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Dr Tom Smith

Senior Lecturer, Principal Lecturer

Tom Smith


Tom is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations for the University of Portsmouth based at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell. He specialises in terrorism, political violence and insurgencies with a focus on Southeast Asia but more broadly on jihadist (al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.) and political violence related to transnational Islam. He has fieldwork experience in Mindanao in the Philippines and Southern Thailand and is regularly asked by development, conflict and governmental organisations to contribute to research design, project planning and for advice. A former Visiting Lecturer at De La Salle University in Manila, Tom has worked across Asia in conflict environments for NGOs, charities and IGOs. Tom is best known on an international basis for his expertise on the Abu Sayyaf Group, Filipino politics and foreign affairs, human rights and the Dutrete 'war on drugs'. Following an honours degree in Law Tom graduated from the London School of Economics with an MSc in Global Politics specialising in Conflict and Peace Studies and Islam in International Relation. Tom was one of Fred Halliday's last students and Fred encouraged Tom to complete a fieldwork orientated doctorate and fuelled much of his work. 

Research Interests


  • Terrorism
  • Abu Sayyaf Group
  • Jihadist propaganda and Social Media
  • Jungle Insurgents
  • Human Rights


  • Philippines 
  • Thailand's Southern Insurgency
  • Southeast Asian Security
  • Asia-Pacific Security

Teaching Responsibilities

PhD Students:

Alexander Hasenstab - Pre-Deployment Security Trainings (PDST) in the Aid Agency

Sorina ToticaUnderstanding the Confusion between Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in West Africa

ID: 2990983