Biography

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Dr. Alex S. Wilner is an Assistant Professor of International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University, Ottawa. He teaches classes on terrorism and radicalization, national and cybersecurity, intelligence studies, and a capstone course on Canadian security policy. Capstone partners have included FINTRAC, Public Safety Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Bank of Canada, Policy Horizons Canada (Horizons), and Ontario’s Office of the Provincial Security Advisor. Prof Wilner also developed and teaches a course on strategic foresight in international security, in which graduate students explore the future of weaponry, state conflict, terrorism, criminality, cybersecurity, and other contemporary issues. Prof Wilner’s academic research focuses on the application of deterrence theory to contemporary security issues, like terrorism, radicalization, organized crime, cyber threats, and proliferation. His books include Deterring Rational Fanatics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and Deterring Terrorism: Theory and Practice (eds., Stanford University Press, 2012). He has published articles in International SecurityNYU Journal of International Law and PoliticsSecurity Studies, Journal for Deradicalization (2017), Journal of Strategic Studies (2017 and 2011), Comparative Strategy (2012 and 2017), International Journal, and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (2010 and 2011). In 2016, he was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to study state and non-state cyber deterrence in Canada.

In November 2017, with support from DND, Horizons, and CSIS, he organized a workshop – The Ottawa Workshop on Strategic Foresight: Charting the Future of Technology and National Security and Defence Priorities – on exploring the utility of using strategic foresight in intelligence, national security and foreign policy planning, and academic research. Over 50 Canadian public servants active in foresight attended. Prof Wilner has likewise provided foresight and academic services to a number of other government departments and agencies, including Public Safety, FINTRAC, Global Affairs Canada, DND, The Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism, the Canada School of Public Service, and various members of Canada’s intelligence community. He advises the RCMP’s new foresight initiative, and led foresight training workshops at Economic and Social Development Canada in December 2017, the Canadian Forest Service, NRCan, in March 2018, and the Centre for Intercultural Learning, GAC, in March 2018.

Prior to joining NPSIA, Prof Wilner worked at Horizons, the Government of Canada’s foresight centre, where he gained invaluable experience applying foresight to public policy. He was one of the principle authors of Horizons’ “Geostrategic Cluster Findings – The Future of Asia”, and contributed to MetaScan 4: The Future of Asia, a Horizons flagship publication. He has also held a variety of positions at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, and the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. He is a Munk Senior Fellow at the MacDonald Laurier Institute, is on the Board of Directors of The Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS), and a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society (TSAS). Prof Wilner lives in Ottawa with his wife and two young daughters. His full CV can be downloaded here.