A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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

Violent non-state actors & complex engineering; New nuclear facility attack database; Radicalization among immigrants; Public health lessons for CVE


Violent non-state actors & complex engineering; New nuclear facility attack database; Radicalization among immigrants; Public health lessons for CVE

April 6, 2016
FEATURED RESEARCH

 

‘Designing Danger: Complex Engineering by Violent Non-State Actors’
In a special issue of the Journal of Strategic Security, START experts explore the threat of violent non-state actors (VNSAs) exploiting emerging technologies and executing complex engineering operations to facilitate their violent and criminal activities. The issue presents the results of a series of case studies of VNSAs and attempts to increase their capabilities through engaging in sophisticated engineering efforts. Read more.
 
New START database tracks nuclear facility security breaches
START has launched the Nuclear Facilities Attack Database (NuFAD), a global database recording 80 assaults, sabotages and unarmed breaches of nuclear facilities that have occurred since 1960. Read more.
 
Marginalization, discrimination create greater risk of radicalization for immigrants
Immigrants who feel marginalized and experience discrimination are at a greater risk of radicalization according to a new report authored by START researchers and published in Behavioral Science and Policy. Read more.
 
New study examines FARC’s development of narco-submarines
Over the last 40 years, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has proven to be one of the most violent and formidable non-state actors in the world. Showing sophistication and adaptability, the group has upgraded its former methods of drug transportation in favor of a more covert alternative, according to new START research. Read more.
 
Background Report: Terrorism in Belgium and Western Europe; Attacks against Transportation Targets; Coordinated Terrorist Attacks
In the aftermath of the March 22, 2016 attacks in Brussels, Belgium, START compiled the following statistics from the Global Terrorism Database. The report outlines terrorism in Belgium and Western Europe, attacks against transportation targets and coordinated terrorist attacks. Read more.


DISCUSSION POINT

 

How public health can improve initiatives to counter violent extremism
In this editorial piece, Dr. Stevan Weine and Dr. David Eisenman argue that adopting an approach from public health – preventing injuries, protecting against environmental hazards, and promoting healthy behaviors and environments – may be the best way to realize the intent of efforts to counter violent extremism. Read more.


PUBLICATIONS

 

Disaster Warning in Your Pocket: How Audiences Interpret Mobile Alerts for an Unfamiliar Hazard
Wiley Online Library
Bean, Hamilton, and Brooke F. Liu, Stephanie Madden, Jeannette Sutton, Michele M. Wood, Dennis S. Mileti
 
Terrorism Outside the Proverbial Vacuum: Implications for the Moral Context
Deviant Behavior
Carson, Jennifer Varriale, and Brad Bartholomew
 
Walking away: the disengagement and de-radicalization of a violent right-wing extremist
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Science
Horgan, John, and Mary Beth Altier, Neil Shortland, Max Taylor

Preparing for the worst: public perceptions of risk management innovations
Journal of Risk Research
Liu, Brooke Fisher, and Holly Roberts, Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers, Gary Ackerman, Daniel Smith, Irina Iles
 
Killing the Messenger: Regime Type as a Determinant of Journalist Killing, 1992-2008
Foreign Policy Analysis
Asal, Victor, and Matthew Krain, Amanda Murdie, Brandon Kennedy


START NEWS

START launches online course on terror-crime nexus and CBRN
This month, START launched its newest online course, The Terror-Crime Nexus & Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Threats. The course is designed to give participants an understanding of the ongoing debate -- and the implications of the different viewpoints -- about the terror-crime nexus, especially about the extent to which it may extend to CBRN threats. The course offers an introduction to the conflicting positions about the nature and scale of the collaboration between these different types of actors. Read more.
 
Intern team authors peer-reviewed journal article on Hamas
A new START study published in the Journal of Strategic Security examines the complexity of Hamas’ vast tunneling network – more than 30 tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory -- through the lens of understanding what motivated and enabled the group to construct the network. The article, authored by a pair of recent START interns, is part of a series of related case studies exploring violent non-state actors’ use of complex engineering. Read more.
 
START study leads to support for SLTT officials
State, local, territorial and tribal (SLTT) officials will have a new tool at their disposal as they prepare Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) reports, thanks in part to a recent study by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Read more.
 
Bridging academia and policy to build better CVE programs
A self-described policy wonk whose career has straddled the worlds of academia and government, Dr. Peter Weinberger says he feels right at home at START – a place he says is “on the cutting edge between policy and academic research.” Read more.
 
