Law School Organizes Groundbreaking Counter-Terrorism Simulation for Students and Community Leaders
In the event of terrorist attack on American soil, what rights and responsibilities do public officials have to protect citizens? How far can officials go in limiting freedoms while still maintaining constitutionally protected rights? What are the potential conflicts between or within agencies that might hinder or complicate government responses? What are the short and long term legal consequences of actions taken in the chaotic moments after an attack? These are some of the questions and problems state, local and national government elected officials and civil servants will one day face. On October 23, 2009, students from the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs faced these same questions during a groundbreaking counter-terrorism simulation at the law school. Students from both schools worked side-by-side with local and state government officials to respond to simulated counter-terrorism events taking place locally and throughout the world. The entire event wasbroadcast live over the internet so college or high school students in their class rooms, first responders in emergency networks, or private citizens at home could watch and learn from the decision making processes sparked by the simulation.
"We created this simulation in the interest of preparing a new generation of global leaders and citizens," says Professor Shawn Boyne of the IU School of Law – Indianapolis, the professor who brought together all of the elements in this groundbreaking counter-terrorism simulation involving students in the fields of law and public policy.
The students participating in this exercise acted in assigned roles that included not only the Governor of Indiana, but also the President of the United States, the Mayor of Indianapolis, and intelligence operatives in the field. Acting "in character," for their assigned roles, they had to make time-sensitive decisions based on conflicting, and sometimes incomplete, intelligence information. Professor Boyne says, "Faculty and students from SPEA will be participating in the exercise as well, to encourage our students to view the law through an interdisciplinary lens."
During the simulation, the participants received information from live newsfeeds detailing events as they unfolded. They were then asked to mobilize their staffs and work with other agencies to respond to the developing emergencies within the boundaries of the law. Professor Boyne says, “To enhance realism, we have invited several experts in the field of counter-terrorism to work with the students throughout the program.” At the conclusion of the simulation, participants received feedback from international counter-terrorism experts. A panel discussion will take place with international, national, and local authorities in the field of counter-terrorism.
"One of the things that makes this exercise truly unique is that it aims to expand this experiential learning opportunity to as wide of an audience as possible,"says Professor Boyne. Members of the public were be able to view the simulation beginning at 8:30 am on October 23rd at: http://indylaw.indiana.edu/programs/simulation. "To date, the program has received overwhelming support from the State of Indiana and Marion County. In addition to providing technical assistance, the Marion County Emergency Management Division (MCEMD) plans to promote the simulation to its constituents. Similarly, the Indiana Emergency Response Commission (IERC) has expressed an interest in making this simulation exercise available for training for emergency responders in Indiana’s 92 counties,” says Professor Boyne. Debbi Fletcher, Senior Coordinator of MCEMD says, “This exercise provides public safety personnel at all levels of government-- local, state and federal, the opportunity to further enhance their skills and capabilities through their participation. This partnership is a vivid example of the university’s impact upon students and the citizens of Indianapolis." Professor Boyne says, "It is our hope that the benefits of this exercise will extend beyond the campus community to the community at large so that citizens will gain some insight into the law and policy ramifications of the counter-terrorism and emergency response planning processes."
Lieutenant-Colonel David Benjamin, a reservist Advocate with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a specialist in the law of armed conflicts and counter-terrorism, gave a keynote address that is open to the public on the evening of October 22 (Continuing Legal Education credit will be available, pending approval. See the law school’s web site for more details: indylaw.indiana.edu). Benjamin served as one of the top legal advisors to the Israeli security establishment, advising senior IDF commanders on Operational Law issues, foreign relations, economic affairs, humanitarian affairs and international military cooperation issues. He also served as Chief Legal Advisor for the Gaza Strip from 2001 to 2005.
At 2:00 p.m. on October 23, Benjamin was be joined by experts on counter-terrorism and related issues from academia, the ACLU, the FBI, the U.S. Army War College, and Germany. While the simulation can be viewed live by the public over the internet, the panel discussions entitled "Dilemmas of Decision-making" and "Looking Forward: Improving National Security" were be open to the public (and Continuing Legal Education credit available, pending approval).
For more information on the Terrorism Simulation at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and related events, contact Elizabeth Allington at 317-278-3038 or email@example.com.