Brian Michael Jenkins

Photo of Brian Jenkins
Senior Adviser to the RAND President
Off Site Office

Education

M.A. in history, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A. in fine arts, University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Brian Michael Jenkins is a senior adviser to the president of the RAND Corporation and author of numerous books, reports, and articles on terrorism-related topics, including Will Terrorists Go Nuclear? (2008, Prometheus Books). He formerly served as chair of the Political Science Department at RAND. On the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, Jenkins initiated a RAND effort to take stock of America's policy reactions and give thoughtful consideration to future strategy. That effort is presented in The Long Shadow of 9/11: America's Response to Terrorism (Brian Michael Jenkins and John Paul Godges, eds., 2011).

Commissioned in the infantry, Jenkins became a paratrooper and a captain in the Green Berets. He is a decorated combat veteran, having served in the Seventh Special Forces Group in the Dominican Republic and with the Fifth Special Forces Group in Vietnam. He returned to Vietnam as a member of the Long Range Planning Task Group and received the Department of the Army's highest award for his service.

In 1996, President Clinton appointed Jenkins to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. From 1999 to 2000, he served as adviser to the National Commission on Terrorism and in 2000 was appointed to the U.S. Comptroller General's Advisory Board. He is a research associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute, where he directs the continuing research on protecting surface transportation against terrorist attacks.

Previous Positions

Captain, U.S. Army Special Forces with service in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam; Deputy Chairman, Kroll Associates; member, White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security; adviser, National Commission on Terrorism; special adviser to the International Chamber of Commerce; board member, ICC Commercial Crime Services; member, U.S. Comptroller General's advisory board

Selected Publications

Jenkins, Brian Michael, The Origins of America's Jihadists, RAND Corporation (PE-251), 2017

Jenkins, Brian Michael, Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies: Radicalization and Recruitment to Jihadist Terrorism in the United States Since 9/11, RAND Corporation (OP-343), 2011

The RAND Corporation, The Long Shadow of 9/11: America's Response to Terrorism, RAND Corporation (MG-1107), 2011

Jenkins, Brian Michael, Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves, RAND Corporation (MG-454), 2006

Paul Wilkinson and Brian Michael Jenkins, eds., Aviation Terrorism and Security, Frank Cass Publisher, 2006

The RAND Corporation, Three Years After: Next Steps in the War on Terror, RAND Corporation (CF-212), 2005

Jenkins, Brian Michael, Countering al Qaeda: An Appreciation of the Situation and Suggestions for Strategy, RAND Corporation (MR-1620), 2002

Davis, Paul K., Brian Michael Jenkins, Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism: A Component in the War on al Qaeda, RAND Corporation (MR-1619), 2002

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Fellow, University of San Carlos in Guatemala
  • Fellowship, Organization of American States

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC; Associated Press; CBS; CGTN America Online; Chicago Tribune; Christian Science Monitor; CNBC; CNN; C-SPAN; Houston Chronicle; International Institute for Counter-Terrorism;; KCBS-AM; KCRW; KNBC-TV; KNX-AM; KPCC-FM AirTalk; KQED, Forum; Literary Hub; Los Angeles Times; Maclean's On Campus; Marketplace; MSNBC; NBC;; Newsweek Online; San Francisco Chronicle; Santa Fe Public Radio; Time Magazine; USA Today; U.S. News & World Report; Vox; WAMU, The Diane Rehm Show, Washington Journal

Commentary: Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Baltimore Sun; Boston Globe; CATO Unbound; Chicago Tribune; The Cipher Brief; CNN; Defense One; Foreign Affairs; Foreign Policy; Fox News Channel; GlobalSecurity.org; The Globe and Mail; The Guardian; The Hill; Homeland Secur; Inside Science; Insurance Journal; Los Angeles Times; The Mark News; Mercury News; Mineta Transportation Institute; National Journal; Newsday; New York Daily News; Orange County Register; Orlando Sentinel; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; The Providence Journal; The Ripon Forum; San Diego Union-Tribune; San Francisco Chronicle; Slate; United Press International; USA Today; U.S. News & World Report; Vanguard; Washington Post; Washington Times

Video Interviews: Unconquerable Nation; Anti-Terrorism Expert Discusses Preventing Attacks; Brian Jenkins on Homeland Security

Commentary

  • Global Climate Change

    Is Our Response to the Pandemic a Preview of How We May Deal with Climate Change?