Students explore disaster recovery on spring break trip to Japan
START led 14 University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students on the trip to Japan, as part of an innovative program that combines online coursework with U.S. and Japan-based activities. The trip focused disaster risk reduction management and disaster recovery. Read more.
 
Robbed at gunpoint: Intern’s experience spurs his study of terrorism
Most students have fond memories of studying abroad but Stevenson University Graduate Student Nick Budnichuk’s “fond” memory has a bit more flair. He was hijacked at gunpoint during his study abroad in South Africa. Read more.
 
Scavenger hunt activity helps START team assess capability of mobile radiation detectors
In order to test the use of small, portable radiation detectors, UMD students and faculty recently participated in a START-designed scavenger hunt game to map natural background radiation. Read more.

Understanding radiological and nuclear threats
In light of the recent Nuclear Security Summit, START's Unconventional Weapons and Technology division compiled a list of resources seeking to provide actionable knowledge about chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) and other emerging technology threats emanating from non-state actors. Read more


START OPPORTUNITIES

 

The Terror-Crime Nexus & Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Threats online course. Learn more or Register now.
 
Study abroad with START this summer in Singapore or Australia and New Zealand. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Apply now.
 
Free online short series of video lectures on “Core Capabilities and Potential Durability of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” View now.
 
START’s Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis. Open to academicians and practitioners, and can be completed in as few as nine months. Apply by July 1.


OTHER OPPORTUNITIES

 

Countering Violent Extremism Symposium “Disrupt. Reimagine. Redefine.” April 6-7 in Washington, D.C.
 
Call for Papers: Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice on terrorism, political violence and asymmetric conflict Submit by July 20, 2016.
 
Call for Papers: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Submit by Sept. 1, 2016.
 
Call for Papers: Journal of International Relations Research (JIRR) Submit by Oct. 1, 2016.
 
DHS S&T ‘National Conversation on Homeland Security and Technology’ Dialogue Series Participate Now.


EVENTS

 

Book Talk: Jon Wilkenfeld, "International Negotiation in a Complex World" 12:30 p.m. April 11 at START HQ.
 
Lecture: Gary Ackerman, “An Introduction to Risk Assessment” 2 p.m. April 13 at START HQ.
 
Virtual Information Session: Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis 6 p.m. April 19 online.


STUDENT BLOG

 

Risk Communication, Crisis Situations and Saving Lives through the Intriguing means of Research, by Taylor Gibbons


START IN THE NEWS

 

New York Times: Who will become a terrorist? Research yields few clues
Clark McCauley, John Horgan and Alejandro Beutel were all featured in a New York Times piece about research on radicalization and countering violent extremism efforts. Read more.

War on the Rocks: Apple, the FBI, extremists and strategic soft targeting
William Braniff writes this piece about why the debate between Apple and the FBI is only going to get more important going forward. Read more.
 
Brussels attacks coverage
START researchers and research projects were mentioned in a number of publications following the March 22 attacks in Brussels. Highlights include:

Sinclair Broadcast Group: Summit focuses on keeping nuclear materials out of the wrong hands
This article about the Nuclear Security Summit quotes Gary Ackerman and mentions START’s Nuclear Facilities Database. Read more.
 
Chronicle of Higher Education: Does engineering education breed terrorists
Martha Crenshaw is quoted in this article about the psychology of terrorism. Read more.
 
Christian Science Monitor: To combat rise in US hate groups, former skinhead says compassion is key
Pete Simi was quoted in Christian Science Monitor about the rise in U.S. hate groups in recent years. Read more.

Sydney Morning Herald: What Islamic State's recruitment tells us about the West – and ourselves
Arie Kruglanski was quoted in this Sydney Morning Herald article about Islamic State recruitment and the psychology of radicalization. Read more.

War on the Rocks: Not secure enough: The threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear material is still serious
Gary Ackerman and James Halverson authored this op-ed warning of the vulnerabilities that remain for nuclear power plants and other facilities. Read more.
 

This is a selection of news clips from the past month.
A complete list of START’s media coverage can be found
here.

 


SUPPORTING START

Help Support START Research and Education
The START Consortium is dedicated to generating knowledge of the human causes and consequences of terrorism. Applying rigorous standards to both research and education, START seeks to illuminate one of the most highly politicized and understudied phenomena in the social sciences for students, practitioners and policy-makers. Funded primarily through research grants to date, START is seeking to generate an endowment that will provide the flexibility and autonomy to ensure that it can continue to serve as an objective source of data and empirically based analysis into the future.  To donate, or for more information, please click here.