The McCain Institute National Security & Counterterrorism fellows convened in London and Belfast in mid-February for a week of engagements with senior government officials, premier national security scholars and experts from the private sector.

In London, the fellows attended private meetings with senior leadership at key government agencies, including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Home Office, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), the Metropolitan Police, MI5 and Vauxhall. Speakers included Director for Defence and International Security Samantha Job and Director for National Security Simon Shercliff OBE at the FCO; Director General Tom Hurd at the Home Office; the head of JTAC; Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu QPM, head of Counterterrorism Policing at the Metropolitan Police; and Sir Andrew Parker KCB, director general, MI5.

While in London, the fellows also participated in discussions with leading academics and experts from the private sector, includingKing’s College London Professor Peter Neumann on terrorist radicalization and recruitment; Pool Re on terrorism reinsurance; and Moonshot CVE on digital efforts to respond to and mitigate violent extremism. At the end of the week, the fellows flew to Belfast for a daylong briefing on the current terrorism threat in Northern Ireland.

On account of COVID-19, the National Security & Counterterrorism program has postponed the visit of the fellows to Canberra and Sydney, originally scheduled for May, to a date TBD. Meanwhile, the fellows are slated to connect virtually on April1 for a special discussion with Admiral William H. McRaven on effective leadership during times of crisis.