    Do Americans have the stomach for tough times, hard work, and sacrifice? Or will many of the same problems experienced in responding to COVID-19 arise as Americans confront the challenge of climate change?

    Sep 26, 2022

    The Daily Beast

  • Pandemic

    Societal Long COVID Here to Stay, Says Book: 'Normality Will Not Return'

    Brian Michael Jenkins takes a look at past plagues—like the Black Death and the 1918 pandemic—to try to understand the future. In this adaptation from his book, Jenkins discusses how post-pandemic life will be marked by more than just long-lasting health concerns.

    Sep 14, 2022

    Newsweek

  • Military Mobilization

    The Will to Fight, Lessons from Ukraine

    In Ukraine, ferocious defense has stalled the invaders. Even if Kyiv falls, continued resistance seems likely. Ukraine has reminded the world that national unity in the face of existential threats, self-reliance strengthened by collective defense, and courage coupled with compassion can help underdog populations resist the mightiest military forces.

    Mar 29, 2022

    RealClearWorld

  • Politics and Government

    Complex Calculations Shape Pakistan-TTP Negotiations

    Pakistan sees the Taliban as a facilitator of discussions with the TTP, as an ally in persuading the TTP to negotiate, and as a guarantor of whatever agreement is reached. And given the Taliban's diplomatic isolation and desperate economic situation, Pakistan can in return assist Afghanistan's new rulers in gaining acceptance and aid.

    Dec 20, 2021

    The Express Tribune

  • Violent Extremism

    Politicians Face Violence and Threats from Voters—and Each Other. Are We Nearing a Civil War?

    Does America's increasingly uncivil behavior mean we are heading toward civil war? The historical record seems to indicate that the country has a high tolerance for violence without breaking apart. But the threat of civil wars cannot be dismissed.

    Nov 15, 2021

    NBC News Think

  • Pakistan

    Negotiating with TTP—A Different Perspective

    America's withdrawal and the Taliban's swift return to power in Afghanistan could be a primary force in shaping the trajectory of the continuing armed struggle with Pakistan's Taliban. It may be time for Islamabad to consider whether to renew efforts aimed at reaching a political settlement.

    Oct 27, 2021

    The Express Tribune

  • Domestic Terrorism

    Countering Domestic Terrorism May Require Rethinking U.S. Intelligence Strategy

    The United States is deeply divided, its political system polarized. Getting counterterrorism wrong could make the situation worse. The challenge is to isolate and contain violent extremists without turning them into political martyrs or half the country into enemies of the state.

    Oct 5, 2021

    The Hill

  • Violent Extremism

    Capitol Rioters Face FBI Arrests and Prosecution. How Not to Make Them Martyrs in the Process

    The righteous wrath of those who view January 6 as an insurrection and believe we need uncompromising prosecution is understandable. But is it strategic thinking? History has shown that prosecutions based on less severe and politically-fraught charges have a greater chance of resulting in the convictions needed to stop this behavior.

    May 14, 2021

    NBC News THINK

  • Violent Extremism

    Don't Muddy the Objectives on Fighting Domestic Extremism

    The U.S. Capitol attack on January 6 has fueled momentum for new approaches and laws to counter attacks by domestic violent extremists. It will be crucial for policymakers to reckon with what new laws and law enforcement can achieve, and what they can get wrong.

    Apr 7, 2021

    The Hill

  • Military Force Deployment

    Getting Out of Forever Wars: What Are Biden's Options in Afghanistan?

    U.S. counterterrorism strategy has long been driven by the assumption that security at home depends on fighting terrorists abroad. How will that square with the president's pledge to end forever wars? Is it possible to get out of warfighting without shutting down vital counterterrorist operations?

    Mar 12, 2021

    Military Times

  • National Security Legislation

    Five Reasons to Be Wary of a New Domestic Terrorism Law

    Momentum is building in Congress for legislation to deal with domestic terrorism. Here are five purely pragmatic reasons to be wary of addressing domestic terrorism with a new law.

