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UNH Student Participates in DOD War Games Alongside Top Military Leaders

Release Date:
7/12/2011 1:12 PM

UNH Student Participates in DOD War Games Alongside Top Military Generals and Commanders

Richard Kania, 500 px

Richard Kania

July 11, 2011

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- Amid the intelligence officers, generals and commanders at a recent war games exercise in Washington, D.C., planned by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), sat University of New Haven graduate student Richard Kania.

Kania, a master’s degree candidate in the national security and public safety program in the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, and a student employee at the UNH Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG), actually helped prepare some of the background reports analyzing three terrorist groups for game participants.

“The people there are so smart and they have such incredible resumes,” Kania says. “They are Marines who led combat units, scientists developing the technologies of tomorrow, and other military personnel who have done amazing things. It was great to be able to sit there and hear what they think.”

The four-part game took place in the D.C. metropolitan area from March to June and envisioned a war with an imaginary country in 2025.  The final game, which Kania attended,  gave him a glimpse into his future since he hopes to become involved with the intelligence community.

“It gives you direction about where you might end up some day. There were a lot of people there who advised me about where to apply for jobs and what to do in the future,” he says.

Kania is a graduate of Villanova where he majored in political science and Arab and Islamic studies.  A resident of Southington, Conn. he began working for ISVG in January, first as an intern and later as a student worker. He plans to finish his degree in December.

ISVG, which houses the world’s largest database of open-source material on violent groups, not only aggregates material on terrorist and other radical organizations around the globe but also analyzes it. Three analyses done by ISVG will be part of an appendix distributed in a report on the war games by NOETIC, a private contractor involved in the games. 

The analyses are helpful since the capabilities of terrorist groups are changing and getting more sophisticated and the DOD’s job is to predict what technology might develop and how to counteract it. The ISVG analyses prepared by Kania focused on Lashkar-e-Taiba (“army of the pure”), the group that led the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Hezbollah, and the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka.

“These are three unique groups with their own special tactics, weapons and background,” Kania says.

Kania also has done an analysis of Al Qaeda cells operating out of Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula that demonstrates the connections and financial support flowing between members of the organization across countries and borders.

The ISVG research is done in 27 languages using, among other things, GeoCommons, a mapping tool; and i2 Analyst’s Notebook, which provides powerful electronic tools for analysis.

“I am so much more employable because of my knowledge of these programs and because of working at ISVG,” Kania says. “It has been a perfect way to see how the theory that we study in class works in the field and it’s awesome to get paid to do it!”

A leader in experiential education, the University of New Haven provides its students with a valuable combination of solid liberal arts and real-world, hands-on professional training. Founded in 1920, UNH is a private, top-tier comprehensive university with an 80-acre main campus. The University has an enrollment of more than 5,900: approximately 1,700 graduate students and more than 4,200 undergraduates, 70 percent of whom reside in university housing. The University offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees and more than 25 graduate degrees through the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, the Tagliatela College of Engineering and University College. University of New Haven students study abroad through a variety of distinctive programs.