Bruce Hoffman

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search
Bruce Hoffman

Bruce Hoffman is a prominent terrorism expert for a long time associated with the RAND Corporation. He was a founding director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, and is currently a professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Education

  • A.B. (1976) Connecticut College, Government, History
  • B. Phil. (1978) Oxford University, International Relations
  • D. Phil. (1986) Oxford University, International Relations

Career

RAND Corporation

Hoffman joined RAND as an intern whilst studying his PhD. An article in the Washington Post states that, "Before leaving Rand to teach at St. Andrew's, Mr. Hoffman worked at the think tank for 13 years...he is proud of rising through the ranks from intern to program director before he left".[1] This would suggest that Hoffman joined RAND in 1981 as an intern whilst he was studying for his PhD. He authored a report for RAND called Right-wing terrorism in Europe in 1982, four years before he was awarded his doctorate. Hoffman authored several more reports for RAND during the 1980s. His first recorded appearance in the English print media was on 13 December 1983. He told the Washington Post that the tradition of suicide attacks can be traced through Shiites back to the 13th century, and that "Terrorism or violence is a sacred act". The Post referred to Hoffman as a "specialist in Middle East terrorism".[2]

When Brian Jenkins left in 1989, Hoffman took over the RAND Terrorism Chronology Database which Jenkins had developed. Hoffman assumed directorship of the programme and expanded the database to include domestic as well as international terrorism.[3]

St. Andrews

In November 1994, the Director of Central Intelligence awarded Hoffman the United States Intelligence Community Seal Medallion; the highest level of commendation given to a non-government employee.[4] That year Hoffman left the RAND staff to set up the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews. Hoffman became director of the centre as well as becoming chairman of the Department of International Relations at St. Andrews. Hoffman worked alongside Paul Wilkinson who was Chairman of the Centre, and assumed Hoffman’s responsibilities after his departure. At St. Andrews Hoffman continued to consult for RAND and others, and to edit the academic journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.[5]

Because Hoffman had the best understanding of the RAND Terrorism Chronology Database, the decision was made that the database would essentially be taken with him to St. Andrews. There Hoffman, his wife Donna and the doctoral candidate David Claridge continued to update the database with the assistance of various graduate students. [6] During this time the database was known as the RAND-St Andrews database or the RAND-St Andrews Chronology of Terrorism.

Back to RAND

Bruce Hoffman left St. Andrews in December 1997 taking data from the chronology back to RAND. [7] On 31 August 1998 RAND announced that Hoffman was to become director of its Washington Office, effective from January 1999.[8] From 2001 to 2004, Hoffman was RAND’s Vice President for External Affairs and in 2004 he also was Acting Director of RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy. Hoffman’s last positions at RAND were as Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency, Director of the Washington office and Senior International Policy Analyst.[9]

Advising the Occupation in Iraq

Hoffman was adviser on counterterrorism to the Office of National Security Affairs, Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq during the spring of 2004. From 2004-2005 he was an adviser on counterinsurgency to the Strategy, Plans, and Analysis Office at Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad.[10] In a 2005 article, British academics Jonny Burnett and Dave Whyte note that:

During his period of office Hoffman authored a paper, published by RAND, which provides a marker for the strategic advice he was providing to the occupation forces. In the article, Hoffman argues that the occupation counter-terrorism strategy can only be successful if it adopts a British model of counter-insurgency. He singles out Frank Kitson’s Low Intensity Operations as a model for the US occupation and argues that in order to defeat this ‘netwar’ - involving an enemy organised in a “loose, amorphous manner” or “postmodern insurgency” - return to the intelligence methods advocated by the counter-insurgency movement is required. [11]

Hoffman had compared American imperialism with its British predecessor in his early writings. In 1983 Bar-Ilan University Press published Hoffman’s book The failure of British military strategy within Palestine, 1939-1947. A year later he compared the British colonial experience with the American presence in Lebanon in a RAND report he authored called The siege mentality in Beirut: an historical analogy between the British in Palestine and the Americans in Lebanon.

