busch and Givens."
-General Norton Schwartz, United States Air Force (ret.), President and CEO, Business Executives for National Security (BENS)

"For those of us who were in the trenches in the beginning, I wish we would have had this common sense book to read."
-From the Foreword, Admiral James M. Loy, Acting Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, 2005; Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 2003–2005; Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, 2002–2003; Commandant, United States Coast Guard, 1998–2002

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