S&T funds research products to increase public awareness of the mechanisms by which individuals and groups radicalize to violence to inform and support law enforcement, community leaders, NGOs, academics, local government, and international partners.
Operational Research Roadmap
Engage stakeholders to understand how organizations:
- Define their terrorism prevention mission
- Decide what actions to undertake
- Interact with other stakeholders
International Expert Engagement
Engage international experts to share terrorism prevention best practices and to guide the development and implementation of safe and effective programs. Domestic government agencies and law enforcement organizations from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have agreed to exchange information and coordinate applied research efforts under the framework of the Five Country Research & Development Network (5RD).
- Addicted to Hate: Identity Residual among Former White Supremacists (2017)
The process of leaving deeply meaningful and embodied identities can be experienced as a struggle against addiction, with continuing cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses that are involuntary, unwanted, and triggered by environmental factors. Using data derived from a unique set of in-depth life history interviews with 89 former U.S. white supremacists, as well as theories derived from recent advances in cognitive sociology, we examine how a rejected identity can persist despite a desire to change.
- Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) – Developing a Research Roadmap (2017)
In furtherance of its mission to conduct evidence-based research to inform policy recommendations, operational requirements, and public safety needs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has developed a countering violent extremism (CVE) framework (the Framework). This Framework will assist DHS S&T in developing a research agenda that seeks to save lives, reduce property losses, and enhance community resilience in the face of rapidly changing threats of extremist violence in the United States.
- Organizational [Dis]trust: Comparing Disengagement Among Former Left-Wing and Right-Wing Violent Extremists (2017)
In order to move beyond the existing push/pull framework to understand disengagement, we apply a systematic coding scheme derived from Mayer and colleagues’ integrative model of organizational trust to examine why people leave extremist groups. In doing so, we also rely on in-depth life history interviews with twenty former left- and right-wing extremists to examine whether antecedents of distrust vary between the two groups.
- Countering Violent Extremism -- Developing a Research Roadmap: Literature Review (2016)
As the threat of violent extremism in the United States continues to grow and change, DHS S&T, which serves as the primary source of scientific expertise for the Department, has strengthened its resolve to develop an agile, multidisciplinary, knowledge-based capability to counter this threat.
- Narratives of Childhood Adversity and Adolescent Misconduct as Precursors to Violent Extremism: A Life-Course Criminological Approach (2016)
We examined how nonideological factors such as childhood risk factors and adolescent conduct problems precede participation in violent extremism (VE).
- Overview: Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States-Foreign Fighters (PIRUS-FF) (2016)
From 1980 to 2015, foreign fighters departed for overseas conflicts from more than 100 cities in 25 states across the United States. During that span, there have been some instances of concentrated foreign fighter activity in both geography and time.
- Leaving the World of Hate: Life-Course Transitions and Self-Change (2015)
This exploratory study relies on life history interviews with 34 former white supremacists, one of the oldest types of hate groups in the United States, to examine the process of exit from these groups. Findings suggest that exiting is a multifaceted process with a variety of factors that influence a person’s decision to leave.
- County-level Correlates of Terrorism in the United States, 1990 to 2010 (2014)
This study examines whether characteristics of U.S. counties can explain the geographic clustering of terrorist attacks in the United States from 1990 to 2010. It builds upon data from a previous study (LaFree and Bersani, 2012) that examined the connection between the distribution of terrorism and the distribution of ordinary crimes over nearly four decades.
- Disengagement Case Study: Ahmed’s Story (2014)
Ahmed joined a terrorist organization at the age of 15. When he entered the organization he had “absolutely no expectations” about what his involvement would entail.
- Disengagement Case Study: Sarah’s Story (2014)
As an adolescent, Sarah became involved in a series of violent extremist right-wing (XRW) groups. She eventually committed to one group and was convicted for terrorist offenses.
- Financial Crime and Material Support Schemes Linked to al-Qa’ida and Affiliated Movements (AQAM) in the United States: 1990 to June 2014 (2014)
This research examines the financial crime and material support schemes linked to al-Qa’ida and affiliated movements (AQAM) in the United States between 1990 and June 2014.
- Patterns of Terrorism in the United States, 1970-2013 (2014)
This report examines patterns of terrorism in the United States from 1970 to 2013 based on analysis of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD).
- Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States, 1970-2013 (2014)
This research highlight provides findings based on START’s Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States (PPT-US) dataset, which includes detailed information on the 143 organizations known to have engaged in terrorist attacks against targets in the U.S. homeland from 1970 through 2013.
- U.S. Attitudes Toward Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Examining Results from a Four-Wave Survey Conducted Between September 2012 and July 2014 (2014)
This project examined Americans’ beliefs and attitudes about terrorism and government efforts to counter terrorism based on responses to more than 5,500 questionnaires administered in four waves between September 2012 and July 2014.
- U.S. Attitudes Toward Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Reporting Terrorism-related Activity (Overview) (2014)
This research highlight examines results from a survey of 1,392 American adults conducted in January and February of 2014, and specifically focuses on responses to questions regarding reporting terrorism-related activity to law enforcement.
