Lieutenant Colonel Joseph H. Felter (speaker), a career Special Forces and Foreign Area Officer, is the director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and an instructor in the U. S. Military Academy's terrorism studies program. His military experience includes service as a platoon leader with the 75th Ranger Regiment and as a Special Forces operational detachment-alpha and company commander in the 1st Special Forces Group. As a military attaché in Manila, he planned and coordinated combined efforts to develop the counter terrorist capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Felter is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, earned a master's degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and received his PhD in political science from Stanford University. His dissertation assesses the impact that variation in quality and structures of state internal security forces has on efforts to combat insurgency and terrorism.
David Patel (respondent) is a 2006-2007 predoctoral fellow at both CDDRL (fall quarter) and CISAC (winter and spring quarters). He is completing a dissertation looking at questions of religious organization and collective action in the Middle East, with a theoretical focus on the relationship of organization and information in particular. Empirically, his study looks at Islamic institutions and their role in political action in a wide range of settings including 7th century garrison cities of the early Islamic empire, through the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Patel has spent a great deal of time in the Middle East over the last several years, including extended visits to Yemen, Morocco, Jordan, and Iraq, where he spent seven months in Basra conducting research beginning in the fall of 2003. He works with David Laitin, Jim Fearon, and Avner Greif at Stanford. In fall 2007 he will join the faculty at Cornell University as an assistant professor of political science.