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Associate Professor in International Relations & Academic Director of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, University of Portsmouth

Tom isn an Associate Professor in International Relations for the University of Portsmouth based at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell where he is the Academic Director. 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 in the Southern Philippine province of Mindanao but has also become perhaps one of the UKs most recognised authorities on Filipino politics and Filipino foreign affairs. This often means that regional security is his headline theme with wider influence in strategic affairs in Southeast Asia and the US pivot to the Pacific.

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 Relations. Tom was one of Fred Halliday’s last students and Fred encouraging Tom to complete a doctorate and fuelled much of his current work.


  • –present
    Principal Lecturer in International Relations, University of Portsmouth