Research Programs

The Gordon Institute (JGI) at Florida International University is the only institute in South Florida that focuses primarily on security and public policy. The Gordon Institute does not have a primary geographic concentration, but rather a geostrategic understanding of global affairs separating it from other institutes limited by geographic placement. In terms of security, the research portfolio will be divided between traditional and non-traditional security threats. Traditional threats include transnational organized crime, violent extremism, and terrorism. In terms of non-traditional threats, the Gordon Institute will center on cybersecurity, and energy and environmental security. Additionally, the Gordon Institute will support local, state, and federal partners in the development of public policy on issues related to U.S. national security. Below is a description of the Gordon Institute’s research areas of focus:

Transnational Organized Crime: The Gordon Institute focuses on developing policies to counter transnational organized crime (TOC). TOC includes but is not limited to organized criminal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, and money laundering, among other illicit activities carried out by gangs, drug cartels, mafias, and other similar organizations. While such activities are clandestine in nature and are impossible to calculate the exact earnings of such illicit endeavors, the UNODC has calculated the global drug trade to be valued at around $435 billion per year. The cocaine industry is worth approximately $84 billion annually, demonstrating the vast profits from this industry. The Gordon Institute supports governmental and non-governmental entities in order to develop public policies to counter TOC and associated networks.

Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism: Violent extremism and terrorism are the preeminent security threats in the twenty-first century. The Gordon Institute supports U.S. and non-U.S. governmental entities in identifying, understanding, and combatting these threats. According to the Chicago Project on Security & Terrorism, 4,814 suicide terror attacks occurred with 48,465 people killed between 1982 and 2015. We seek to understand the motivations, strategies, and operational tactics that these organizations utilize to conduct their attacks.

Cybersecurity: is an important and emerging security threat to national security, and includes various activities from cybercrime to cyberterrorism. Cybersecurity is a major threat not only for both government and business entities. Research from Grant Thornton calculates the costs of cyber-attacks on businesses worldwide over the past year (2015) to be around $315 billion, revealing the major impact that such cyber-attacks have on the global economy. The Gordon Institute is working with U.S. and non-U.S. governmental entities to understand this threat and develop sound policies and practices for combatting cybersecurity threats. We conduct seminars, workshops, and roundtables, among other forms of engagement to identify vulnerabilities and assist in the prevention of cyber-attacks.

Latino Public Opinion: The Gordon Insitute's studies on Latino Public Opinion are the first university level initiatives in the state of Florida that focus on the growth and impact of the Latino population across a range of areas including American Politics. The Latino/Hispanic population is the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. This particular minority’s vote has become a very significant component of the US electorate and has generated great attention during both Republic and Democratic electoral processes. Questions about the being raised, however, about the impact that Latinos may have on the current presidential electoral cycle. Some studies suggest that despite the size and growth of this population, voter apathy is a major issue facing Latinos.

Energy and Environmental Security: Energy security is the relationship between a country’s national security and its supply of energy resources. The search for energy has created many energy security issues and led to intense debates about alternative sources of energy, such as wind energy. Various techniques such as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” have emerged and become hotly debated among experts. Countries, such as the U.S., desire to become energy independent and are concentrating immense resources on the energy security matrix and the challenges and opportunities that exist in the 21st century. The Gordon Institute supports governmental and non-governmental establishments in developing and implementing security initiatives to limit and/or prevent energy threats.

Increased consumption and other human activities have led to global warming, which has produced many unintended environmental repercussions. Climate change has led to sea level rise and various other effects that impact the well-being of people. It has been calculated that the economic impact of climate change is more than $1.2 trillion annually. Therefore, this is a severe problem that will continue to worsen overtime. The Gordon Institute is supporting governmental entities in the development of holistic practices to combat such emerging threats.

National Security: Many issues (terrorism, nuclear proliferation, etc.) impact U.S. national security and the broader public policy debates regarding how to protect the U.S. from a variety of traditional as well as emerging security threats. One of the key activities that influences the state of U.S. national security is intelligence. The National Intelligence Program (NIP) revealed its budget—$55 billion—for the first time in 2012. The intelligence budget will likely increase in the future as the number of threats proliferate. The Gordon Institute leads research projects and holds seminars and workshops on the various national security threats that exist in the twenty-first century and provides policymakers with sound public policies and best practices that can address the litany of national security issues. This organization is actively publishing on this topic and contributing to the literature that can impact both the policy and academic communities