    Feb 24, 2021

    The Hill

  • Domestic Terrorism

    Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists

    The beliefs driving today's domestic extremists are deeply rooted in American history and society. For this and several other reasons, shutting them down will prove far more difficult than combating homegrown jihadists.

    Feb 1, 2021

    The Hill

  • Domestic Terrorism

    How Threats Against Lawmakers Could Distort the Political Landscape for Years

    The political environment is changing in a way that goes beyond immediate security concerns. The prevalence of threats and violence as a feature of American politics will ripple throughout the political system. Our politics could be distorted by the vicious atmosphere for years.

    Jan 25, 2021

    NBC News THINK

  • Domestic Terrorism

    Why We Need a January 6 Commission to Investigate the Attack on the Capitol

    The history of politically charged violence in and against the United States can be read in the reports of its national commissions. The takeover of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 demands such an inquiry.

    Jan 20, 2021

    Los Angeles Times

  • Domestic Terrorism

    The Battle of Capitol Hill

    The deadly mob assault on the U.S. Capitol Building was a predictable possibility. Democracy held, but security failed, spectacularly. We need to be better prepared for future acts of political violence.

    Jan 11, 2021

    The Hill

  • Domestic Terrorism

    Domestic Terrorism and the U.S. Elections

    The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the elections. The United States is deeply divided and the political system is polarized. Under these fraught circumstances, even a minor event can have far-reaching repercussions. What are the prospects for domestic terrorism in the context of U.S. elections?

    Oct 7, 2020

    The RAND Blog

  • Domestic Terrorism

    The American Jihad Was a Failure. For Those Who Joined, It Was a Path to Destruction

    To keep the jihad going after 9/11, al Qaeda exhorted homegrown terrorists to take up arms in the United States. ISIS later made similar appeals. These calls to arms yielded some plots and a few attacks, but overall, the American jihad was a failure.

    Sep 23, 2020

    The Hill

  • Political Reform Movements

    Could 2020 Spawn '70s-Style Radicals and Violence?

    The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has further cleaved an already deeply divided society. The conditions facing the United States today are reminiscent of those that gave rise to the radicalism of the 1970s and could once again lead to political violence, including terrorism.

    Aug 17, 2020

    NBC News THINK

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Deadly Terrorist Threats Abound in U.S. and Abroad. Here Are Key Dangers

    Today's self-selecting solo terrorists answer only to their god, whether seeking to destroy all government, pursuing racial separation or genocidal goals, expressing sexual dissatisfaction, or simply wanting to leave their mark. Military operations are irrelevant. This is a deeper societal problem.

    Jul 20, 2020

    Fox News Channel

  • Information Operations

    Exposing Russian Information Operations Does Not Violate the First Amendment

    Russia's hostile information operations are continuous and extend to a broad range of domestic issues. First Amendment concerns are important, but they do not protect hostile information campaigns by foreign actors, nor are they a legal excuse for inaction by the United States.

    May 11, 2020

    The Hill

  • Iran

    All-Out U.S.-Iran War Is Unlikely. But Low-Level War Expected to Continue

    Iranian retaliation for Soleimani's killing and counter-retaliation by the United States seem likely. But Tehran and Washington have good reasons to inflict limited pain without engaging in a full-scale war.

    Jan 6, 2020

    Fox News Channel

  • Terrorism Financing

    A 50-Year-Old Terrorist Innovation Is Still Creating Life-and-Death Dramas

    Fifty years ago, urban guerrillas in Rio de Janeiro kidnapped the American ambassador to Brazil, setting off a worldwide wave of terrorist kidnappings that continues today. Although few of the terrorist groups that engaged in kidnapping over the past half century have survived, seizing hostages funded their operations and earned them notoriety. And for that reason, it will likely remain a mainstay of the terrorist tool kit.

    Sep 25, 2019

    Homeland Security Today

  • Border and Port Security

    Hadrian's Wall Was a Policy Statement; So Is Donald Trump's

    It's not clear if Hadrian's Wall was necessary to prevent Scottish fighters from invading the Roman Empire. Neither is it clear how effective Trump's wall would be at repelling undocumented immigration and smugglers. Hadrian's Wall may have been of symbolic value to those on both sides of it. Trump's could be, too.

