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

Terrorist Attacks Targeting Critical Infrastructure in the United States, 1970-2015


This report leverages the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) to provide an overview of terrorist threats to critical infrastructure in the United States based on patterns of terrorism from 1970 to 2015. First, the report identifies trends in terrorist attacks targeting critical infrastructure in the United States, compared to terrorist attacks against other types of targets. Next, it identifies the most commonly targeted types of critical infrastructure in the United States. Throughout this analysis, the report highlights the perpetrator organizations that have historically targeted critical infrastructure in the United States, referencing the Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States (PPT‐US) to provide additional context about these groups. In addition, for each of the critical infrastructure sectors most impacted by terrorist attacks, this report describes the tactics and weapons typically used.

The purpose of this report is to provide a general understanding of the potential threats terrorism poses to critical infrastructure in the United States, serving as a foundation for generating questions for future research. Thus, the report concludes with a brief discussion of topics that may be of interest for more in‐depth analysis. Before presenting the results, the report begins with an overview of the data collection methodology for the datasets referenced to produce this report.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Miller, Erin. "Terrorist Attacks Targeting Critical Infrastructure in the United States 1970‐2015." College Park, MD: START, 2016. https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_DHS_GTD_Targeting%20Critical%20Infrastructure%20in%20the%20US_June2016.pdf​


START Author(s):