- The Organization and Leadership of Violence
(August 26, 2013)
by Ligon, Gina
A START research team has identified a cluster of certain characteristics that are a hallmark of ideological groups poised for violent action. Their findings are summarized in a START Research Brief, “The Organization and Leadership of Violence,” which highlights the ways violent and non-violent ideological organizations operate differently. Among the distinguishing characteristics between group types, the researchers found that: · Violent ideological groups are more insularly aggressive. · Violent ideological groups have elements of hierarchy. · Leadership styles differ between nonviolent and violent organizations Led by START Researcher Gina Ligon of the University of Nebraska Omaha, the team set out to examine ideological organizations using theory and methods that are typically applied to more conventional, for-profit organizations. Next, the team will assess how organizational characteristics (e.g., structure, leadership style) predict violence and performance in ideological groups. The study, The Leadership of the Extreme and Dangerous for Innovative Results (LEADIR), was funded through START by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs.
- Al - Qa’ida - Related Terrorism: Violent Incidents and Foiled Plots
(April 29, 2013)
by Freilich, Joshua D., and Jeffrey Gruenewald, Steven M. Chermak, William S. Parkin
This preliminary study provides an overview of the violent incidents and plots committed or attempted by supporters of al-Qa’ida and associated movements (AQAM) inside the United States since 1990. We focus on these movements because they are widely viewed as posing a great threat to public safety. Data are drawn from the United States Extremist Crime Database.
- START Research Brief: Law Enforcement Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism
(September 28, 2012)
by Liu, Brooke Fisher, and Kathleen Smarick
Research Brief: Law Enforcement Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism Lessons Learned from Past Cases A new START Research Brief features analyses of the effectiveness of law enforcement measures to counter violent extremism in two past cases —efforts to counter eco-terrorists and violent Puerto Rican nationalists. The analyses reveal that law enforcement can have success in this role when agencies and individuals involved are willing and able to fully collaborate with colleagues, have access to an ongoing stream of intelligence and data, and apply innovative techniques for analyzing those data. These historical cases can provide important insights for today’s efforts to address persistent and emerging threats. The lessons learned are particularly relevant now that the White House’s “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” places significant responsibility upon local law enforcement to be a key actor in countering violent extremism and preventing potential terrorist acts in the United States in the future. While counterterrorism has rarely been the primary responsibility of law enforcement, the United States has long engaged law enforcement in counterterrorism efforts, particularly against domestic threats. To download the Research Brief “Law Enforcement Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Past Cases,” click here. The START Research Brief is based on two previous reports:
“Effects and effectiveness of law enforcement intelligence measures to counter homegrown terrorism: A case study on the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN)”
Countering Eco-Terrorism in the United States: The Case of ‘Operation Backfire’
- Financial Crime and Political Extremism in the U.S.
(January 15, 2012)
by Belli, Roberta, and Joshua D. Freilich, Steven Chermak
In this newly published research brief, researchers in the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) examine Financial Crime and Political Extremism in the U.S. A descriptive analysis of Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) data reveals that both far-right and al-Qaida-inspired extremists in the U.S. engaged in different types of financial schemes, followed distinct modi operandi and were prosecuted for a variety of both financial and non-financial crimes. Despite these differences, a common trend was identified—the involvement of non-extremist accomplices who provided useful resources for the crime commission process. Project Lead: Roberta Belli, Joshua D. Freilich and Steven Chermak Other Project Researchers: William Parkin and Jeff Gruenewald Please see this PDF for the full report.
- Interfaith Programs on College Campuses: Lessons Learned
(March 1, 2011)
by Smarick, Kathleen, and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Jeffrey A. Summit
The five-campus project, known as Campus Dialogues—Changing Attitudes across Religious Communities: Developing Models for College Campuses, was supported by START as part of its efforts related to improving understanding of how different communities in the United States respond to and perceive terrorist threats and to fostering community resilience. The project was directed by Dr. Jeffrey Summit (Tufts University) and Dr. Jonathan Wilkenfeld (University of Maryland) and involved a leadership team at each campus. Program evaluation, involving the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data collected through surveys and interviews, was conducted by Dr. Ifat Maoz, an expert in intergroup relations (at University of Pennsylvania during the project; now at Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The leaders of the 5 campuses met regularly during this period to discuss progress and challenges with programs, and students and leaders from the five campuses conducted a day-long conference in Boston on Religious Pluralism at a Time of Extremism, attracting more than 100 attendees.
- Pathways Toward Radicalization
(October 31, 2008)
by McCauley, Clark
We conceptualize political radicalization as increasing extremity of beliefs, feelings, and actions in support of intergroup conflict, and we identify mechanisms of radicalization for individuals, groups, and mass publics. Contrary to conventional wisdom, radicalization cannot be understood by focusing only on radicalized actors; most of the mechanisms identified depend on a trajectory of action and reaction that develops between those radicalized and the enemy they are radicalized against. The foundations of this trajectory are ingroup identification and perceived threat to the ingroup. We conclude that understanding radicalization requires understanding the dynamics of intergroup conflict as the conflict unfolds over time.
