UNDER THE CLOUD OF TERRORISM
International counter-terrorism expert Jolene Jerard is the keynote speaker at the CBAFF conference in May and is expected to open delegates’ eyes to the threat of terrorism on the world’s logistics industry.
International counter terrorism expert Jolene Jerard is keynote speaker at the CBAFF conference in May.
Jolene Jerard’s ambition was to become an airforce pilot. It was a plan which ultimately led her into a different career, as a leading expert in the field of global political violence and terrorism.
“I first became interested in the terrorist threat in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – while I was in Singapore,” said Jerard, who will be keynote speaker at the 2015 Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF) conference in Wellington in May.
“I was doing my private licence with a private flying school. When the 9/11 attacks happened the flying school carried out checks on its students. That made me look more closely into the issue of terrorism and led me into an academic career.”
Jerard gained an MSc in Strategic Studies with a certificate in Terrorism
Studies from S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (ICPVTR). She is currently completing her PhD at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK and is an Associate Research Fellow and Manager at the school’s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.
The centre is one of the largest counter terrorism research and training centres in the world. It monitors extremist groups operating in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Jerard is responsible for the Southeast Asia desk which monitors extremist websites for the region.
She also provides training internationally, offering a strategic insight into the current terrorist threat environment for security and law enforcement agencies.
She has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Afghanistan and conducted field research in several threat zones including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Southern Thailand.
In connection with her work she has interviewed leaders and members of threat groups including politico-religious and ethno-nationalist groups, often carrying out interviews in prisons.
Jerard says her presentation to the conference will include how terrorists have exploited logistics routes in the past to move weapons and supplies. She will also explore future threats the logistics industry could face from terrorist and extremist groups such as the potential for terrorists to exploit cyber networks.
“I will be focusing on several aspects of the current threat and aspects of how the logistics industry has been used in the past. I will be emphasising the current threat and how to strengthen security infrastructure round the logistics industry,” she says.
That will include looking at ISIS and its impact on Asia Pacific in particular, implications for the sector and how ISIS has used social media networks as a platform for radicalisation.
“The evolution of the industry has created a new threat with the potential for terrorists to hack into cyber networks. Security gaps happen and I will be discussing issues such as security fatigue. That isn’t unique to the logistics industry, but when security inspectors are subjected to constant stimulus, there’s a risk they may sometimes let their guard down.”
Jerard’s areas of interest also extend to rehabilitation of terrorists. She is coauthor of Terrorism Rehabilitation and Counter-Radicalisation: New Approaches to Counter Terrorism (2012).
“At the centre we are looking at what modes of rehabilitation could be used to engage terrorist detainees with the hope that they can eventually be integrated back into society. Speaking to detainees helps provide insight into how ideology is affecting terrorist groups and movements,” she says.
“I have provided training programmes around rehabilitation, reintegration, community engagement and rehabilitation of terrorists. In connection with this work I have interviewed terrorist leaders. A lot of this work is with terrorists who are incarcerated in prison.”
Jerard is also a participant in the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) which publishes the Perspectives on Terrorism online journal. This provides a platform for schools, professionals and those entering the field of study of terrorism, political violence and conflict studies to share their research and insights.
The Art of Trade and Logistics
CBAFF immediate past president Willie van Heusden said he was delighted Ms Jerard had agreed to be keynote speaker, having heard her speak at the FIATA 2013 conference.
“To quote the session organiser for FIATA 2013 ‘Without any doubt, this extremely interesting and riveting presentation left the floor almost speechless’,” says van Heusden.
This year’s conference ‘The Art of Trade and Logistics’ will be held at the Rydges Hotel in Wellington from May 5-7. It is the only event of its kind in New Zealand to bring together those working within the sector.
This year’s speakers will also include, among others, Mark Cairns, chief executive of Port of Tauranga; Michael Papesch, group manager policy for NZ Customs; Shayne Bayley, manager, development, at the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management; and Ken Shirley, CEO of the NZ Road Transport Forum.
Themes of the conference will include embracing greater integration of the global supply chain, changing business models to take advantage of changing market conditions and looking beyond China and enhancing New Zealand’s export positioning.
For booking details see cbaff.org.nz
Jolene Jerard: “When security inspectors are subjected to constant stimulus, there’s a risk they may sometimes let their guard down.”