Domestic Terrorism

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Domestic terrorism involves violence against the civilian population or infrastructure of a nation—often but not always by citizens of that nation and often with the intent to intimidate, coerce, or influence national policy. RAND addresses national security and critical infrastructure needs through objective research that helps government agencies prevent and mitigate terrorist activities and improves disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

Explore Domestic Terrorism

  • Blog

    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

  • Report

    Identifying Enemies Among Us: Evolving Terrorist Threats and the Continuing Challenges of Domestic Intelligence Collection and Information Sharing

    Officials, practitioners, and counterterrorism experts gathered this year to examine domestic intelligence and information sharing as they relate to terrorist threats.

    Jan 13, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Road to Resilience: Building Stronger, More Sustainable Communities

    This infographic illustrates how communities can become more resilient as they plan ahead for potential disasters.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • Testimony

    The Terrorist Threat from Al Shabaab

    At the moment, al Shabaab does not appear to be plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland but there are several reasons why America should still be concerned. Its terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Kenya and its follow-up attacks are a stark reminder that the Somalia-based group remains lethal.

    Oct 3, 2013

  • Testimony

    Re-Examining the Al Qa'ida Threat to the United States

    The United States needs to adopt an increasingly nuanced — but long-term — approach to countering the al Qa'ida movement, says Seth Jones. U.S. policymakers should view the al Qa'ida threat as a decades-long struggle like the Cold War.

    Jul 29, 2013

  • Blog

    Could Terrorists Pull Off a Mumbai-Style Attack in the U.S.?

    There is, at present, no known terrorist group in the United States that has the organization and human resources to assemble an operation of the complexity and scale of the Mumbai attack, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jul 10, 2013

  • Testimony

    What Should We Learn from Boston?

    We cannot assume, based on Boston's response to the marathon bombings, that other U.S. cities are as prepared. Emergency managers and public safety agencies remain focused on disaster preparedness, but some hospitals have lapsed into thinking that it is a costly distraction from daily business.

    Jul 10, 2013

  • Testimony

    Lashkar-e Taiba and the Threat to the United States of a Mumbai-Style Attack

    Lashkar-e Taiba poses a grave danger to U.S. interests and citizens in South Asia, but is less of an immediate risk to the American homeland than a Mumbai-style attack — one dramatic and shocking enough to inspire widespread terror even without the use of weapons of mass destruction or a casualty-count in the thousands.

    Jun 12, 2013

  • Testimony

    The Threat of a Mumbai-Style Terrorist Attack in the United States

    A Mumbai-style attack is conceivable in the United States, although probably not one at anywhere near the scale of the 2008 assault in India, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jun 12, 2013

  • Blog

    Searching for Clues on the Brothers Tsarnaev

    One doesn't need a clear link to a global terror group to carry out an attack; one needs only the resources, the means and an Internet connection. But the global nature of these communities and their online links also create openings police can exploit.

    May 6, 2013

  • Blog

    Forget What You Think You Know

    What's the difference if they ascribe this atrocity to a neo-Nazi, radical Islamist, or separatist anti-government ideology? Whatever their motive, they're cowardly murderers who need to be brought to justice, writes Andrew Liepman.

    Apr 19, 2013

  • Journal Article

    State Terrorism and Human Rights: An Incremental Tyranny

    Perceived threats to liberty by the military-industrial complex that gave great cause for concern in the past have given way to fears of a security state, which has fueled perception of a perpetual danger requiring endless war.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Blog

    Latest Alleged Homegrown 'Terrorists' Fit the Mold

    For many U.S.-born terror recruits, the prospect of blowing things up is a solution to an unsatisfactory life. Terrorism does not attract the well-adjusted, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Nov 20, 2012

  • Report

    After Four Decades, It's Time for a Fundamental Review of Aviation Security

    Budgetary constraints, heavy passenger loads, and popular hostility toward screening procedures are all challenges to securing commercial aviation. After 40 years of focus on tactical measures, it is time for a sweeping review of aviation security.

    Aug 29, 2012

  • Blog

    Getting the Threat Right

    Would-be jihadist warriors are angry, eager for adventure, out to assuage personal humiliation and demonstrate their manhood. Many appear to be motivated by personal crises—terrorism does not attract the well adjusted, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jun 15, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Assessing the Security Benefits of a Trusted Traveler Program in the Presence of Attempted Attacker Exploitation and Compromise

    Fears that terrorists may exploit the minimal security screening of trusted traveler programs have dissuaded the adoption of such programs. Such attempts would reduce the maximum potential security benefits of a program, but they would not eliminate those benefits in all circumstances.

    Mar 1, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 30 Insurgencies, 1978-2008

    Using Charles Ragin's Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to quantitatively test the performance of 20 distinct counterinsurgency (COIN) approaches against the historical record, this article provides useful recommendations for US engagement in and support for COIN operations.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • Blog

    Five Myths about 9/11

    Fear has made al-Qaeda the world's top terrorist nuclear power, yet it possesses not a single nuke. This is a lesson in how terrorism works, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 2, 2011

  • Multimedia

    The Long Shadow of 9/11: America's Response to Terrorism

    At this program, Brian Michael Jenkins explored some of the most significant political, fiscal, social, cultural, psychological, and military implications of U.S. policymaking since 9/11.

    Sep 1, 2011

  • Periodical

    Beyond the Shadow of 9/11

    The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks warrants a thoughtful review of America's progress and future strategy. In this RAND Review cover story, RAND experts offer perspectives on Afghan-led solutions, ways to counter al Qaeda, air passenger security, and compensation for those affected by terrorism.

    Sep 1, 2011