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 & 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. He is co-author of the textbook, Critical Infrastructures Resilience: Policy and Engineering Principles (Routledge, 2018) and 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. 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 (Massport) 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. He has delivered keynote addresses at more than one hundred international and national conferences. Dr. Flynn is a frequent media commentator and has appeared on Meet the Press, 60 Minutes, The News Hour, The Today Show, the Charlie Rose Show, CNN and on 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. Excerpts of his books have been featured in Time, as the cover story for U.S. News & World Report, and as 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 staff during the Clinton administration. He was a Guest Scholar in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1991-92, and in 1993-94 he was an Annenberg Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. 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 and in 2009, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from Monmouth University.
Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Robin White is the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She previously served as Executive Director at the Community and Regional Resilience Institute and as Senior Mediator and Program Director at Meridian Institute. She joined Meridian after a 20-year management career in the nation’s national laboratory science and engineering complex.
During Dr. White’s years in the national security world, she was a leader in science and technology fields related to risk assessment and environmental impacts, nuclear nonproliferation, and national and homeland security. She brings from these assignments extensive skill and experience in strategic and operational planning, public/private partnerships, program/organizational management, and collaborative strategies related to government affairs and public policy.
As a senior executive, Dr. White worked with and within large multi-organizational teams in complex collaborative structures, where vision and persuasion were essential in achieving outstanding group performance. Dr. White’s work at Meridian focused on resilience, disaster response and recovery, homeland security, and issues related to national and global stability and security. She has led multi-organizational and multidisciplinary teams in exploring collaborative solutions to improved disaster recovery; has been extensively involved with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s work in disaster recovery and response and in the public/private partnerships necessary for critical infrastructure protection; and has worked closely with local communities seeking to improve their resilience to disasters and crises.
Dr. White has been an integral member of the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI) projects to increase the resilience of local cities, towns, and neighborhoods, create a national community of interest, and work with national policy makers and influential stakeholders on policies and practices to nurture resilient communities. A frequent speaker and presenter, Dr. White has made more than 100 presentations to government and nongovernment groups on issues relating to national security, homeland security, nonproliferation, and the risk assessment of environmental impacts. She has numerous publications in various books and journals on assessing human health risks and environmental impacts.
Dr. White holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee.
Director for Research / Chief Innovation Officer
On January 13, 2017, Dr. Philip Anderson assumed his current responsibilities as Director for Research and Chief Innovation Officer at the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University where he helps lead a university-wide research enterprise to inform and advance societal resilience in the face of growing man-made and naturally-occurring turbulence. He also serves as Affiliate Professor of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.
Before joining the senior management team at the Global Resilience Institute, Dr. Anderson served as ANSER Chief Operating Officer. For nine years, he also served as director of the Homeland Security Studies & Analysis Institute (HSSAI), the first congressionally chartered, federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for homeland security, operated by ANSER on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security. Throughout his tenure, he led the effort to expand HSSAI's influence and impact across DHS and to the broader policy community.
Dr. Anderson has served as a trusted advisor to senior government officials at the highest levels. He was one of the early pioneers in developing Homeland Security policy establishing the Center for Strategic and International Studies' (CSIS) Homeland Security Program shortly after 9/11. His work in this area helped shape our country's thinking about how to create the Department of Homeland Security and about how to protect our critical infrastructure and balance privacy and security in the post 9/11 era. In addition to advising Administration officials, Dr. Anderson was relied upon by numerous media outlets for expert analysis and testified frequently at various congressional hearings. He remains a Senior Associate at CSIS focusing on Defense and Homeland Security policy issues.
Dr. Anderson has served as an advisor for the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and also sits on the Materials and Manufacturing Advisory Board at the Penn State Applied Physics Laboratory. Previously, Dr. Anderson developed and executed Lucent Technologies–Bell Labs' government business strategy as Vice President and General Manager of their Washington Operations. While there he focused on information security and communications technologies for the public safety community. His strategy and skills at collaboration and developing strategic partnerships were instrumental in winning the Iraq post conflict reconstruction contract, among numerous others, generating significant revenue growth for Lucent during the four years he was there. Prior to his work at CSIS and at Lucent,
Dr. Anderson was a career Marine Corps officer with significant command experience as well as, International Security, Defense Policy and Counter Terrorism experience. In addition to his undergraduate degree, Dr. Anderson holds a Masters in International Relations and a Masters and Ph.D in Education from George Mason University.
Director for Strategic Research Collaborations
Jennie C. Stephens is the Director for Strategic Research Collaborations at the Global Resilience Institute, Director of Northeastern's School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy. Her research, teaching, and community engagement focus on social and political aspects of the renewable energy transition, reducing fossil fuel reliance, and strengthening societal resilience by integrating social justice with climate and energy policy. Her work explores institutional and cultural innovation in energy, including gender diversity and energy democracy, technological optimism, and enhancing the “usability” of climate science in strengthening climate resilience.
Professor Stephens received a 2017 Arab-American Frontiers Fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences, she is a 2015-2016 Leopold Leadership fellow, and her book “Smart Grid (R)Evolution: Electric Power Struggles” (Cambridge University Press, 2015) explores social and cultural debates about energy system change (co-authored with Wilson & Peterson).
Before joining Northeastern University in 2016, Professor Stephens held the Blittersdorf Professorship at the University of Vermont (2014-2016) and was on the faculty at Clark University (2005-2014).She earned her PhD (2002) and MS (1998) at Caltech in Environmental Science & Engineering and her BA (1997) at Harvard in Environmental Science & Public Policy.
Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Mark Patterson is Chief Technology Officer of the Global Resilience Institute, and Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences, and Civil and Environmental Engineering. He also serves as Faculty Head of the Three Seas program, a unique year-long experiential program in marine science at the graduate level.
Patterson’s research focuses on using advanced underwater robotics to reduce the cost of monitoring the ocean and improving national security in ports and harbors. Patterson was awarded the Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science and Technology from the Marine Technology Society for outstanding contributions to ocean engineering of underwater robots, and an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Governor of Virginia during his previous appointment at the College of William & Mary. He also works on global change biology of coral reef ecosystems. His lab collaborates with government and industry to develop decision support tools to improve environmental management of wetlands impacted by built infrastructure like tide gates.
A recent effort funded by the Schmidt Family Foundation is developing new sensing technology for the emerging issue of microplastics in the ocean, one that has global implications for food security. Patterson served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and was awarded Member of the Year for his work promoting marine robotics competitions. He also holds an Antarctic Service Medal of the United States of America for his work using underwater robots to assess the health of ocean waters around the Antarctic peninsula.
An amateur radio operator, he has first-hand experience with recovery and resilience operations in numerous civil and environmental disasters in the US, Mali, Sudan, and the Caribbean. He received his A.B. magna cum laude, A.M., and Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University.