Rutgers listed within 100 most militarized schools in nation

In November, Vice News ranked Rutgers University as the 73rd most “militarized university” in the nation.

"Militarized" is a misnomer, referring not to the presence of a militarized police force or an expansive ROTC program, but to the existence of national security programs, the amount of federal funding received by the universities and the presence of research relating to homeland security.

Vice held Rutgers as one of the top homeland security schools, likely due to the growth of the Rutgers Institute of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security (IEPHS).

“A core mission of our institute is protecting individuals, groups and society from the spectrum of threats that can occur,” said Clifton Lacy, director of IEPHS. “We employ an all hazards approach … we focus on naturally occurring hazards and accidental so called 'technological hazards and 'intentional threats.'”

The threats experienced by New Jersey have been numerous.

Anthrax, Tularemia, Lassa Fever and severe acute respiratory syndrome are examples of biological threats that have previously affected the state. Weather-related events including hurricanes and droughts number among the meteorological threats. Response to technological hazards, such as bridge collapses, are also handled by the Institute, Lacy said.

“One of our major aims is to break down silos and coordinate experts from across the University and between the University and outside public and private entities,” Lacy said. “(We aim) to function as a full portal of access for Rutgers experts.”

By functioning as a one-stop source, the institute can eliminate inefficiencies in disaster response.

“(In the case of) pandemic influenza, instead of federal, state, public and private entities going to one institution for infectious disease, another for supply chain and third one to talk about integration and coordination of assets, they can come to Rutgers and we can give them everything," Lacy said.

IEPHS is active in a large number of spheres. In addition to coordinating experts, the Institute addresses all aspects of disaster preparedness including mitigation, recovery, response and resilience, Lacy said.

The Institute also services the communities of New Jersey.

During the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014, IEPHS coordinated with prominent members of New Jersey’s West African community to mitigate the potential spread of the disease, Lacy said.

In January 2005, Rutgers received a competitive grant for the creation of an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (IC-CAE).

The congressionally mandated program was created with the goal of increasing job applicants to intelligence related work, ultimately aimed at protecting the nation.

“They’re looking for individuals of many disciplines with a strong emphasis on STEM majors,” Lacy said. “They’re looking also for cultural and ethnically diverse groups of people who are interested in critical thinking and analytic reasoning.”

Currently, the IC-CAE curriculum is comprised of internships, study abroad opportunities, fellowships and research assistant positions. Eighteen credits worth of courses are currently being developed for a minor in Intelligence Studies, Lacy said.

In addition to the work of IEPHS and the attached IC-CAE, Rutgers—Camden boasts a National Security Studies Certificate Program (NSSCP).

Most recipients of the certificate go into law enforcement, said Richard Harris, chair of the Rutgers—Camden Department of Political Science. 

“A good indicator of that is that not only political science students … but also criminal justice majors tend to enroll," he said.

The program is also taken by law enforcement professionals who seek to add the certificate to their resume. The demand for applicants with some knowledge of the intelligence community is on the rise, according to the Rutgers—Camden Department of Political Science.

The program aims to familiarize students with the topography of the intelligence community. Students will learn how different agencies interact with one another, and about the challenges faced by those in the national security fields, Harris said.

“The threat of terrorism poses a challenge in terms of the trade off between increasing the intelligence and surveillance capacity of the state on one hand and protecting our civil liberties and privacy on the other,” Harris said.

In addition to that trade off, the program seeks to educate students on U.S. politics and the organization of the executive branch as it relates to various intelligence agencies, he said.

The program also requires students to be familiar with the international environment and comparative politics so that they can be better equipped to collaborate with other nations.

Educating students about intelligence work is the program's goal, not just training for it, Harris said.

“It's not a training in defense intelligence techniques. We talk about different modalities of intelligence gathering, but we don’t teach people how to be intelligence officers,” Harris said. “The other side of this is that we employ practitioners to teach the course on the survey on the national security establishment.”

Practitioners are employed to teach courses in the program on a rotating basis. These practitioners are professionals in the national security field, including people employed by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“None of them are spies. Most of them are involved, in one way or another, in law enforcement or security analysis,” Harris said.

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