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Law and SPEA students to take part in groundbreaking counter-terrorism simulation

In the event of terrorist attack on American soil, what rights and responsibilities do public officials have to protect citizens? How far can officials go in limiting freedoms while still maintaining constitutionally protected rights? What are the potential conflicts between or within agencies that might hinder or complicate government responses?

These are some of the questions that state, local, and national government officials and civil servants will one day face -- and that students from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI will face during an Oct. 23 groundbreaking counter-terrorism simulation at the law school.

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Students will work side-by-side with local and state officials to respond to simulated counter-terrorism events taking place locally and throughout the world. The event will be broadcast live over the Internet so college or high school students in their classrooms, first responders in emergency networks, or private citizens at home can watch and learn.

"We created this simulation in the interest of preparing a new generation of global leaders and citizens," says Professor Shawn Boyne of the IU School of Law-Indianapolis, who brought together all of the elements in the simulation.

The public will be able to view the simulation online beginning at 8:30 a.m., Oct. 23, at

Along with the simulation, the law school will present a keynote lecture on Oct. 22 by Lt. Col. David Benjamin, a reservist advocate with the Israel Defense Forces and a specialist in the law of armed conflicts and counter-terrorism. Benjamin will join experts on counter-terrorism and related issues from academia, the ACLU, the FBI, the U.S. Army War College, and the government of Germany for panel discussions on Oct. 23.

During the simulation, students will act in assigned roles that include the governor of Indiana, the president of the United States, the mayor of Indianapolis and intelligence operatives in the field. Acting "in character," for their assigned roles, they will make time-sensitive decisions based on conflicting, and sometimes incomplete, intelligence information.

"Faculty and students from SPEA will be participating in the exercise as well to encourage our students to view the law through an interdisciplinary lens," Boyne said.

Participants will receive information from live newsfeeds detailing events as they unfold. They then will be asked to mobilize their staffs and work with other agencies to respond to the developing emergencies within the boundaries of the law.

"To enhance realism, we have invited several experts in the field of counter-terrorism to work with the students throughout the program," Boyne said. "At the conclusion of the simulation, participants will receive feedback from international counter-terrorism experts."

The program has received overwhelming support from the state of Indiana and Marion County. In addition to providing technical assistance, the Marion County Emergency Management Division (MCEMD) plans to promote the simulation to its constituents. Similarly, the Indiana Emergency Response Commission (IERC) has expressed an interest in making this simulation exercise available for training for emergency responders in Indiana's 92 counties.

"This exercise provides public safety personnel at all levels of government -- local, state and federal -- the opportunity to further enhance their skills and capabilities through their participation," said Debbi Fletcher, senior coordinator of MCEMD. "This partnership is a vivid example of the university's impact upon students and the citizens of Indianapolis."

While members of the public can observe the simulation online, they can attend the following events in person:

  • Benjamin's keynote address on "Israel's Fight Against Terrorism -- the Charge of the Lawyers' Brigade," at 5 p.m., Oct. 22, in the Law School's Wynne Courtroom (see for more details). Benjamin has served as one of the top legal advisers to the Israeli security establishing, advising senior IDF commanders on operational law issues, foreign relations, economic affairs, humanitarian affairs and international military cooperation.
  • A panel discussion titled "Evaluating the Simulation, Dilemmas of Decision Making," at 2 p.m., Oct. 23. Panelists will include Gilbert Holmes, ACLU Indiana; Mike German, policy council, ACLU Washington legislative office; Kai M. Lohse, Federal Public Prosecutor General, Karlsruhe, Germany; and Jim White, clinical lecturer, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Call 317-278-3400 to arrange to attend.
  • A panel discussion titled "Looking Forward: Improving National Security," at 3:30 p.m., Oct. 23. Panelist will include Jeffrey F. Addicott, distinguished professor of law and director of the Center for Terrorism Law, St. Mary's University; Shawn Boyne, professor of law, IU School of Law-Indianapolis; William A. Foley Jr., lecturer, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Bert Tussing, director, Homeland Defense and Security Issues Group, U.S. Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership; and Michael S. Welch, special agent-in-charge, Indianapolis Division, FBI. Call 317-278-3400 to arrange to attend.

For more information on the Terrorism Simulation at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and related events, contact Elizabeth Allington at 317-278-3038 or