Counterterrorism

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Terrorism has been a long-standing challenge for the international community. With its significant body of work on terrorism, RAND has an impressive record of advising the public on individual preparedness, first responders on crisis management, and policymakers on counterterrorism strategies at home and abroad.

Explore Counterterrorism

  • Masked Sunni gunmen pose with their weapons during a patrol outside the city of Falluja

    Commentary

    The Accelerating Spread of Terrorism

    The number of al Qaeda and other jihadist groups and fighters are growing, not shrinking. U.S. disengagement—or even risking the return of terrorists to the field by freeing them from detention—is not the answer to the threat they pose.

    Jun 3, 2014

  • terrorists silhouette

    Project

    Scientific Approach to Finding Indicators for and Responses to Radicalisation

    A multiyear study of radicalisation for the European Commission reviewed the evidence base and piloted an intervention to draw lessons for European counter-terrorism. Researchers ran a workshop to identify indicators of radicalisation and compared these with the evidence found in the literature.

    Apr 28, 2014

  • Philippine and U.S. marine soldiers in a joint military exercise in Ulugan bay, Philippines

    Commentary

    The Foreign Policy Essay: The Limits of Small Footprints

    The history of “small-footprint approaches” should be sobering. It suggests that such approaches are good at preventing allied governments from losing against rebels, but are not very good at actually winning wars.

    Mar 31, 2014

  • COMCAM,Croatian,EUCOM,Hrvatska kopnena vojska,Immediate Response,IR12,mission training exercise,SPC Lorenzo Ware,U.S. Army,U.S. European Command,US Army Europe,USAREUR,USEUCOM

    Report

    Assessing Security Cooperation as a Preventive Tool

    Based on an analysis of security cooperation (SC) data and state fragility scores for 107 countries in 1991-2008, a correlation is described between provision of SC by the United States and a reduction in partner state fragility.

    Mar 20, 2014

  • News Release

    Libya Needs More International Support

    The international community's limited approach to post-conflict stabilization of Libya has left the nation struggling and on the brink of civil war.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • Libyans protesting against the General National Congress in Benghazi February 28, 2014

    Report

    Libya After Qaddafi: Lessons and Implications for the Future

    This report assesses the challenges facing Libya since the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime and evaluates the impact of the limited international role in efforts to overcome them. It also sketches possible future roles for the international community.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • Personnel from the Iraqi security forces arrest suspected militants of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

    Commentary

    What Might Terrorists Do Next?

    No one can predict with any certainty what terrorists might do next. If there is one lesson America learned about counterterrorism on 9/11, it's that the coming attack may look nothing like those that preceded it.

    Feb 24, 2014

  • Afghan policemen inspect the wreckage of a bus hit by a suicide attack in Kabul claimed by the Taliban

    Commentary

    Take Two for the Taliban?

    This time, the Taliban do not have the luxury of ingratiating themselves as purveyors of justice amidst chaos, only to later reveal themselves as bullying extremists. Moreover, in a post-9/11 world the international community now understands the potential ramifications of allowing such extremism to metastasize unchecked.

    Feb 13, 2014

  • Two police officers of British Transport during a demonstration in central London, November 9, 2011

    Report

    Handling Ethical Problems in Counterterrorism

    Counterterrorism professionals routinely face decisions that may require trade-offs between moral values such as privacy, liberty, and security, and broader human rights considerations. But methods currently used in counterterrorism, as well as those from other sectors, may help guide ethical decisionmaking.

    Feb 12, 2014

  • Afghan Uniformed Police and Afghan Border Police leading a presence patrol

    Commentary

    Train Afghans, Corral Al Qaeda: America's Enduring Mission in Afghanistan

    The mission of preventing al Qaeda from threatening the U.S. is an enduring one that will require a long-term commitment not just to counterterrorism, but to training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces so that they are better able to prosecute their own campaign against terrorists.