    Mar 6, 2019

    United Press International

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Leaving ISIS Detainees in the Desert Doesn't Serve U.S. Interests

    Leaving ISIS detainees in the desert may sound like an apt punishment, but it's dangerous. Repatriation and prosecution could help ensure ISIS volunteers don't scatter to other jihadist fronts.

    Mar 5, 2019

    The Hill

  • Terrorists on the Border and Government Secrecy

    Detailed information on how many would-be terrorists may have sought to cross the southern border is being withheld on the grounds that it is sensitive. The refusal of officials to offer a fuller explanation of the numbers illustrates how the continued expansion of secrecy in government is damaging the ability of the public to assess the risk and evaluate the response.

    Feb 13, 2019

    The Hill

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Navigating the Latest Terrorism Trend

    Terrorists are increasingly using vehicles as attack weapons, killing more than 150 people in the last 18 months. If this trend continues, the urban landscape will change as bollards, barricades and barriers, chicanes and checkpoints surround and subdivide public spaces. But do they make us safer?

    Dec 19, 2017

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Domestic Terrorism

    The Origins of America's Jihadists

    American jihadists are made in the United States, not imported. Homegrown terrorists have accounted for most of the jihadist activity in the U.S. since 9/11, with most of those who carried out or plotted terrorist attacks either born in the U.S. or arriving as children.

    Dec 4, 2017

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    Vehicular Terrorism: Weighing the Benefits, and Worth, of Prevention

    The terrorist attack in Barcelona has added urgency to discussions of what can be done to prevent terrorists from using vehicles as weapons. Many potential security measures would be disruptive, costly, and could easily be circumvented by a determined terrorist.

    Sep 5, 2017

    Fox News Channel

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    The Islamic State's Disposable Army

    To leaders of the Islamic State group, murder of its own and collective suicide are keys to its defense strategy. The group targets malcontents and the most suggestible, knowing they are desperate to belong to something and willing to die for it.

    Jun 20, 2017

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Counterterrorism

    Can We Predict Where Terrorists Will Strike Next?

    Terrorism has escalated horizontally, not vertically. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, there has been a proliferation of low-level attacks. The trick will be to predict and prevent new plots.

    Jun 19, 2017

    Newsweek

  • Syria

    When the Caliphate Falls, What Then for U.S. Policy?

    The eventual fall of ISIS-controlled Raqqa will necessitate a review of U.S. policy in Syria. Policymakers can start thinking about the questions it will raise now.

    Jun 16, 2017

    Defense One

  • Violence

    Why Aren't There More Terrorist Attacks Like the One in London?

    The number of attacks like the one on London Bridge are low because jihadist ideologies have failed to gain traction in most Muslim countries, and it's difficult to recruit people remotely. Supporting violence and participating in it are two different things.

    Jun 7, 2017

    Fortune

  • Counterterrorism

    London Bridge Attack: The Latest Example of 'Pure Terror'

    Terrorists can attack anything, anywhere, any time. Preventing all pure terrorism is impossible, but seeking ways to divert vulnerable people from the terror path as Prime Minister May has discussed is a worthy step in that direction.

    Jun 5, 2017

    The Hill

  • Chemical Weapons and Warfare

    Why Would Assad Use Chemical Weapons?

    The use of chemical weapons today provokes international condemnation, if not always action. Those who order their deployment risk being charged with war crimes. So why would Syria's President Bashar Assad use them?

    Apr 14, 2017

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Taking the 'Terror' Out of Terrorism Requires Outsmarting Fear

    Terrorism aims to create terror. Building an effective counterterror strategy could help society understand how terrorism works, then work together toward a psychologically more resilient and less vulnerable mindset.

    Mar 16, 2017

    United Press International

  • Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

    For U.S., Many Options but No Clear Path in Middle East

    The struggle against jihadist terrorism has a long way to go. All courses of action come with risks, but are not mutually exclusive. The U.S. could escalate the fight, work with state partners in the Middle East, or withdraw from the region.

