Terror analyst goes private

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Dennis Pluchinsky, a former terrorism analyst at the U.S. State Department, has joined the TranSecur Global Security Information Service as a senior threat analyst.

TranSecur is a privately owned business in Potomac that provides security analysis of conditions around the world for private corporations.

Mr. Pluchinsky, 56, who joined the group in January, is analyzing and interpreting data related to the al Qaeda terrorist organization. He said he plans to focus on the group as a movement and not just as an organization, which can be challenging because movements typically lack a “corporate mind-set.”

“When you’re looking at a movement, there’s no central leadership [and] there’s no structure,” he said.

Among the biggest global security threats, apart from terrorism, are labor disputes, government instability and diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, Mr. Pluchinsky said.

Before joining TranSecur, Mr. Pluchinsky studied al Qaeda’s “tactical tendencies” in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Office of Intelligence and Threat Analysis at the State Department.

During his 28 years at the State Department, he studied security issues in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He also served as the division chief for the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and Pacific regions.

The main challenge facing the intelligence community is increasing communication between entities that gather data and the entities that create and implement solutions based on that data, Mr. Pluchinsky said.

Skills he acquired at the State Department, including deciphering information, understanding the operational mind-sets of terrorist groups and pinpointing potential terrorist targets, are useful in his job, Mr. Pluchinsky said.

Mr. Pluchinsky is “bringing tremendous experience” and “a brilliant analytical mind” to TranSecur, said President and Chief Executive Officer Noel Koch.

Mr. Koch is the former director of special planning for the U.S. Defense Department, which is how he met Mr. Pluchinsky in 1981.

“He’s dedicated to his work,” Mr. Koch said of Mr. Pluchinsky. “He’s not a wannabe. He’s one of the people in the business who really understands the business.”

Mr. Pluchinsky teaches a course on terrorism at area universities, including James Madison University, George Washington University, George Mason University and Mary Washington College. He is also a contributing editor to the international journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Mr. Pluchinsky and his wife live in Northern Virginia and have two children.

Andrew Johnson

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