Global Dialogue | Malcolm Nance | Terrorism: At Home and Abroad | Jan 5

Global Dialogue Webinar Series

Terrorism: At Home and Abroad


Malcolm Nance

Author and Director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project

and host

Patrick Ryan

Former Chief of Terrorism Assessments, US Central Command

January 5, 2021

6:00 PM CT


At 6:28 a.m. a massive explosion ripped through a historic block of North Second Avenue in downtown Nashville. Among the first questions asked were who did it, why did they do it, and was it terrorism. That last question has become a quintessential element of mass violence in America. We may feel some relief when when a heinous act is not called terrorism, sadly, not that its horrific nature is lessened by its label but the implication that it’s not part of a wider campaign.

Most bombings have been judged to be terrorism in that they have a political or ideological motivation. The Nashville bombing has yet to be labeled by law enforcement as such, not that the average citizen couldn’t be forgiven for concluding  the Christmas bombing was “terror” in their minds. [The distinction of an act of “terrorism” is not lost on the home owners and business people who may lose insurance coverage if December 25th was officially designated an act of terror.]

As the FBI continues the investigation into the Christmas bombing and we navigate the aftermath we will try to put it in the context of the threat of such violence from domestic and international sources. To do so TNWAC has invited Malcolm Nance, an expert in analyzing and countering terrorist violence. Nance literally wrote the book on it. A prolific author he produced the “Terrorist Recognition Handbook: A Practitioner’s  Manual for Predicting and Identifying Terrorist Activities.” He has also written extensively on combatting the Islamic State and on Russian hacking attacks on American cyber systems in furtherance of political and national security objectives. Nance’s counter-terrorism activities include work in the field to combat terrorist activities.

Nance retired from the Navy after 20 years and promotion to Senior Chief Petty Officer. Among his post-military pursuits was work in preparing Navy special operations forces, SEALs and others, in methods to endure captivity at the hands of a new class of enemies like Al Qaeda militants. He also worked in security and intelligence activities in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion. Along the way he became an expert on extremist threats in Iraq and literally wrote the book on ISIS producing a handbook that became a counter-terrorism bible. Nance’s research and writing about ISIS’ use of electronic media led to his dive into what was to emerge as a wide-ranging Russian information warfare capability and campaign.

Hosting the conversation with Malcolm Nance will be TNWAC’s founding president and retired Navy Intelligence Officer, LCDR Patrick Ryan. Among his experiences working in Middle East affairs was assignment as chief of terrorism analysis at U.S. Central Command during the bombings of USMTM in Riyadh and the USAF barracks in al-Khobar. He completed his 26 years in the Navy in 1998, on a one-year, Intelligence Community research project into the emergence of the Al Qaeda threat.

Join us on Tuesday, January 5th at 6:00 pm, as Nance and Ryan discuss the Nashville bombing, the domestic terror threat — called the “greatest threat to the homeland” by FBI Director Wray — and the ever present international terror that to U.S. interests.

You should also listen to the TNWAC “Global Tennessee” Podcast recorded a year ago when Nance visited Nashville. You can find it HERE on our Podcast archive of “Global Tennessee” Pods.

Malcolm Nance is a former Arabic speaking naval intelligence counter-terrorism and intelligence officer specializing in the Middle East; a combat veteran, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape expert, historian, and author. He spent 35 years participating in field and combat intelligence activity including both covert and clandestine anti & counter-terrorism support to national intelligence agencies. He is a member of the Board of Advisors at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC; as honored as one of the noteworthy African-Americans in Espionage and featured in the Academy award nominated documentary Dirty Wars. MSNBC and labeled him one the “unsung national security genius of our time.” He is presently executive Director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies (TAPSTRI) in Hudson, NY. [Source]

Patrick Ryan is a native of New York City. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and volunteered for submarine duty. He served aboard nuclear fast attack and ballistic missile boats during the Cold War, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In 1982 he was commissioned and served aboard a cruiser in the Western Pacific before becoming a Navy Intelligence Officer. Ryan served aboard the carrier Constellation in the Pacific, the Joint Staff Intelligence Directorate in the Pentagon, the Center for Naval Analysis, and the Intelligence Directorate of U.S. Central Command. At CENTCOM Ryan was Chief of the Terrorism Assessments Branch responsible for intelligence reporting on threats across the Horn of Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia. In 1997 he was selected in the Intelligence Community’s Exceptional Intelligence Analyst Program to research the emerging threat from Al Qaeda. He retired from the Navy in 1998 and worked as a consultant on Intelligence Community projects and as the VP/COO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Ryan ran a newsletter publishing business on international affairs from 1999-2016. He founded the Tennessee World Affairs Council in 2007.


We invite businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor this event. It is through your support that we are able to bring quality global affairs programs to the community.

You can enroll for sponsorship through the Eventbrite ticketing below. For information about sponsoring other programs and series of events contact Patrick Ryan, TNWAC President @ 931-261-2353,

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THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.