Author Biography

James M. Duggan is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. Dr. Duggan honorably retired from the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) in 2018 after 25 years of service. He retired as a Detective Lieutenant, commanding the MSP’s Anti-Terrorism Unit. Dr. Duggan was a member of FBI Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for five years before his retirement. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Academic and professional awards bestowed upon Dr. Duggan include UMass Lowell’s Outstanding Ph.D. Student (2022) and Amy Finn Human Spirit Award (2022), an Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Doctoral Summit fellowship (2019), FBI Boston’s Award of Excellence for contributions to the Marathon bombing response and investigation (2013), the New England Narcotic Enforcement Officers’ Association Enrique Camarena Memorial Award (2010), and the Latham–Moynihan Award for contributions to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Detective Unit.



Subject Area Keywords

Law enforcement, Terrorism / counterterrorism, Complex emergencies, Homeland security, Threat assessment, Security management


Many opportunities to learn from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing have not been capitalized on. The terrorist attack was launched in the heart of Boston, a densely populated urban area with a population of approximately 670,000. Those numbers are amplified by the hundreds of thousands of spectators that line the streets along the Marathon route, with most at the finish line on Boylston Street. Two pressure cooker bombs were detonated in the finish line area, killing three and injuring 264. Among the injured were 16 who suffered traumatic amputations. Numerous reviews of the response and investigation identified positive aspects to be expanded upon and others needing improvement. This monograph presents lessons learned within the context of the National Incident Management System. Individuals that responded to and investigated the attack provide insights into what went well and, more importantly, what didn’t, in the days and weeks following the attack. How would the proper implementation of Unified Command have improved outcomes? Find out from those who were there, have separated from service, and are now free to speak. The lessons presented provide critical guidance for the proper preparation for and response to terrorist attacks in urban environments.