    Feb 11, 2014

  • French sailors assigned to the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle observe an aircraft recovery cycle aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman

    Commentary

    The End of Freedom Fries

    As embattled French president François Hollande prepares for his state visit to Washington next week, defense cooperation is sure to be a bright spot on the agenda — especially when it comes to emerging security challenges in Africa.

    Feb 7, 2014

  • Passengers line up in LaGuardia Airport as it was reopened after being evacuated due to a suspicious package being found by a baggage handler, February 4, 2014

    Commentary

    Experts Are Working to Develop Evidence-Based Ways to Measure Anti-Terrorism Efforts

    The effects of security measures ought not to be measured solely in terms of prevention. Different types of countermeasures produce different effects, such as deterrence, making it easier for security to intervene during an attempted attack, and providing visible security that reassures the public.

    Feb 7, 2014

  • Masked Sunni gunmen chant slogans during a protest against Iraq's Shiite-led government

    Commentary

    Fight Today's Terrorist Threat, Not Yesterday's

    Counterterrorism is not just about daring raids and drone strikes. It is about the hard work of collecting and sifting through vast amounts of information and managing relationships among organizations that often regard sharing information as an unnatural act.

    Feb 7, 2014

  • Security personnel patrol the Olympic Park at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games

    Commentary

    The Secretive Battle for Sochi

    Russia seems to be taking prudent steps to make the games the safe and secure display of athleticism and international good fellowship they once were. The outcome hinges on a pair of unknowns: the secret counterterrorism strategies Russian authorities have undertaken and the terrorists' capacity for creativity and surprise.

    Feb 5, 2014

  • airport security check with passenger walking through metal detector

    Commentary

    The Real Homeland Security Issues for 2014

    Americans should be able to discuss the terrorist threat and how best to meet it, how much of the country’s precious resources should be devoted to homeland security, and the impact intelligence efforts can have on personal privacy and freedom.

    Feb 5, 2014

  • Runners pass through scanners as they are checked by New York Police Department officers upon arrival for the New York City Marathon, November 3, 2013

    Testimony

    Back to the Future: The Resurgence of Salafi-Jihadists

    U.S. policymakers should be concerned about the number, size, and activity of al Qa'ida and other Salafi-jihadist groups. Some of these groups pose a direct threat to the U.S. homeland, embassies, and citizens overseas, while others are currently targeting local regimes.

    Feb 4, 2014

  • Volunteers wait to enter through a security check point in the Costal Athletes Village as preparations continue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

    Commentary

    Sochi and Singletons

    Given Russian capabilities, it would be surprising if a terrorist group was able to mount a successful large-scale, coordinated attack during the Games. For spectators and athletes alike, the more likely threat will be from individuals, acting alone outside of arenas and other official venues.

    Jan 31, 2014

  • Russian Cossacks stand guard near the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi

    Commentary

    The Terrorist Threat to the Sochi Olympics

    From the Black September attacks on Israeli athletes in 1972, to the post 9/11 games in Salt Lake City, to the 2012 games in London, security has been a concern at all modern Olympics. Recent terrorist attacks in Russia, though, present particular concern as the world's athletes descend on Sochi.

    Jan 31, 2014

  • Masked Sunni Muslim gunmen take up positions with their weapons during a patrol in the city of Falluja

    Commentary

    Iraq Picture May Not Be as Bleak as It Seems

    Over the past month, al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a concerted effort to seize the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. The attacks have received a lot of attention, but ISIS does not represent a majority of Iraqi Sunni in Anbar. Many Sunni Anbari leaders continue to reject al Qaeda.

    Jan 31, 2014

  • Two police officers of British Transport during a demonstration in central London, November 9, 2011

    Project

    Handling Ethical Problems in Counterterrorism

    RAND Europe provides an overview of the methods that can support ethical decision making in counterterrorism, and the ways in which they may be tailored to the field.

    Jan 13, 2014