A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

July News: Figen Murray visits START; GTD 2020 data released


UK Protect Duty campaigner Figen Murray OBE visits START for event on resilience to terrorism
START, alongside START’s UK-based exclusive commercial partner CHC Global and the Security Industry Association (SIA), welcomed UK Protect Duty campaigner Figen Murray OBE at START headquarters this summer. This event allowed attendees to hear from Murray as she discussed her research and advocacy work campaigning for improved terrorism resilience in public venues.  

UMD Report: Conspiracy theories fueled more terror attacks in 2020
The Global Terrorism Database (GTD), the most comprehensive unclassified database of terrorist attacks in the world dating back to 1970, has released data for the year 2020. The data indicates that the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic did not dramatically alter the number of terrorist attacks around the world, but individual conspiracy theory extremists were involved in an increasing number of incidents, particularly against telecom infrastructure.

START co-hosts workshop on critical system supply chains
START co-hosted a National Service Foundation (NSF)-sponsored workshop titled “Safeguarding Critical System Supply Chains Against Compromise” with the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), the School of Public Policy and the Maryland Center of Excellence for Sustainment Sciences (MChESS) at START Headquarters this month.


Check All That Apply: Challenges in Tracking Ideological Movements That Motivate Right-Wing Terrorism
Miller, Erin, Elizabeth A. Yates and Sheehan Kane
Right-wing violence is comprised of a diverse set of movements that include extremists motivated by a range of distinct, yet related ideologies, and linked through a complex web of in-person organizations and online spaces. Our recent analysis of right-wing terrorist attacks in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) illustrates shifting dynamics in motivations, targets, and tactics. However, classifying events according to perpetrator motivations and movement affiliations is not straightforward.

A Comparison of Political Violence by Left-wing, Right-wing and Islamist Extremists in the United States and the World
Jasko, Katarzyna, Gary LaFree, James Piazza and Michael Becker
Although political violence has been perpetrated on behalf of a wide range of political ideologies, it is unclear whether there are systematic differences between ideologies in the use of violence to pursue a political cause. Prior research on this topic is scarce and mostly restricted to self-reported measures or less extreme forms of political aggression. Moreover, it has generally focused on respondents in Western countries and has been limited to either comparisons of the supporters of left-wing and right-wing causes or examinations of only Islamist extremism.

Extremism in the Ranks and After
Jensen, Michael, Sheehan Kane and Elena Akers
On February 5, 2021, United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, announced a department-wide stand-down to address the problem of extremism in the ranks. This announcement, followed by one in April establishing the Counter Extremism Working Group, emphasizes the need for the Department of Defense to achieve a better understanding of the scope and nature of the problem. This research brief, which explores data from the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) project, is intended to help in this effort by providing information on the military service backgrounds of individuals who committed extremist crimes in the U.S. from 1990 through July, 2022.


Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Security and Terrorism Studies
Prospective students can now apply for START’s fully online MPS in Security & Terrorism Studies. The program is appropriate for individuals interested in (and/or currently) working in fields related to intelligence analysis, national security analysis, or analysis of other relevant topic areas, and individuals interested in (and/or currently) conducting scholarly research on terrorism and security. Apply by August 5, 2022 for Fall 2022. 

Global Terrorism Studies Minor Program
START has developed an undergraduate minor in Global Terrorism Studies, a cross-disciplinary program housed in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland. The minor is designed to train the next generation of terrorism analysts, including students who plan to pursue graduate study related to terrorism as well as employment in the federal, state, local, non-profit, and/or private sectors. START accepts applications to the program from University of Maryland undergraduates once per calendar year, during the spring semester. Apply by February 17, 2023 for Fall 2023.


Virtual Information Session: MPS in Security and Terrorism Studies & Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis (8/23)
6 p.m. ET August 23, Online
START's Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Security and Terrorism Studies prepares students to examine the complex social, political, economic, and psychological underpinnings of terrorist and security threats, while the Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis provides participants with advanced education on the causes, dynamics and impacts of international and domestic terrorism. 


Roll Call: Senate NDAA to Pentagon: ‘Immediately’ halt fight against extremism
START Director William Braniff is quoted in this article about the Senate Armed Services Committee halting the Department of Defense’s extremism prevention programs.

USA Today: Why are mass shooters getting younger and deadlier? Experts have theories
START affiliate Arie Kruglanski is quoted in this article about gun violence in the United States.

FiveThirtyEight: Jan. 6's tangled web of extremism
START researcher Michael Jensen is quoted in this article about extremists among the Capitol riot defendants.

Political Violence at a Glance: Managing conflictual relationships between international rivals: Why the end of accommodation approaches
START researcher Elizabeth Radziszewski co-wrote this article about why Sweden and Finland are choosing to join NATO.

MSN News: Fight brews over Pentagon's push to counter extremists
START Director William Braniff is quoted in this article about Congress halting the Department of Defense’s extremism prevention programs.

This is a selection of news clips from the past month.

A complete list of START’s media coverage can be found here.


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The START Consortium is dedicated to generating knowledge of the human causes and consequences of terrorism. Applying rigorous standards to both research and education, START seeks to illuminate one of the most highly politicized and understudied phenomena in the social sciences for students, practitioners and policy-makers. Funded primarily through research grants to date, START is seeking to generate an endowment that will provide the flexibility and autonomy to ensure that it can continue to serve as an objective source of data and empirically based analysis into the future. To donate, or for more information, please click here.

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