Published 4/5/22 on University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law website

Michael Vesely, academic program director and senior law and policy analyst at the Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), has been awarded an MPower grant in conjunction with Michael Jensen, senior researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Vesely and Jensen were awarded the grant for the project, “Tackling Terror in the Homeland: An Empirical and Legal Analysis of the Debate Over a New Domestic Terrorism Law,” which involves studying current antiterrorism laws and evaluating whether additional legislation is needed. 

Numerous events over the past five years, including the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol Building, have revealed the increased radicalism and activity among domestic terror organizations, explains Vesely, which has prompted advocates to call for the creation of a new generation of domestic antiterrorism statutes.  

Vesely and Jensen will analyze the potential efficacy of these statutes by reviewing domestic terror prosecutions that have occurred under the criminal code, including trial verdicts and sentencing. They will also consider potential civil liberties concerns that would be implicated if new laws were enacted. 

“We are at a moment where the danger is apparent, but we must be deliberate in how we approach this challenge,” says Vesely. “MPower’s grant will enable CHHS and START to leverage our unique expertise together and present a more complete view of what our legal and policy response should be.” 

MPowering the State (MPower) is a formal collaboration of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). This year, MPower awarded $3 million in seed grants to 17 targeted collaborative research seed grants led jointly by UMB and UMCP researchers. 

Vesely is a 2006 graduate of Maryland Carey Law and teaches in the Cybersecurity and Crisis Management Program, which offers courses for JD, LLM, and MSL students at the law school. 

At CHHS, Vesely works on a wide range of emergency and crisis management projects, including strategic policy development and training. He served as a subject matter expert for Senior Crisis Management Seminars through the center’s work with the U.S. State Department, Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance, and has spoken before NATO on lone wolf terrorist threats. In addition to his involvement with disaster planning for both state and private entities, Vesely has worked as a planner for the Mid Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (MARCE) and leads CHHS’s work concerning economic security issues. 

Learn more about this year’s grants here