The Higgins Counter-terrorism Research Center was named in honor of Lt. Colonel William R. Higgins USMC, a senior military advisor in Lebanon who was abducted in Beirut in 1988 and subsequently murdered by Islamist terrorists. The Higgins Counter-terrorism Research Center is a nonprofit organization, staffed by former U.S. Government antiterrorism/counter-terrorism, intelligence and defense experts who are committed to providing Anti-Terrorism training to America’s first responders – its Firefighters, Police Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians as well as its Military and Intelligence Officers.
In the government mobilization after the September 11th attacks, many resources were marshaled to fight terrorism, but, thus far, none to provide the comprehensive anti-terrorism training so vital for the men and women who are closest to the action.
As the September 11th attacks revealed, radical Islamic terrorist organizations pose extreme challenges to federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and the military. The federal agencies cannot meet these challenges alone. Therefore, the Higgins Center strives to train the operational personnel and “trainers” of each organization in an attempt to mobilize key personnel, who can act as “force multipliers” in the War on Terrorism.
Answering President Bush’s call to all Americans to contribute their talents in the War against Terrorism, the Higgins Center responded by developing modular seminars specifically designed to provide key personnel with the tactical, strategic, operational, and intelligence skills necessary to uncover and pre-emption the Radical Islamic Threat. The Center provides half-day to week- long seminars and exercises, tailored to the needs of front- line personnel as well as upper-level managers of their organizations.
The focus of the Higgins programs is on the pre-emption, dissuasion, and disruption of terrorist organizations and their support networks. The tools, information, and techniques provided have enabled investigators to pursue new avenues of inquiry, revisit cases previously closed, and refocus internal resources to more effectively pursue the counter-terrorism mission. Unfortunately, as of September 11, 2001, U.S. local, state and federal law enforcement agencies were unprepared to contend with this phenomenon, and for the most part, these agencies did not regard Islamist terrorism as a threat to the American community.
The Higgins Counter-terrorism Research Center originally created the Islamist Terrorism 101 seminar precisely to fill this vacuum. This seminar was specifically designed to provide law enforcement officers with a comprehensive understanding of Islamist terrorist groups to include the history of the Islamist movement, its ideology, the characteristics of the movement and its personnel, its political, financial and educational organizations and front companies, state sponsors of terrorism, mission specific and local support cells, the crimes they commit, the strategic alliances they have made, their intelligence gathering capabilities, an explanation of their use of suicide bombing, and their efforts to acquire and use Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc.
A major accomplishment is the fact that, in almost every jurisdiction in which the seminar has been provided, new investigations have been initiated, old cases have been reviewed, and force protection training and implementation have been adjusted.
The Higgins Counter-terrorism Research Center, on a daily basis, advises various police agencies regarding ongoing investigations.