Georgetown University

On 12 July 2006 it was announced that Hoffman would join Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service[12] where he is currently professor in the Security Studies Program. Note that the SFS program at Georgetown Univ. is a prime recruiting ground for CIA and other intelligence operatives. The CIA recruits openly, and some students wear CIA t-shirts. At least two SFS deans were "former" CIA officers (e.g., Dean Keogh).[13]

Views on terrorism

Hoffman is dismissive of the possibility of grass roots militarism against the United States and its allies. Commenting on a Canadian report predicting a 'lone wolf' terrorism attack, Hoffman told the National Post: "I think part of al-Qaeda's strategy, the jihadi strategy, is to get everyone so consumed with these grass-roots threats that it gives greater scope to the real professionals to operate."[14]

Dispute with Marc Sageman

Hoffman has publicly disagreed with former CIA analyst and Foreign Policy Research Institute Senior Fellow Marc Sageman over the nature of the terrorist threat to the United States. Sageman has argued that the threat comes not from Al-Qaeda but from independent and self-organised individuals and groups. Hoffman on the other hand has emphasised a continued and resurgent threat from Al-Qaeda.[15]

Reviewing Sageman's book for Foreign Affairs, Hoffman wrote that Sageman has “a fundamental misreading of the Al Qaeda threat,” adding that his “historical ignorance is surpassed only by his cursory treatment of social-networking theory.”[16]

In a subsequent issue of Foreign Affairs, Sageman accused Hoffman of “gross misrepresentation” and in an interview with the New York Times, he said he was at a loss to explain Hoffman’s critique saying: “Maybe he’s mad that I’m the go-to guy now.”[17]

Downplaying U.S. and Israeli terror

British academics Jonny Burnett and Dave Whyte note in a article how Hoffman's analysis downplays the violence of the U.S. and its allies:

In his key contribution as advisor to the Constitutional Provisional Authority, Hoffman locates the problem of ‘insurgency’ in Iraq is a result of the US’s lack of adequate planning: “a critical window of opportunity was lost because we failed to anticipate the widespread civil disorder and looting that followed the capture of Baghdad (2004, 2). This was the key mistake that “breathed life into the insurgency.” The wholesale corporate looting of Iraq, in which at least $4billion worth of oil revenue have gone missing (Christian Aid, 2004), or the wholesale sell off of Iraqi assets to Western corporations as a result of the collusive relationship between the Coalition Provisional Authority and US corporations (Open Society Institute, 2004) doesn’t figure in this analysis. Neither does the torture and summary justice meted out in the hastily erected penal archipelago, nor the 100,000 immediate casualties of war (Washington Post, 29 October 2004). If his embedded status was ever doubted, it is revealed consistently by the use of “our” strategy when referring to the US military strategy. [18]
Hoffman has argued publicly that Israel’s ‘success’ in combating Palestinian terrorism is directly a result of the Israeli Defence Forces’ illegal occupation of the West Bank (CNN US News broadcast, 19th May 2003). Whilst the same parameters and definitions used by terrorologists could equally define the Israeli occupation as an act of terrorism, it is never discussed as such. [19]

Affiliations

Organisations

Associates, friends and family

Hoffman's wife Donna developed the RAND-St Andrews database with Hoffman at CSTPV in the early 1990s. [20]

Hoffman has a page on the social networking site Facebook.com. In his profile picture he is seated in what appears to be a miltary vehicle wearing sunglassing and military attire. His listed friends on facebook include Matthew Devost of the Terrorism Research Center, Magnus Ranstorp formerly of CSTPV, and Peter Neumann of Kings College London who Directs the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. [21]

