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Ph.D., 1991, International Relations
Dr. Stephen Flynn is professor of political science at Northeastern University with faculty affiliations in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. At Northeastern, he is also the founding director of the Global Resilience Institute where he leads a university-wide research enterprise to inform and advance societal resilience in the face of growing man-made and naturally-occurring turbulence. He is also co-director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.
Dr. Flynn is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on critical infrastructure resilience, and transportation and supply chain security and resilience. From 2013-15, he led a 2-year multi-university study funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and drafted the final report on Bolstering Critical Infrastructure Resilience After Superstorm Sandy: Lessons for New York and the Nation. Flynn has been appointed by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to serve as a member of the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Council (HSSTAC). He is also a member of the National Security Advisory Board for Argonne National Laboratory. Additionally, he holds research affiliations with the Wharton School’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Dr. Flynn is also the principal for Stephen E. Flynn Associates LLC, where he provides independent advisory services on improving critical infrastructure security and resilience.
Before joining the faculty at Northeastern University in 2011, Dr. Flynn served as president of the Center for National Policy. Prior to that he spent a decade as a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Prior to September 11, 2001, Dr. Flynn served as an expert advisor to U.S. Commission on National Security (Hart-Rudman Commission), and following the 9/11 attacks he was the executive director of a blue-ribbon Council on Foreign Relations homeland security task force, again co-led by former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman. He served as the principal advisor to the bipartisan Congressional Port Security Caucus, 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. From 2003-2010 he served as a member of the National Research Council’s Marine Board.
Dr. Flynn has presented expert congressional testimony before the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on 31 occasions. A dynamic and accomplished public speaker, he has delivered keynote addresses at more than one hundred international and national conferences. 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 has written two of the most widely-cited books on homeland security: The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (Random House, 2007) and America the Vulnerable (HarperCollins 2004). 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.
A 1982 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Dr. Flynn served in the Coast Guard on active duty for 20 years, including two tours as commanding officer at sea, and retired at the rank of Commander. As a Coast Guard officer, he served in 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 holds the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.