Dr. Stephen Flynn is the founding director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University where he leads a major university-wide research initiative to inform and advance societal resilience in the face of growing human-made and naturally-occurring turbulence. At Northeastern, he is also professor of political science with faculty affiliations in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and co-director, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.
Dr. Flynn is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on critical infrastructure and supply chain security and resilience. Since 2013, he has led teams in conducting post-disaster infrastructure resilience assessments, initially with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and then from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These have including Superstorm Sandy (2013), Boston’s “Snowmaggedon” (2015), South Carolina Hurricane Joaquin Flooding (2015), and Fort McMurray and Great Smoky Wildfires (2016). In 2014, Flynn was appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security to serve as a member of the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Council (HSSTAC). He also serves as chair of the Massachusetts Port Authority Security Advisory Committee. 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 and delivered keynote addresses at more than one hundred international and national conferences. Dr. Flynn is a frequent media commentator to include appearances on Meet the Press, 60 Minutes, The News Hour, and 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. His books have been 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. 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 during the Clinton administration. He received the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1990 and 1991.
- The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (New York: Random House in cooperation with the Council on Foreign Relations, 2007)
- America the Vulnerable: How Government is Failing to Protect Us From Terrorism with a New Afterword (New York: Harper Perennial House in cooperation with the Council on Foreign Relations, 2005)
- America the Vulnerable: How Government is Failing to Protect Us From Terrorism (New York: HarperCollins House in cooperation with the Council on Foreign Relations,2004)
Awards and Honors
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Monmouth University, 2009
- Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1994-95
- Annenberg Scholar-in-Resident, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, 1993-94
- Council on Foreign Relations’ International Affairs Fellowship, Foreign Policy Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, 1991-92
- Edmund A Gullion Prize, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1988, for highest academic achievement
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Prize, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1982, for highest academic achievement in the Humanities
- The Daughters of American Revolution Prize, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1982, for highest academic achievement in American History
- The Infrastructure Security Partnership Annual Award for Distinguished Leadership in Critical Infrastructure Resilience, 2010
- Top 25 Most Influential People in Security 2009, Security Magazine Maritime Security Service Recognition Award, 2005, presented by the Maritime Security Council for outstanding leadership in raising the standards of maritime security worldwide
- Alumni Achievement Award, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, 1999, for recognition of the graduate within the past 20 years who has an outstanding record of achievement and promise of lifelong distinction.
- Legion of Merit Medal, 2001
- Meritorious Service Medal, 1992
- U.S. Coast Guard Commendation Medal, 1993
- U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal, 1986
- Life Member, Council on Foreign Relations
- Member, U.S. Naval Institute