Dr. Erroll Southers is a Professor of the Practice of Governance and Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies in the Sol Price School of Public Policy’s Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the University of Southern California.
He is a former FBI Special Agent, who has served in counterterrorism and public safety positions at every level of government. Dr. Southers was President Barack Obama’s first nominee for Transportation Security Administration Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointee as Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure of the California Office of Homeland Security, where he led the identification, prioritization and protection of the state’s potential terror targets, the nation’s largest such dataset. He served as Assistant Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence at the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, police officer and gang investigator with the Santa Monica Police Department and enjoyed the distinction of being a member of FBI SWAT.
Dr. Southers arrived at USC in 2003, where he began as an adjunct professor in the University of Southern California’s School of Policy Planning and Development. His work spans many fields including counterterrorism, homegrown violent extremism, terrorist recruitment and radicalization, critical infrastructure protection and community resistance to terrorism. He was instrumental in the development of the game theoretic, randomized security system ARMOR (Assistant for Randomized Motoring Over Routes) implemented at Los Angeles International Airport, and now being utilized in a variety of infrastructure systems across the country. Dr. Southers has served in roles as the Associate Director of Research Transition and Associate Director of Special Projects at the DHS National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at USC. Currently, he is the CREATE Director of International Programs, actively engaged in teaching and research roles in France and Israel. He is also the founder of the CREATE Executive Program in Counterterrorism and a member of RAND Corporation Adjunct Staff affiliated with the Global Research Talent Operations Department, providing special project expertise.
Dr. Southers has testified before the full Congressional Committee on Homeland Security as a subject matter expert on several occasions, including the Boston Marathon Bombings. He is a noted counterterrorism expert and security analyst to a variety of media networks, documentary films, lectures and consults around the world. Dr. Southers earned his undergraduate degree from Brown University, and he holds masters and doctoral degrees in public policy from USC.