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Stephen Flynn

360 Huntington Avenue (310-177)
Boston, MA 02115


Dr. Stephen Flynn is 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.  He is a Professor of Political Science with affiliated faculty appointments in the College of Engineering and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.  Prof. Flynn is also Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern.  He has previously served as President of the Center for National Policy and spent a decade as a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2008 he served as the lead homeland security policy adviser for the Presidential Transition Team for President Barack Obama.  Dr. Flynn was an active duty commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years, including two tours as commanding officer at sea. He is the author of The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (Random House, 2007), and the national bestseller, America the Vulnerable (HarperCollins 2004). He holds research affiliations with the Wharton School’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, and the Earth Institute at Columbia University.  In September 2014, he was appointed by Secretary of Homeland Security to serve a member of the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Council (HSSTAC). He also serves as chair of the Massachusetts Port Authority Security Advisory Committee. Prof. Flynn holds the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and B.S. from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.


  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Monmouth University, 2009
  • Ph.D. in International Relations, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1991
  • M.A.L.D. in International Relations, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1990
  • B.S. in Government, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1982

Research & Scholarship Interests

critical infrastructure resilience; public policy
Affiliated With

Department Research Areas

College Research Initiatives

Honors & Awards

  • The Infrastructure Security Partnership Annual Award for Distinguished Leadership in Critical Infrastructure Resilience, 2010
  • Top 25 Most Influential People in Security 2009, Security Magazine
  • Maritime Security Service Recognition Award, 2005, presented by the Maritime Security Council for outstanding leadership in raising the standards of maritime security worldwide

Professional Affiliations

  • Life Member, Council on Foreign Relations      
  • Member, U.S. Naval Institute

Selected Publications

  • “Measurable Resilience for Actionable Policy,” with Igor Linkov,, Environmental Science & Technology, 47 (2013): 10108-10110.
  • “Countering the Threat of Nuclear Terrorism at Domestic and Foreign Ports,” w/ Nitin Bashi & Noah Gans, Informed Decisions on Catastrophic Risks (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Winter 2012).
  • “Estimating the Operational Impact of Container Inspections at International Ports” w/ Nitin Bakshi, Noah Gans, Management Science, 57:1 (Jan 2011): 1-20.

Related News

September 11, 2017

COS Professor Albert-Laszlo Barabasi (PI) and Co-PIs Kathryn Coronges, Executive Director of the Network Science Institute; Stephen Flynn, Director of the Global Resilience Institute; ECE Professor Edmund Yeh and CEE Professor Auroop Ganguly, Director of the Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory (SDS Lab), were awarded a $2.5M NSF CRISP grant for "Interdependent Network-based Quantification of Infrastructure Resilience (INQUIRE)".

March 31, 2016

The Sustainability and Data Sciences (SDS) Lab led by CEE Associate Professor Auroop Ganguly has created risQ as a start-up company.

November 5, 2015

CEE Associate Professor Auroop Ganguly & his interdisciplinary PhD students Udit Bhatia, Devashish Kumar, and Evan Kodra (E'14) have created a tool using network theory to ascertain the resilience of infrastructure systems affected by disasters.

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