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

New brief analyzes terrorist groups in the United States

Since 1970, more than 145 organizations are known to have engaged in terrorist attacks against targets in the U.S. homeland, according to a new START research highlight that summarizes findings from the Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States (PPT-US) dataset.

According to the analysis, there is no single “profile” of organizations that target the U.S. homeland with terrorism. Rather, the groups that attacked the United States between 1970 and 2012 had widely varied ideologies, beliefs and goals. 

Of the 147 groups:

  • 87 percent had headquarters in the United States
  • 63 percent carried out attacks for less than one year
  • 97 percent emerged before the year 2000
  • 87 percent also engaged in non-violent political activities

The brief, “Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States: Research Highlight,” can be downloaded from START’s website here.

PPT-US is supported by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Resilient Systems Division and is part of a larger effort to develop a comprehensive database on Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS).

TEVUS integrates data from the Global Terrorism Database, the American Terrorism Study, Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the U.S., and the U.S. Extremist Crime Database. Led by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), the research team is creating a resource that will allow operational and academic end-users to conduct unprecedented analyses that incorporate incident, perpetrator, and geospatial information.