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Dr. Phil Williams

Area(s) of Expertise: Transnational Crime

Phone: (412) 648-7637
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Photo PHIL WILLIAMS holds the Wesley W. Posvar Chair in International Security Studies at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and is the director of the University’s Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies. From 2007 to 2009, he was a visiting research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), U.S. Army War College (USAWC). During the last 22 years, his research has focused primarily on transnational organized crime.

Dr. Williams has published extensively in the field of international security. He wrote two monographs for the USAWC—The New Dark Age: The Decline of the State and U.S. Strategy and Criminals, Militias and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq. He has written on international security in Survival; Washington Quarterly; The Bulletin on Narcotics; Scientific American; Crime, Law and Social Change; and International Peacekeeping. In addition, Dr. Williams was founding editor of a journal entitled Transnational Organized Crime and edited several volumes on organized crime. Since then, Dr. Williams has published chapters and articles on terrorist networks and finances, the Madrid bombings, Mexican drug violence, Nigerian organized crime, and human trafficking. He is currently working on the crisis of governance in the northern triangle of Central America.

*The above information may not be current. It was current at the time when the individual worked for SSI or was published by SSI.

SSI books and monographs by Dr. Phil Williams

  • Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition

    August 11, 2016

    Edited by Dr. Phil Williams, Dr. Dighton Fiddner.
    View the Executive Summary

    Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition examines the challenges posed by the unique nature of cyberspace; differences between cyberthreats and more traditional challenges to national security; the range of possible responses to cyberthreats, and the relevance of traditional strategic concepts to potential confrontations in cyberspace. This volume is designed to inform and provoke, as well as to assist civilian and military national security, commerce, public sector, and academic decision-makers in understanding the sheer complexity and dynamism of both cyberspace and its associated insecurities.

  • Drug Trafficking, Violence, and Instability

    April 19, 2012

    Authored by Dr. Phil Williams, Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown.
    The world of armed groups has changed and is continuing to change. What impact will these changes have on the threats and challenges to national and global security in the world today? This monograph focuses on the complex relationship between human security, crime, illicit economies, and law enforcement. It also seeks to disentangle the linkages between insurgency on the one hand and drug trafficking and organized crime on the other, suggesting that criminal activities help sustain an insurgency, but also carry certain risks for the insurgency.

  • Criminals, Militias, and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq

    August 26, 2009

    Authored by Dr. Phil Williams.
    Criminal enterprises and activities had a debilitating impact and made the attainment of U.S. objectives in Iraq much more difficult. Organized crime inhibited reconstruction and development and became a major obstacle to state-building; the insurgency was strengthened and sustained by criminal activities; sectarian conflict was funded by criminal activities and motivated by the desire to control criminal markets; and more traditional criminal enterprises created pervasive insecurity through kidnapping and extortion. Organized crime also acted as an economic and political spoiler in an oil industry expected to be the dynamo for growth and reconstruction in post Ba’athist Iraq.

  • From the New Middle Ages to a New Dark Age: The Decline of the State and U.S. Strategy

    June 03, 2008

    Authored by Dr. Phil Williams.
    The author contends that the long-term decline of the state will move the world into a New Dark Age in which the forces of chaos and disorder will be almost overwhelming. Alternative options for the U.S. response to the security challenges posed by such an environment are examined.

SSI articles, editorial, and briefs by Dr. Phil Williams