The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the threat of violent extremism by providing new opportunities, motivations, and capabilities to violent extremists. The virus has created anger, fear, social isolation, and profound uncertainty about the future, These factors have contributed to more online activity, and have increased the attractiveness of ideologies that promise “certainty.” Concurrent crises exacerbate these challenges, all at a time when first responders are stretched thinly and adapting operations to the pandemic, likely complicating responses to violent extremist and terrorist attacks. This brief introduces this aspect of this challenge. It is a small part of a larger, mixed-methods study that aims to provide the first responder community with operationally relevant insights on COVID-19.
Romm, Madeline, William Braniff, and Barnett Koven. 2020. "A Tragedy in Three Acts: COVID-19 and Compounding Crises." College Park, MD: START (October).