News & Happenings

May 29, 2017

LSU Center Plays a Major Role in the Fight Against Terrorism

Course participants work together during a tabletop exercise at an LSU-NCBRT Critical Descision Making for Complex Coordinated Attacks class in Commerece, CA April 13.

Louisiana State University is on the front lines in the fight against terrorism through one of its federally funded centers, the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training. The center develops and provides counterterrorism training to responders across the U.S. and its territories. Since its inception in 1998, LSU-NCBRT has trained 356,203 participants.


"The training we develop and advance is essential to enhancing public safety services provided by our nation's law enforcement and first responders. Preventing terrorist actions that threaten the safety and economic stability of our nation is paramount," said LSU-NCBRT Director Jeff Mayne.


LSU-NCBRT, along with the top subject matter experts in the country, is able to develop courses that address the most current preparedness needs. "Critical Decision Making for Complex Coordinated Attacks," was developed to address the vulnerability of any community to synchronized attacks using multiple attackers at multiple locations.


"After the Mumbai attacks it became a training issue, and the need has increased since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks," said Jerry Monier, LSU-NCBRT Associate Director of Research and Development.


These attacks involve multiple threats that often exceed conventional response tactics. They require a joint response involving members from varying disciplines and jurisdictions.


"Complex coordinated attacks aren't just active shooter events. It involves all types of threats, and that requires us to look at how we respond," Monier said.


Another great counterterrorism course is "Law Enforcement Prevention and Deterrence of Terrorist Acts." This course trains law enforcement personnel on actions they can take to prevent, deter and respond to terrorist acts.


The nature of law enforcement officers' daily work provides them with a unique understanding of the community. This heightened community awareness provides officers with a unique opportunity to prevent or deter potential WMD terrorist incidents. Participants who take this course say they regularly put the information learned in it to use in their jobs. 

"Recently, I stopped an individual who only had a world driver's license and no other form of identification," said Marco Padilla of the Philadelphia Police Department. Padilla explained how the counterfeit identification detection portion of the course helped him determine that the individual was a foreign national. "Through EPIC, I was able to verify he had recently entered the U.S., from Munich. Even though there was a language barrier, I was able to get a lot farther than I feel I would have had I not had the course."


"The most useful aspect of the course was the simple fact of heightened awareness," Padilla said. "Because of this course, I can now add a few extra things to look for during my investigations. Please continue to spread the knowledge. It is much needed."


Another Philadelphia officer, Clifton Lyghts, saw immediate benefits after taking the class.


"We received a fake license in my unit the very next day after the training. The techniques we learned were used immediately," Lyghts said. "The most useful was knowing where to find certain items on money and various documents to determine their legitimacy. I thought it was great training for patrol and detective personnel."


Other timely counterterrorism courses include "Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response," "Site Protection through Observational Techniques," "Emergency Response to Domestic Biological Incidents," "Advanced Forensic Investigations for Hazardous Environments," and "Managing Food Emergencies: Strategies for a Community Response." Currently, the center offers 23 courses.


LSU-NCBRT counterterrorism courses are not limited to law enforcement. The center also serves as a leader in biological incident and food and agriculture security training.  Terrorists could also use a biological attack or contaminate the food system. It's important to cover a wide range of vulnerabilities and prepare the nation's first responders. Courses target 18 professional disciplines whose members are considered to be first responders -- those individuals who, in the early stages of an incident, are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment.


Funding comes from grants under the Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security National Training Program, which enable LSU-NCBRT to develop and deliver DHS-certified counterterrorism training. Additionally, this training is mobile – meaning equipment and instructors are brought to the training agency at no cost to the agency or participant. Without this resource, many state and local agencies across the country would not have the opportunity to receive preparedness training.


"This federally funded program represents a positive use of federal dollars directly protecting our communities and our nation's critical infrastructure," Mayne said. "We encourage law enforcement and responders to take advantage of our training opportunities."


LSU-NCBRT has consistently provided the quality training necessary for all types of first responders to be prepared for all types of threats to the security of our communities. ​