Peter Forster

Associate Teaching Professor of Information Sciences and Technology
Academic Program Coordinator, Homeland Security MPS
(814) 863-8304
College of Information Sciences and Technology

Ph.D., Political Science (International Relations/Comparative Politics), Penn State 1997
M.A., Political Science (International Relations), Penn State 1984
B.A., History with honors, Penn State 1982

Dr. Forster is an associate teaching professor of Security & Risk Analysis in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), and an affiliate professor in Penn State’s School of International Affairs. As a member of a number of research centers, he studies risk and crisis management situation awareness, social network analysis, counterterrorism policies and strategies. His work includes using simulations and tabletop exercises to improve command and control.. Dr. Forster holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations); is the co-chair of the NATO/OSCE Partnership for Peace Consortium Combating Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) which brings academics and practitioners together to develop policy recommendations for the Department of Defense and NATO on counter-terrorism strategy and tactics; and co-course director of NATO's Defence Against Terrorism offered by the NATO School Oberammergau, Germany.

Dr. Forster’s primary areas of research and teaching interests are terrorism/counter-terrorism, risk and crisis management, international relations and national security and homeland security. Most recently, Forster helped develop and facilitate a tabletop exercise involving representatives from 40 countries to address the Foreign Terrorist Fighter threat (listen to a discussion). Since 2010, he has been the principle investigator on a grant exploring integrating processes and technologies to improve law enforcement’s situational awareness of major issues such as drug and human trafficking. He also oversees a research project on improving the understanding of how extremist organizations’ recruit, vet, and integrate Americans in cyberspace.  Dr. Forster serves on the Department of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism, is a member of the advisory board of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies online journal Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base, and is the co-PI on the National Science Foundation’s Federal Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service grant at Penn State.

During his career, Dr. Forster has been involved in security sector reform initiatives including defense institution building in the Caucasus and South Central Europe as well as consulting on national distance education initiatives in Central Asia and the Caucasus.  He is the co-author and contributing author to books on NATO’s military burden sharing and intervention including most recently Multinational Military Intervention, Stephen J. Cimbala & Peter K. Forster and Policy, Strategy & War: The George W. Bush Defense Program, Stephen J. Cimbala ed. and Cognitive Systems Engineering Michael D, McNeese & Peter K. Forster, eds. (forthcoming). He has published articles on technology and terrorism, understanding distributed team cognition, homeland security, and American foreign policy and interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus. His current research focus is evolution of terrorists’ use of on-line and mobile technologies in a variety of aspects including the development of a tabletop exercise to identify indicators and warnings of foreign terrorist fighter threats.

Dr. Forster has extensive experience in online education including program design, development, implementation, management, and evaluation.  He consulted on developing national online programs in Central Asia and corporate program nationally and internationally, and continues to teach online for Penn State. Prior to joining IST, Peter worked in a number of administrative position with Penn State’s World Campus contributing to original plan that saw Penn State transition to online learning environment and subsequently to its strategic development.

Dr. Forster teaches courses on crisis and risk management, cyber-crime, terrorism, and war; counter-terrorism, the impact of information on 21st century society, war and conflict, and the international relations of the Middle East.  

  • Know Your Enemy: What is a Terrorist?” Peter Kent Forster in Defence Review: The Central Journal of the Hungarian Defence Forces vol 143 2015.
  • “Crisis management simulations: Lessons Learned from a cross-cultural perspective” Tristan Endsley, James Reep, Michael D. McNeese, Peter Forster in Procedia Manufacturing eds. Tareq Ahram, Waldemar Karwowski, and Dylan Schmorrow, 6th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) vol 3, 2015.
  • “Countering the Individual Jihad: Perspectives on Nidal Hasan and Collen LaRose” Peter Kent Forster in CTX vol. 2 No. 4 November 2012.
  • “Terrorist Innovation: Homegrown Terrorism and the Internet” Forster, Peter K. in The Dangerous Landscape: International Perspectives on Twenty-First Century Terrorism; Transnational Challenge, International Responses John J. LeBeau, ed.
  • Multinational Military Intervention NATO Policy, Strategy and Burden Sharing, Cimbala, Steven J. and Forster Peter K., Ashgate Publishing, Surrey, UK ISBN Number 978-1-4094-0228-2 February 2010.
  • Coalition Warfighting: NATO in Afghanistan” Forster, Peter K. in The George W. Bush Defense Program: Policy, Strategy and War, Steven J. Cimbala, ed. Potomac Publishers, Inc., Washington DC, 2010.
  • Extremism and Security Coalescence, Forster, Peter Kent, ISN Security Watch 8/18/08
  • “Integrating Information Technology in the Defense Sector: A role for education?” ,  Forster, Peter Kent, Modern Informational Technologies in the Sphere of Security and DefenseUkraine Ministry of Defense, Kiev, Ukraine, April 2008.
  • “International Factors Stopping Security Sector Reform: The Uzbek Case”Forster Peter K.,China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly Vol. 5 No. 1 Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Silk Road Studies Program 2007 p. 61 – 66.
  • The Battle for Sadr City, Forster, Peter K., ISN Security Watch 1/15/07 on-line @
  • “Beslan: Counter-terrorism Incident Command: Lessons Learned” Forster, Peter K.,Homeland Security Affairs Journal Volume II, Issue 3: October 2006.
  • Lebanon, the risks of intervention, Forster, Peter K., ISN Security Watch 9/25/06 on-line @
  • “The Terrorist Threat and Security Sector Reform in Central Asia: The Uzbek Case,” Forster, Peter K.  Facing the Terrorist Challenge – Central Asia’s Role in Regional and International Cooperation, National Defense Academe Vienna and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces, Geneva April 2005 p. 227-246.
  • The U.S., NATO and Military Burden Sharing, Forster, Peter K. and Cimbala Stephen J. Taylor & Francis (Frank Cass) Publishing, London & NY, January 2005. ISBN: 0-415-35607-5.
  • Russia’s Struggling Caucasus Policy, Forster, Peter K. Open Society Institute EurasiaNet September 2, 2004 on-line @    
  • “The Paradox of Policy: American Interests in the post-9/11 Caucasus”, Forster, Peter K., Security Sector Reform in Southern Caucasus - Challenges and Visions, Bureau of Security Policy Austrian Ministry of Defense and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces February 2004 p.12-33.                        
  • “Azerbaijan: A Clash of Succession Process”, Peter K. Forster, Open Society Institute EurasiaNet October 2003 on-line @  
  • “Balancing American Involvement in Uzbekistan”, Connections QJ 2003 No. 1, Partnership for Peace Consortium, George C. Marshall Center, Garmisch, Germany, April 2003.
  •  “Globalizing Education: The Role of the Virtual University”, Open Praxis, Spring 2001.