Dr. Ron Thomas has been actively involved in the fields of terrorism, intelligence, and unconventional warfare since the early 1980s when he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. diplomatic corps, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At roughly that same time, he began his career as a correspondent for Soldier of Fortune magazine and other military and intelligence journals, reporting on defense technology and elite units. He turned down a CIA overseas appointment to continue writing and lecturing in these areas. His book-length manuscript on the relationship between terrorism and the news media is under revision for publication and his article on the Bay of Pigs was published in the prestigious International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. He has also been a visiting lecturer on terrorism at the University of Florida.
He has given counter-terrorist seminars for Kennedy Space Center, the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Security Division, the Air Smuggling Investigators Association, Florida Division of Emergency Management, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and the Private Investigators Association of Florida. He has also provided counter-terrorism/emergency management consulting services to the Ministry of Civil Defense for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Florida Division of Capitol Police.
Ron has remained active in the field by going on maneuvers with US Air Force counter-terrorist personnel, the US Coast Guard and the US Navy. He has also designed and presented three statewide counter-terrorism seminars for the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, where he served from 1993 to 2001. He was also a reservist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also holds licenses and/or certifications as a private investigator, bodyguard, search and rescue technician, fire instructor and mixed martial arts trainer.
“Since 1980,the scourge of terrorism has been my life’s work, carried on in concert with or in addition to my regular duties. Through jailhouse interviews with hostage-takers, infiltration of extremist groups, and other first-hand investigations I have tried to decipher the workings of the terrorist mind,” Thomas said.
“However, I have found there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ terrorist incident. Their poisonous menu includes bombings,hostage-taking, assassination, kidnapping, and other disruptive acts. In the 21st Century, we have seen a further state of affairs in which random acts of violence are occurring in our universities, schools, theaters, shopping plazas and general society have changed the way we look at the world around us. Preparation and response to such incidents requires a variety of skills that my consulting practice offers to public and private agencies.”
An interesting side note is that he was the field investigator on the case Barnett Bank of Marion County/N.A. v. Bill Nelson, Florida Insurance Commissioner, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Thomas holds degrees in communication from the University of West Florida (B.A.) and Florida State University (M.S.) and a doctorate in education from the University of Florida. He is also a fellow of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and has done post-doctoral work in computer science and emergency management at Harvard.
“The subjects of counter-terrorism and intelligence studies are very personal issues with me. Back when I was first being recruited into this work, the Beirut Embassy was bombed, in April of 1983,” he added. “There were 63 people killed that day and, a year later, on a visit to the paymaster’s office at CIA headquarters, there were a lot of stars in the memorial for 1983. The correlation was obvious to me; we lost many members of our intelligence community in that action. A generation of leadership and wisdom was lost and the nation suffered that loss in many ways: diplomatically, politically, tactically and strategically.”
The onslaught continues, abroad and here at home with large-scale terrorism in New York, Washington, Oklahoma City, Lockerbie, Tanzania, Kenya, and Boston and active shooter incidents at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown, and Broward County, Florida. The weapons and tactics of violence and terrorism will evolve and more agencies will need customized services and support to be in a position to prevent and/or combat future. If TCG can help with that, we will, wherever called.