Stephen E. Flynn

Research Interests

Critical Infrastructure Resilience; Maritime, Supply Chain, and Transportation Security; Terrorism; Catastrophic Disasters


Stephen E. Flynn is Professor of Political Science and the Founding Director of the Center for Resilience Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security and Director of Northeastern’s Master of Security and Resilience Studies Program

Dr. Flynn is the author of the critically acclaimed The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (Random House, 2007), and the national bestseller, America the Vulnerable (HarperCollins 2004). He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Wharton School’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 9/11 he has provided testimony on twenty-eight occasions on Capitol Hill.

Professor Flynn is one of the world’s leading experts on transportation security and infrastructure and community resilience issues. Prior to September 11, 2001, he served as an expert advisor to U.S. Commission on National Security (Hart-Rudman Commission), and following the 9/11 attacks he was the principal advisor to the bipartisan Congressional Port Security Caucus. Dr. Flynn also advised the Bush Administration on maritime and homeland security issues and after the November 2008 election of President Barack Obama, served as the lead policy advisor on homeland security as a part of the presidential transition team. He is currently a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Homeland Security Project Panel, co-chaired by former 9/11 commissioners, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton.

Prior to his joining the faculty at Northeastern University, Dr. Flynn served as President of the Center for National Policy. He was selected to lead the Center after spending a decade as a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before that, Dr. Flynn served in the Coast Guard on active duty for 20 years, including two tours as commanding officer at sea. He received several professional awards including the Legion of Merit, and retired at the rank of Commander. As a Coast Guard officer, he was assigned to the White House Military Office during the George H.W. Bush administration and as a director for Global Issues on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration. He is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy where he was also a member of the faculty from 1988-1991 and 1994-2002.

Dr. Flynn is a frequent media commentator and has appeared on Meet the Press, 60 Minutes, The News Hour, The Today Show, the Charlie Rose Show, CNN and on National Public Radio. He is also a dynamic and accomplished public speaker who has delivered keynote addresses at more a hundred international and national conferences. Five of his articles have been published in the prestigious journal, Foreign Affairs. Excerpts of his books have been featured in Time, as the cover story for U.S. News & World Report, and as the subject of two CNN documentaries.

Flynn received the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees in International Politics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1990 and 1991. He was a Guest Scholar in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1991-92, and in 1993-94 he was an Annenberg Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from Monmouth University.

Flynn is the principal for Stephen E. Flynn Associates LLC, where he provides independent advisory services on improving enterprise resiliency, critical infrastructure protection, and transportation and maritime security. He is also the senior security advisor to Houston- based Dowley Security Systems and a member of the Board of Directors of PureSafe Waters Systems.