- Violence Perpetrated by Supporters of al-Qa’ida and Affiliated Movements (AQAM): Fatal Attacks and Violent Plots in the United States (2014)
This research highlight provides an overview of violent incidents and plots committed or attempted by supporters of al-Qa’ida and affiliated movements (AQAM) who targeted the United States between 1990 and 2013.
- Bombing and Arson Attacks by Environmental and Animal Rights Extremists in the United States, 1995-2010 (2013)
This report and overview focus on criminal incidents committed by environmental and animal rights extremists in the United States between 1995 and 2010, and specifically, the arsons and bombings conducted by individuals affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
- From Extremist to Terrorist: Identifying the Characteristics of Communities where Perpetrators Live and Pre-Incident Activity Occurs Prior to Attacks (2013)
The goal of this project is to identify the characteristics of communities where persons indicted under terrorism related charges lived, planned, and prepared prior to carrying out terrorist attacks.
- U.S. Attitudes Toward Terrorism and Counterterrorism (2013)
This project collects survey data to understand public perspectives on the threat of terrorism and the government’s role and effectiveness in responding to it.
- U.S. Attitudes Toward Terrorism and Counterterrorism Before and After the April 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings (2013)
This study examines differences in U.S. attitudes about terrorism and government countermeasures before and after the Boston Marathon bombings by comparing the responses of American adults who completed a survey immediately before the bombings with the responses of a similar group of Americans who completed the survey immediately after the bombings.
- Understanding Lone-actor Terrorism: A Comparative Analysis with Violent Hate Crimes and Group-based Terrorism (2013)
The objective of this project was to analyze lone-actor terrorism in relation to two seemingly related behaviors: group-based terrorism and violent hate crimes.
- Arc of Terrorist Involvement (2012)
The “Arc” model identifies critical stages in the development of the terrorist. The distinctions made in this model draw from analogies with criminal careers and are useful in the identification of potential intervention points.
- Building Resilience to Violent Extremism Among Somali‐Americans in Minneapolis‐St. Paul (2012)
This study asked members of the Somali‐American community in Minneapolis‐St. Paul to describe the challenges of living in a refugee community, how violent extremists try to exploit their condition for recruitment purposes, and what resources and strategies are needed to minimize their vulnerability.
- Effects and Effectiveness of Law Enforcement Intelligence Measures to Counter Homegrown Terrorism: A Case Study on the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) (2012)
This study aims to look at one law-enforcement led counterterrorism effort from the 1980s to assess what might be learned from that case for efforts moving forward in the United States.
- Law Enforcement Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Past Cases (2012)
Historical cases can provide important insights for today’s efforts to address persistent and emerging threats.
- Returning to the Fight: What the Literature on Criminal Recidivism Can Contribute to our Understanding of Terrorist Recidivism (2012)
This report seeks to begin to redress this void in the literature by developing a series of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological starting points for thinking about terrorist recidivism that are closely informed by advances in criminology. While we find the definition of recidivism and its causes are often contested in the field of criminology, there are significant lessons that can inform the study of terrorist recidivism.
- Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorism, A Routine Activity Analysis of Five Lone-Actor Terrorist Events (2012)
This report explores the implications of shifting the focus from individual qualities (who we think terrorists “are”) to a consideration of the situational qualities of lone-actor terrorist behavior – in other words, what lone-actor terrorists do in the commission of a terrorist attack and how they do it.
- Organizational Dynamics of Far‐Right Hate Groups in the United States: Comparing Violent to Non‐Violent Organizations (2011)
This report systematically investigates which factors distinguish violent far-right hate groups from non-violent ones in the United States.
- Patterns of Intervention in Federal Terrorism Cases (2011)
The purpose of the current manuscript is to provide an overview of the most significant events that evoked changes in the manner in which terrorists are portrayed, pursued, and prosecuted as well as the way in which terrorists and their defenders have responded to federal prosecutorial efforts.
- Reactions to the War on Terrorism: Ethnic Group Differences in the 2007 Pew Poll of American Muslims (2010)
This study explores opinions relating to the war on terrorism for seven groups of participants in the 2007 Pew poll of U.S Muslims: African-American Muslims (self-identified as “Black” and born in the U.S. of U.S.-born parents) and Muslims born in Pakistan, Iran, Arab countries, South Asian countries excluding Pakistan, European countries, and sub-Saharan African countries.
- U.S. Polls: Public Opinion and Right‐Wing Extremism (2010)
This research explored whether trends in right-wing political violence in the United States are related to trends in national polling data for issues linked to right-wing grievances.
- Developing An Empirical Understanding of Improvised Explosive Devices: A Social and Behavioral Science Perspective (2009)
This report includes a brief review of past social science research on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) followed by a series of focused observations resulting from data collection and analysis efforts.
- Living in America as a Muslim After 9/11: Poll Trends 2001‐2007 (2009)
The terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 brought increased attention to Muslims living in the U.S. Results from four national polls of Muslim Americans conducted between 2001 and 2007 indicate that Muslim Americans feel increasingly negative about the direction in which America is headed and increasingly see the war on terrorism as a war on Islam.