James Forest is a Professor in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at UMass Lowell.

James J.F. Forest

Professor; Director of Security Studies

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Criminology and Justice Studies
Health and Social Sciences Building - 400


International security studies, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, homeland security.

Research Interests

International security, terrorism & counterterrorism, national security, military & defense policy, weapons of mass destruction, homeland security, critical infrastructure protection, transnational organized crime.


  • Ph.D: Higher Education Administration, (1998), Boston College
  • MA: International Development Education, (1994), Stanford University
  • BS: Foreign Service, (1993), Georgetown University
  • AA: Liberal Arts,, (1991), De Anza College


James J.F. Forest, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, where he teaches undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree courses on contemporary security studies, terrorism and counterterrorism, homeland security, weapons of mass destruction, and other related topics. He is the director of the Security Studies program and is the Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Perspectives on Terrorism. He has previously served as a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Joint Special Operations University (2010-2019) and as a faculty member of the United States Military Academy (2001-2010), six of those years as Director of Terrorism Studies (in the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point) and three years as Assistant Dean for Academic Assessment. He has served as an expert witness for terrorism-related court cases, and has provided testimony and briefings to the intelligence community and committee hearings of the U.S. Senate.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Superior Civilian Service Award (2010), Leadership - Department of the Army
  • America's most esteemed terrorism and national security expert (2006), Service, Community - Foreign Policy Magazine
  • Commander's Award for Public Service (2005), Leadership - Department of Army
  • Commander's Award for Civilian Service (2004), Leadership - Department of Army
  • Achievement Medal for Civilian Service (2003), Service, Community - Department of the Army
  • Mary T. Kinnane Award for Excellence in Higher Education (1998), Scholarship/Research - Boston College

Selected Publications

  • Forest, J.J. (2022) Digital Influence Mercenaries: Profits and Power Through Information Warfare. Naval Institute Press.
  • Forest, J.J. (2021) Digital Influence Warfare in the Age of Social Media. Praeger Security International
  • Forest, J.J. (2019) The Terrorism Lectures (2nd). Nortia Press
  • Forest, J.J. (2021). Political Warfare and Propaganda in the Digital Age. Journal of Advanced Military Studies 12(1), p. 13-33. 
  • Forest, J.J. (2019). Crime-Terror Interactions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 45(5-6), p. 368-388.
  • Forest, J.J., Asal, V., Nussbaum, B. (2015). Why do Ethnopolitical Organisations Turn to Crime? Global Crime,16(4) 306-327.
  • Forest, J.J. (2015). Essentials of Counterterrorism. ABC-CLIO
  • Forest, J.J. (2015). The Terrorism Lectures (2nd). Nortia Press
  • Howard , J., Howard, R., Moore, J. (2014). Homeland Security and Terrorism : Readings and Interpretations (2nd).
  • Forest, J.J. (2014). US Military Deployments to Africa: Lessons from the Hunt for Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. JSOU Press
  • Forest, J.J., Turbiville, G., Meservey, J. (2014). Countering the al-Shabaab Insurgency in Somalia: Lessons for US Special Operations Forces. Jsou Press
  • Forest, J.J., Idler, A.I. (2014). Behavioral Patterns among (Violent) Non-State Actors: A Study of Complementary Governance. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development,4(1).
  • Forest, J.J. (2013). Intersections of Crime and Terror. Routledge
  • Forest, J.J., Howard, R.D. (2013). Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism . New York, NY : McGraw Hill, 2013; 2nd ed
  • Forest, J.J. (2012). Criminals and Terrorists: An Introduction to the Special Issue. Terrorism and Political Violence,24(2) 171-179.
  • Forest, J.J. (2012). Framework for Analyzing the Future Threat of WMD Terrorism. Journal of Strategic Security,5(4) 51.
  • Forest, J.J. (2012). Kidnapping by Terrorist Groups, 1970-2010: Is Ideological Orientation Relevant? Crime & Delinquency,58(5) 769.
  • Felbab-Brown, V., Forest, J.J. (2012). Political Violence and the Illicit Economies of West Africa. Terrorism & Political Violence,24(5) 787-806.
  • Forest, J.J. (2012). Perception Challenges Faced by Al-Qaeda on the Battlefield of Influence Warfare. Perspectives on Terrorism,6(1) 8.
  • Forest, J.J. (2010). Engaging Non-State Actors in Zones of Competing Governance. Journal of Threat Convergence,1(1) 4.
  • Forest, J.J. (2009). Influence Warfare : How Terrorists and Governments Fight to Shape Perceptions in a War of Ideas. Westport, Conn. : Praeger Security International, 2009
  • Forest, J.J., Crispin, R. (2009). AFRICOM: Troubled Infancy, Promising Future. Contemporary Security Policy,30(1) 5-27.
  • Forest, J.J. (2009). Influence Warfare and Modern Terrorism. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs,10(1) 81-89.
  • Forest, J.J. (2007). Countering Terrorism and Insurgency in the 21st Century : International Perspectives. Westport, Conn. : Praeger Security International, 2007
  • Forest, J.J., Sousa, M.V. (2006). Oil and Terrorism in the New Gulf : Framing U.S. Energy and Security Policies for the Gulf of Guinea . Lanham, Md.] : Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Inc., c2006
  • Forest, J.J. (2006). Teaching Terror : Strategic and Tactical Learning in the Terrorist World. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, c2006
  • Forest, J.J. (2006). The Making of a Terrorist : Recruitment, Training, and Root Causes. Westport, Conn. : Praeger Security International, 2006

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Center for Security Research and Technologies. (2012), Grant - Vice Provost for Research at UMass Lowell
  • Terrorism in Africa (2010), Grant - Special Operations Command/Joint Special Operations University to research
    Forest, J.J.
  • FBI Counterterrorism Education Program (2006), Grant - Counterterrorism Branch
  • Combating Terrorism Center (2004), Contract - Government
  • Junior Officer Counterterrorism Development (2004), Grant - Deputy Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (J.C. Wilson)
    Forest, J. (Co-Principal), Howard, R. (Co-Principal)
  • South African Educational Partnerships Experience (1997), Grant - Ford Foundation
    Forest, J. (Co-Principal), Donovan, R. (Co-Principal)
  • Incorporating Technology in School-University Academic Partnerships (1996), Grant - Ford Foundation
    Forest, J. (Principal)

Research Currently in Progress