The case studies undertaken in this special issue demonstrate unequivocally that, despite being forced to operate clandestinely and facing the pressures of security forces seeking to hunt them down and neutralize them, at least a subset of violent non-state actors (VNSAs) are capable of some genuinely impressive feats of engineering. At the same time, success in such endeavours is not guaranteed and VNSAs will undoubtedly face a number of obstacles along the way. A comparative analysis of the cases also reveals new insights about the factors influencing the decision to pursue complex engineering efforts, the implementation of such decisions and the determinants of the ultimate outcome. These result in a set of hypotheses and indicators that, if confirmed by future research, can contribute to both operational and strategic intelligence assessments. Overall, the current study enriches our understanding of how and why VNSAs might engage in complex engineering efforts.