Intelligence and Special Operations in Counterterrorism

This innovative new workshop was offered at the Institute from February 15-17, 2013, bringing established speakers in the intelligence, special operations, and counterterrorism fields.

Course Information

From 15 February to 17 February 2013, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies offered a one-of-a-kind workshop entitled, “Intelligence and Special Operations in Counterterrorism.” This workshop convened professionals in the fields of special operations, intelligence, and counterterrorism to share with students their experiences in applying theory to practice across these fields.  The material presented laid the groundwork for students’ understanding of the intricacies inherent to each of these institutions and the histories and structures of each.

Course Background

The course was constructed by Patrick Stellmon and Brigadier General (RET) Russell D. Howard and taught by General Howard, who lent his more than thirty years of U.S. Special Forces training and experience to the course. Joining him as guest lecturers were: Colonel (RET) Paul Mullin, Major (P) Paula Broadwell, Dr. Kalev “Gunner” Sepp, and a Navy SEAL. These speakers exhibited a wide range of expertise gained from experiences such as: U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Naval Special Warfare Group, U.S. Army Intelligence, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, U.S. Military Psychological Operations, and U.S. Marine Joint Terminal Attack Controller.

General Howard presented basic structural and procedural information regarding both the intelligence and special operations communities. Guest speakers then added their own anecdotes and insights into these communities and their operations. Additionally, the challenges both policy makers and practitioners face in counterterrorism planning and operations were discussed. Speakers were engaging and challenged students to think creatively about ways to ameliorate these challenges.

Required Readings

The required readings for the course were drawn from a variety of sources, including: General Howard’s monograph concerning intelligence in denied areas, official government sources, timely news articles, and academic publications. The deliverable was a two-page op-ed on the subject of the student’s choice regarding one of the challenges addressed in the workshop.

MonTREP's Role

The preparatory research for this workshop was conducted using MonTREP funding with the goals of studying new subject areas, expanding the terrorism studies program’s core competencies, and exploring the feasibility of using this subject matter in a full-time seminar course in the near future.


Paula Broadwell

Paula Broadwell

Paula Broadwell is an author and a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies, and the United States Military Academy. She is an Army Military Intelligence officer with active and reserve military service in various fields of intelligence and counterterrorism.

COL (ret.) Paul Mullin

Paul Mullin

COL Paul Mullin retired from the J3, Information Operations at USSOCOM(A). He works for FRDA LLC, a leadership consulting company.

He commanded 9 units, and served 19 of his 25 years with troops up to Group/Brigade level. He also served as an infantryman and intelligence officer in West Berlin. He was a Task Force J3 in Mogadishu, Somalia during Operation RESTORE HOPE. COL Mullin is the founder of US worldwide Humanitarian Demining. He also served as the Chief of Psychological Operations.

COL Mullin’s studied as an Army War College Fellow in the Special Operations Defense Analysis Group at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a graduate of the South East Asia Program at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC. He also studied at two foreign universities.  He is a graduate of the Army War College, both the Army and Marine Corps Command and Staff Colleges, Special Forces Officer Qualification Course, Psychological Operations, Anti-Terrorism Instructor’s Training Course.

After military retirement, Mr. Mullin served as a branch chief and staff officer in several US Embassies overseas. Until April 2012, he was the inter-agency liaison officer for Special Operations/Counterterrorism Directorate for the ASD/SOLIC in the Pentagon.

Dr. Kalev Sepp

Kalev Sepp

Dr. Kalev Sepp is a Senior Lecturer in Defense Analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He was previously the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Capabilities and was responsible for the U.S. Department of Defense global counterterrorism portfolio. A former U.S. Army Special Forces officer, he earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University, and his Combat Infantryman Badge in the Salvadoran Civil War. His unit assignments included the 82d Airborne Division, the 2d Ranger Battalion, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and the 2d Infantry Division, among others. He was also an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.