- Surveying State Police Agencies about Domestic Terrorism and Far-Right Extremists
(February 26, 2008)
by Simone Jr., Joseph, and Joshua D. Freilich, Steven M. Chermak
The purpose of the study was to obtain state-police agencies estimates about possible cooperation between far-right extremists and Islamic Jihadists to commit crimes, and the threat posed by specified extremist groups. Towards this goal, a survey was mailed to the 50 state police agencies in the United States. The survey also asked about the types of crimes far-right extremists commit. Forty-two states (84%) responded, with 37 states (74%) submitting completed surveys.
- The Role of Homeland Security Information Bulletins within Emergency Management Organizations
(February 26, 2008)
by Hamilton Bean, and Lisa Keränen
Homeland security information bulletins from governmental, commercial, and non-governmental providers are an important source of threat information within local emergency management organizations. However, systematic assessment of how these bulletins are received and used by one emergency management organization reveals that process changes may enhance the contributions that homeland security information bulletins can make to emergency preparedness.
- Support for the Caliphate & Radical Mobilization
(January 31, 2008)
by McLeod, Douglas M., and Frank Hairgrove
The desire for the return of the Caliph, a religious and political leader for Muslims worldwide, is an often-mentioned goal in radical Islamic discourse, yet is rarely discussed in the counter-terrorism literature. As part of an ongoing project examining extremist Islamist groups in Indonesia, our research has examined the role of the Caliph ideology in radical mobilization.
- An Experimental Investigation of the Choice of Terror and Support for Taking Action
(January 31, 2008)
by Asal, Victor, and Anthony Lemieux, Jonathan Wilkenfeld
Using experimental research methods, this project explores factors that influence the likelihood that an individual would be willing to use, or justify the use of, terrorism and whether he/she would mobilize (i.e., take any form of action - whether protest or terror). We explore how the likelihood of such action is related to individuals’ levels of perceived grievance and risk, their desire for social dominance, and their attitudes towards authority.
- The Use of Violence by Ethnopolitical Organizations in the Middle East
(February 2, 2007)
by Wilkenfeld, Jonathon, and Victor Asal, Carter Johnson, Amy Pate, Mary Michael
Analyses of organizational-level characteristics demonstrate distinct changes over the past three decades in the behavior and ideologies of organizations that represent the interests of ethnopolitical groups in the Middle East. A smaller percentage of these organizations use violence now as compared to past periods, while a larger proportion than before engages in electoral politics or protests.
- Perceptions of the United States and Support for Violence Against America
(November 20, 2006)
by Weber, Stephen, and Steven Kull, Clay Ramsay, Clark McCauley, Gary LaFree, Arie Kruglanski, Douglas McLeod
A pilot survey was fielded online with panel respondents from Indonesia, Pakistan, and a number of Arab countries (3,000 respondents in all). Analyses of these pilot data strongly suggest that those respondents most likely to support attacks directed at civilians are characterized by beliefs rooted in religious, not political, conflict, while anti-Americanism that is rooted in political conflict is more likely to be associated with a rejection of the targeting of civilians.
- Efficacy of Counterterrorism Approaches: Examining Northern Ireland
(October 20, 2006)
by LaFree, Gary, and Raven Korte, Laura Dugan
Although the goal of responses to terrorism is to deter, or decrease the risk of further use of terrorist violence, previous research has found that counterterrorism activities may actually increase the use of terrorist violence through what is termed a defiance effect. The goal of this project is to test these two competing predicted outcomes of criminal justice and military responses to terrorism in the case of five major British counter terrorist interventions in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1992.
- Public Schools Underprepared for Disasters
(October 1, 2006)
by Kano, Megumi
This brief reports on a study assessing prior experiences with and current preparedness for emergencies and disasters in a cross-sectional sample of public schools in the State of California. A mail survey collected information from a sample of 98 school district administrators and 157 school site administrators. The results showed that school populations are commonly exposed to potentially disastrous hazards and that there are major weaknesses in their preparedness for future events.
- Evidence-Based Guidance for Public Risk Communication and Education
(September 15, 2006)
by Dennis Mileti, and Erica Kuligowski
This brief presents the state-of-the-art knowledge regarding public risk communication and education as a means to increase general citizen preparedness prior to a terrorist attack or natural disaster.
- Predictors of Support for Anti-Western Terrorism
(October 15, 2006)
by Kruglanski, Arie, and Shira Fishman, Edward Orehek, XiaoYen Chen, Mark Dechesne
The primary purpose of the study was to explore whether collectivistic goals are associated with support for terrorism. Collectivistic goals are those goals that consider the group or the community as more important than any given individual. The study also addressed the issue of different types of collectivism, specifically religion or nationalism, and whether they predict differences in support for terrorism.