Title 22, Section 2656f of the United States Code requires the Department of State to include in its annual report on terrorism "to the extent practicable, complete statistical information on the number of individuals, including United States citizens and dual nationals, killed, injured, or kidnapped by each terrorist group during the preceding calendar year." The definition found in Title 22 of the U.S. Code provides that terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” From 2004 to 2011, the data for the Annex of Statistical Information were collected by the National Counterterrorism Center, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, through the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS).
Beginning in June 2012, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) contracted with the U.S. Department of State to collect a Statistical Annex dataset and provide a report to include in the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism. Since 2001, START has maintained the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), an unclassified event database compiled from information in open-source reports of terrorist attacks. The first version of the GTD was released in 2006 and included information on worldwide terrorism from 1970 to 1997. START routinely updates and improves the accuracy of the data. The full GTD (1970-2015) and accompanying documentation are available to the public at www.start.umd.edu/gtd. The GTD staff compiled the Statistical Annex dataset to include violent acts carried out by non-state actors that meet all of the GTD inclusion criteria:
1. The violent act was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal;
2. The violent act included evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience (or audiences) other than the immediate victims; and
3. The violent act was outside the precepts of International Humanitarian Law insofar as it targeted non-combatants.
Readers familiar with the GTD will note that inclusion in the GTD proper, from which the Statistical Annex data set was derived, requires that an event meet at least two out of the three inclusion criteria above. In consultation with the U.S. Department of State, START determined that it was appropriate to include in the Statistical Annex dataset only those events for which all three criteria were met in order to adhere to the definition established in the U.S. Code. In addition, the Statistical Annex dataset excludes any events in the GTD for which there was considerable uncertainty or conflicting reports regarding the inclusion criteria.
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (2017). “Annex of Statistical Information: Country Reports on Terrorism 2016.” Final report prepared for the United States Department of State. College Park, MD: START, 2017. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/272485.pdf