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

Anatomizing the Behavior of Chemical and Biological Non-State Adversaries


Anatomizing the Behavior of Chemical and Biological Non-State Adversaries

Investigators: 

Project Details

Abstract: 

This project sought to: identify indicators of violent non-state actors' (VNSAs’) potentially changing chemical/biological (CB) predilections and capabilities; improve understanding of potential non-state attackers by identifying salient characteristics of past CB adversaries, including the linkage between their strategic concerns and their targets and tactics; and embed these findings into a Bayesian analytical tool. Most importantly, this study aims to enhance the capability of defense practitioners to protect the United States by including risk assessment calculations in more detailed specifications of the threat component, in addition to the already well-developed vulnerability and consequence elements. By enhancing the ability to rank and prioritize threats based on an adversary’s behavior, such as its targeting strategy, the likelihood increases that the nation’s limited resources can be focused on mitigating the most likely threats, effectively reducing risk. In sum, by identifying the potential CB perpetrators that pose the highest threat, as well as exploring the possible behaviors of these actors and developing a tool that can be used to update the analysis, the project will provide real benefit to analysts and decision-makers in efficiently addressing the threat of CBRN terrorism.

Gary Ackerman, Victor Asal and Amanda White serve as Principal Investigators on this project.

Timeframe

Project Period: 
June 2012 to May 2014

Selected Publications