Since Professor Richard Shultz began studying security issues, there have been massive changes in the international security environment, the use of force and its implications. The most significant shift, which began in the immediate post-Cold War period and climaxed with terrorist attacks on 9/11, highlighted the fact that traditional conflict and warfare is increasingly being replaced by a new form of irregular warfare - one which modern armies and security services have great difficulties managing. Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Rupert Smith, in his book The Utility of Force, refers to these new conflicts as "war amongst the people." These are precisely the kinds of conflict that lie at the center of Shultz's research and publication agenda since 9/11.
These changes in conflict and war led Shultz to explore many different aspects of the issue: For example, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 he was concerned with three questions: What were the tools the U.S. had at its disposal to deal with these kinds of security challenges? What were the roles of Special Operations Forces? Why did the U.S. never use its Special Mission Units to deal with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda?
The latter question was addressed in a year-long study Shultz conducted with the Pentagon starting in December 2001, which was later briefed to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Shultz made a convincing argument to the Department of Defense to allow publication of the study. It appeared in a 2004 issue of The Weekly Standard entitled "Showstoppers: Nine Reasons Why We Never Sent Our Special Operations Forces after al Qaeda Before 9/11."
Shultz's other work in the years immediately following 9/11 included research on how other democracies have collected intelligence on armed groups. It was conducted in collaboration with the scholars from the Washington-based National Strategy Information Center (NSIC). Since 1962, NSIC has been at the forefront of innovating and institutionalizing education on major dimensions of security and intelligence studies. Shultz worked directly with Dr. Roy Godson, NSIC president and professor of government at Georgetown University. The findings from their extensive field research were presented to senior U.S. government officials in Washington. Shultz and Godson also published the results in a major article entitled "Intelligence Dominance, A Better Way Forward," The Weekly Standard (July 31, 2006).
In 2004, Professor Shultz became co-director with Professor Godson of the Armed Groups and Irregular Warfare Teaching and Research Project in Washington. This project focused on how to best understand non-state armed groups, and how to teach about the subject. This led to publication of a monograph entitled Armed Groups: A Tier-One Security Priority (Colorado: USAF Academy, Institute for National Security Studies, 2004). A second monograph appeared in 2007 entitled Global Insurgency Strategy and the Salafi Jihad Movement (Colorado: USAF Academy, Institute for National Security Studies, 2008).
In 2006, Shultz (with Andrea Dew) came out with a major new book titled Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat. The book grew out of his work on the Armed Groups and Irregular Warfare Teaching and Research Project. The book was published by Columbia University Press. It was endorsed by Senator John McCain, Sir Richard Dearlove (former chief of MI-6) and Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker). The book is intended, according to Shultz, as "a provocative account and analysis of 21st century warfare and the costs of failing to understand the changing new faces of combat." The book is designed to appeal to informed readers and not just an academic audience.
In addition to conducting research on armed groups, Professors Shultz and Godson designed a full-length course on Armed Groups and Irregular Warfare that includes related curricular materials