NTU University - RSIS Singapore. MSc courses in Intelligence and National Security. Exercise: "A counterterrorism dilemma..."

Published on 13th February, 2024

During February 2024 (Academic Year 2023-2024), Protective Intelligence Network instructors in Singapore delivered lectures in the frame of the Master's degree course of the internationally renown S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)in Singapore.

Lectures and exercises were delivered in the frame of the course "Intelligence and National Security" directed by Professor Rohan Gunaratna;

The "Intelligence and National Security" (S6026) Master's degree course directed by Professor Gunaratna examines two aspects: first, national security decision-making, and second, the changing role of intelligence in managing traditional and non-traditional threats in the 21st century.


Under guidance of Protective Intelligence Network's instructors, students participated in a realistic counterterrorism exercise involving the investigation of a potential Islamic State cell amidst the stages of a likely plot to execute a significant attack within the city CBD.

Faced with a common dilemma encountered in counterterrorism operations, students were tasked with making operational decisions while considering the repercussions.

They grappled with the questions:

  • "Should we intervene immediately, risking the possibility of insufficient evidence to prosecute for terrorism-related offenses?"

  • Or should we refrain from intervention, relying on existing surveillance and wiretapping findings in the hope of preventing terrorists from deploying an explosive device?

"A counterterrorism dilemma" refers to a challenging situation or decision-making scenario encountered within efforts to combat terrorism. It often involves weighing various factors, such as the need for immediate intervention against the risk of compromising ongoing investigations or potential legal complexities.

NTU University - RSIS Singapore. MSc courses in Intelligence and National Security.  Exercise:

The lecture and exercise received positive feedback, with students expressing enjoyment in engaging with the investigation and the final decision-making exercise.

This aligns with NTU RSIS's motto, "Ponder the Improbable", encouraging thoughtful consideration of unlikely scenarios and fostering critical thinking in analysing complex situations.