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Former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of transportation optimistic about 2014 Sochi Olympic Games
Dr. Oliver McGee
“Terrorism is all about interrupting the flow of human activity, not just taking human life,” explains Oliver McGee.
McGee is the former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy (1999-2001) and former senior policy advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He received anti-terrorism and national security training during his time serving in the U.S. government.
McGee believes that Americans will be safe while attending the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi despite some of the concerns about potential terrorist attacks. “While there is a higher potential for terrorist activity in nearby territories Dagestan and Chechnya, Americans are not specifically at risk,” he explains. “Most of the attacks in those areas are due to local geopolitical issues that are not geared toward Americans, but they can be harmed in the process.” He goes on to say, “Sochi will be secure, but visitors should continue to be vigilant outside of the region as well.”
He adds that people are currently exposed to the same amount of risk at home in the U.S. as they will be in Sochi. “There is always the possibility of a terrorist attack and we all have to be very mindful in this post 9/11 era,” he explains while citing recent incidents such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the Columbia Mall shooting in Maryland. “Individual self-security is good homeland security.”
When asked if the Olympics Games should be abolished, he states that they should continue in spite of the threats. “The Olympic Games were designed to be a symbol to humanity that we can come together and display unity across all geopolitical spheres.”
McGee’s step-father, George Wilson, won a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games with the U.S. basketball team. “There is something magical about watching someone win a gold medal,” he adds. “If we get rid of that, where do we get a chance to show our humanity and dedication to athletic excellence.”
McGee remains cautiously optimistic regarding the future. “Going forward, terrorist activity will be more sophisticated nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks and the weapons will be smaller, more sophisticated, and easier to build,” he says.
“Terrorism is about disorganizing society, but Americans must keep going forward as well as the rest of the world.”
McGee is a civil, aerospace, and mechanical engineer with an expertise in technology and public policy. His educational background includes a B.S. in civil engineering from the Ohio State University, an M.S. in civil engineering, and a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics and aerospace engineering. McGee is currently a professor of mechanical engineering at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He continues to work as an advisor to numerous government organizations, corporations, and nonprofit groups.