Contact information

Tel: 202-687-7847
Email: brh6@georgetown.edu

Notes

  1. Heather Skale, 'Tide of terror brings Rand's director back', The Washington Times, 14 September 1998
  2. Michael Getler and Rick Atkinson, 'U.S. Watches for 'Human Bombs, The Washington Post, 13 December 1983
  3. RAND Corporation News Release, 'BRUCE HOFFMAN TO HEAD RAND’S WASHINGTON OFFICE. LEADING TERRORISM EXPERT RETURNS AS THINK TANK BEEFS UP PROGRAM. ALSO BACK AT RAND: BRIAN JENKINS', 31 August 1998
  4. Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, FACULTY & STAFF: Bruce Hoffman
  5. RAND Corporation News Release, 'BRUCE HOFFMAN TO HEAD RAND’S WASHINGTON OFFICE. LEADING TERRORISM EXPERT RETURNS AS THINK TANK BEEFS UP PROGRAM. ALSO BACK AT RAND: BRIAN JENKINS', 31 August 1998
  6. Laura Dugan, Gary LaFree, Kim Cragin, Anna Kasupski, 'Building and Analyzing a Comprehensive Open Source Data Base on Global Terrorist Events (PDF)' (National Institute of Justice/NCJRS, March 2008
  7. Laura Dugan, Gary LaFree, Kim Cragin, Anna Kasupski, 'Building and Analyzing a Comprehensive Open Source Data Base on Global Terrorist Events (PDF)' (National Institute of Justice/NCJRS, March 2008
  8. RAND Corporation News Release, 'BRUCE HOFFMAN TO HEAD RAND’S WASHINGTON OFFICE. LEADING TERRORISM EXPERT RETURNS AS THINK TANK BEEFS UP PROGRAM. ALSO BACK AT RAND: BRIAN JENKINS', 31 August 1998
  9. Georgetown University New, ‘Terrorism Expert Bruce Hoffman Joins Faculty’, 12 July 2006
  10. Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, FACULTY & STAFF: Bruce Hoffman
  11. Jonny Burnett & Dave Whyte, 'Embedded Expertise and the New Terrorism (PDF)', Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media 1 (4) p.11
  12. Georgetown University New, ‘Terrorism Expert Bruce Hoffman Joins Faculty’, 12 July 2006
  13. This is well known to students and faculty at GU. During the 1970s, especially during the Carter presidency, the right-wing intelligence opertatives moved to the CSIS, a GU-related think tank. During the Reagan presidency the CSIS opertives moved back into their government posts, and now they return to CSIS or GU-SFS when they are in-between jobs. While during the 1970s they remained mostly at the CSIS producing reports and the like, the new batch of CSIS foreign policy hawks teach at the SFS.
  14. Stewart Bell, 'Solo terrorists pose new threat: report', National Post, 10 June 2008
  15. Elaine Sciolino and Eric Schmitt, A Not Very Private Feud Over Terrorism, New York Times, 8 June 2008
  16. Bruce Hoffman, 'The Myth of Grass-Roots Terrorism. Why Osama bin Laden Still Matters', Foreign Affairs, May/June 2008
  17. Elaine Sciolino and Eric Schmitt, A Not Very Private Feud Over Terrorism, New York Times, 8 June 2008
  18. Jonny Burnett & Dave Whyte, 'Embedded Expertise and the New Terrorism (PDF)', Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media 1 (4) 1-18
  19. Jonny Burnett & Dave Whyte, 'Embedded Expertise and the New Terrorism (PDF)', Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media 1 (4) 1-18
  20. Speech given by Professor Alex P. Schmid on the occasion of Paul’s retrial. Accessed from URL <http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~cstpv/about/staffprofiles/pwretiral101007.pdf> on 28 June 2008, 13:47:59
  21. Screengrab of Bruce Hoffman's public page on facebook. Created at 15:10 on 20 November 2008

Bruce Hoffman speaks about Al Qaeda and the current terrorist threat at the Institute of Counter-Terrorism (ICT) 5th International Conference on Global Terrorism on September 12, 2005 in Herzliya, Israel.