Last week, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded $3.6 million to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), as part of our Centers of Excellence (COE) Program. START’s work is critical to our efforts of to expand scientific understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism.
This funding allows START researchers to build upon its existing knowledge to address crucial issues related to terrorist behavior, violent extremism, and counterterrorism. Maintaining financial support for the COEs such as START and the others will ensure an enduring and useful capability in homeland security research for the nation today, and for generations to come.
START began in 2005 and was the first DHS S&T COE to focus on behavioral and social science. Based at the University of Maryland, START researchers from more than 40 institutions worldwide will use the new grant to explore the social, behavioral and cultural factors that influence violent extremism, including political, financial and religious causes while examining the emergence and operations of domestic terrorists and how they interact with law enforcement strategies, community initiatives and government policies. In addition, START also collects and codes terrorist data so that it can be incorporated into behavioral models that can be used to inform homeland security decision making.
Leveraging the expertise of academia is key to S&T’s strategy to support the Department’s mission. Through the COE Program, universities and private sector partners pursue a mixed portfolio of basic and applied research addressing both short- and long-term homeland security needs.