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AU SPA Partners with Pangiam for AI Practicum

Faculty and students in Terrorism and Homeland Security Program partner with industry leader Pangiam, to envision a safer, future travel experience.

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This spring semester, American University and Pangiam, a leading trade and travel solutions technology provider, began a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Practicum within the Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy (THSP) Program to further the discussion on the policy implications of Artificial Intelligence and national security.

According to Dr. Trace Lasley, who leads the Practicum and is a Professor of Practice in SPA’s Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy Program (THSP), the goal of the AI practicum is to conduct research into the policy challenges and opportunities for the federal government in public and produce its findings in a report in spring of 2023. “This is an important project for AU students studying homeland security policy as the technology has huge implications on both the threat and the prevention/response sides,” he said.

To support Pangiam in the research process, American University graduate students with the THSP program will engage with government executives, industry, and the advocacy community to conduct independent research into the policy opportunities and potential challenges of AI and national security.

“Not only do our students have the skills capable of assessing the threat to the United States of near-peer competitors and malign actor use of AI, but they are also poised to develop innovative ways to capitalize on the new technology to mitigate those same risks,” Lasley added.

In keeping with its vision of an interconnected world in perfect motion, Pangiam will bring its cutting-edge technological and security expertise to guide and collaborate with students to translate report findings into actionable executive decisions.

“Academic research is critical to informing the debate regarding the appropriate regulatory guardrails for industry to partner with the federal government on artificial intelligence. Creating those guardrails can encourage innovation within the federal government by providing a framework to partner with industry,” Mr. Patrick Flanagan, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Pangiam.

The adoption of computer vision and AI technology has dramatically increased over the past several years. National security and law enforcement agencies continue to explore the use of AI and computer vision driven solutions to enhance their capabilities and increase efficiency. Established policy guardrails that address privacy and civil liberty concerns while encouraging innovation are needed to maintain global competitiveness and national security.

“As an emerging technology, artificial intelligence offers unique innovative opportunities to support critical missions within the Homeland Security enterprise. However, like any new technology, there is always the risk of misuse and malfeasance. Thoughtful rules that are driven by specific use cases create appropriate protections against potential harm,” said Mr. Flanagan.

For more information about the Practicum, please contact either Dr. Lasley at or Pangiam at