About the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism

There’s just no other place that does it like Syracuse.—US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter


The Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) is a multidisciplinary, university-based center for the study of national security, international security, and counterterrorism, offering law and graduate certificates of advanced study and conducting incisive research and timely policy analysis. Part of Syracuse University’s College of Law and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, INSCT’s collaborative projects have shaped law and policy dialogues for more than 15 years.

INSCT’S extensive national security capabilities are founded on the expertise of INSCT Director William C. Banks—College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor and Maxwell School Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs—and augmented by affiliated faculty and other experts throughout the national security, international security, and counterterrorism community.

Banks has helped set the scholarly parameters of his field by co-authoring two leading textbooks—National Security Law (Aspen, 6th ed.) and Counterterrorism Law (Aspen, 3rd ed.)—and by initiating the New Battlefields/Old Laws (NBOL) project examining international humanitarian law (IHL) in the 21st century. This signature INSCT initiative has so far produced two ground-breaking examinations of contemporary IHL, both edited by Banks: New Battlefields/Old Laws: Critical Debates from the Hague Convention to Asymmetric Warfare (Columbia UP, 2011) and Counterinsurgency Law: New Directions in Asymmetric Warfare (Oxford UP, 2012).

INSCT Director William C. Banks (right) and Deputy Director Robert B. Murrett in June 2017.

Founded in 2003, INSCT continues to advance its mission to be an internationally recognized center for interdisciplinary teaching, for multi-method research into complex security problems, and for public service to practitioners grappling with seemingly intractable national, international, and human security issues. Agile and responsive, INSCT’s educational and research programs continue to track the changing nature of these issues, as battlefields become virtual, wars become asymmetric, homeland security becomes critical, human rights crises become commonplace, and the rule of law becomes indispensable.

INSCT’s interdisciplinary law and graduate academic programs give law and policy students the best possible theoretical and practical training as they prepare themselves for careers in national and international security and counterterrorism. INSCT’s research portfolio engages these cross-domain topics in six key areas: national security and counterterrorism law and policy; cybersecurity and cyberespionage; Middle East security and Islamic rule of law; security governance and postconflict reconstruction; homeland security; and defense strategy and veterans affairs.

In addition to books, monographs, and white papers, INSCT experts organize and contribute to international conferences and workshops (such as New Battlefields/Old Laws; Law and Security: Perspectives from the Field and Beyond; and Controlling Economic Cyber Espionage); host public lectures (such as the Becker Middle East Security and the Everett Postconflict Reconstruction speaker series); and, in collaboration with Georgetown Law, produce the Journal of National Security Law and Policy, the only peer-reviewed journal of its kind.

The Institute has forged several national and international partnerships in its spheres of research, most notably with the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security; Institute for Counter-Terrorism (Herzliya, Israel); International Committee of the Red Cross; International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (Siracusa, Italy); King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (Saudi Arabia); NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (Tallinn, Estonia); Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle East Policy; United States Institute of PeaceUS Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute; and the Warrior-Scholar Project.

Among Syracuse University’s colleges and departments, the Institute collaborates with the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Department of Economics; Department of Public Administration and International Affairs; Institute for Veterans and Military Families; Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs; Newhouse School of Public Communications; Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration; The School of Information Studies (iSchool); and Whitman School of Management.

Key Capabilities

Public Service & Policy Analysis
Interdisciplinary Research
Law & Graduate Education