    Mar 6, 2017

    The Hill

  • Domestic Terrorism

    Why a Travel Restriction Won't Stop Terrorism at Home

    It's not unreasonable to seek a review of immigration, and refugee-vetting procedures make sense. But America's jihadist terrorists are not imported from abroad. They are mostly homegrown.

    Feb 10, 2017

    The Hill

  • Russia

    Dealing with a Revanchist Russia

    The deployment of additional U.S. forces and other NATO units to Poland, Norway, the Baltics, and other states symbolically reinforces the West's commitment to the alliance. But countering Russia's influence will require a fundamental reformulation of EU and U.S. political strategy.

    Feb 8, 2017

    The National Interest

  • Domestic Terrorism

    When Is a Terrorist Really a Terrorist?

    Countering mass violence demands a distinction between attackers who are truly inspired by jihadism and those with lesser links. The latter includes people whose mental states and violent tendencies preexist their exposure to the ideology.

    Jan 27, 2017

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    What ISIS Leaves Behind in Mosul Will Reveal a Lot

    The capture of Mosul, Iraq, may produce a potential trove of information about how ISIS organized itself to run a large city. Collecting, analyzing, and disseminating this material will be a major effort, one of the most important as the city is liberated.

    Nov 18, 2016

    The Hill

  • Counterinsurgency

    What the Battles of Mosul and Aleppo Tell Us About Their Countries' Futures

    The battle of Mosul is not just about defeating ISIS. It is about restoring Mosul to the multi-ethnic city it once was. The Syrian government's style of warfare in Aleppo, however, accepts that Syria will remain a divided country.

    Nov 14, 2016

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    U.S. More Able Than Ever to Combat Terrorism

    Acts of pure terrorism are truly arbitrary and extremely difficult to protect against, but they are rare. Improved domestic counterterrorist efforts have uncovered and interrupted close to 90 percent of jihadist terrorist plots in the U.S. since 9/11.

    Sep 26, 2016

    Boston Herald

  • Counterterrorism

    Fifteen Years on, Where Are We in the 'War on Terror'?

    Much has changed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Counterterrorism efforts have made progress, and Americans are safer. But it's unclear how much further the fight against terrorism has to go.

    Sep 7, 2016

    CTC Sentinel

  • Counterterrorism

    President Obama's Controversial Legacy as Counterterrorism-in-Chief

    There were no attacks like 9/11 during Obama's eight years in office. But there were plenty of terrorist adversaries. While he will be judged in part for his domestic achievements, Obama's counterterrorism choices are a major part of his legacy.

    Aug 22, 2016

    The Mark News

  • Al Qaida

    A Persistent and Resilient Adversary: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

    The history of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula catalogues every dimension of frustration in combatting terrorism. But is it possible that the United States and its Gulf allies are finally getting the measure of AQAP?

    Aug 22, 2016

    The Cipher Brief

  • Terrorist Organizations

    What's in a Name? The Rebranding of the Nusra Front

    Jabhat al-Nusra, which recently announced that it was severing its affiliation with al Qaeda, is now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. This means less than meets the eye, but it does say something about the local atmosphere in Syria.

    Aug 8, 2016

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    Is the Surge in Terrorist Attacks Coincidence or Coordinated Campaign?

    Whatever the investigations of recent terrorist attacks reveal, the facts may be portrayed (or ignored) to fit narratives written even before the blood has dried.

    Jul 11, 2016

    The Hill

  • Transportation Safety

    The Response to Every Terrorist Attack Cannot Be Another Checkpoint

    The Istanbul attack will renew calls to extend existing security screening at the front doors of terminals. But checkpoints create bottlenecks and queues of people waiting to get through them, which then become an easy target.

    Jul 1, 2016

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    Cyberterrorism and the Role of Silicon Valley

    As national security and war are being redefined for the digital age, Silicon Valley will need to be on the front line of counterterrorism. Its inventors and entrepreneurs are driving the information revolution, and they must figure out how to protect vital systems against malevolent intrusions.

    Jun 13, 2016

    TechCrunch

  • Transportation Security

    Terrorism Shouldn't Affect Travel Plans

    Evidence suggests that the threat of terrorism need not affect individuals' behavior and travel decisions, not even in the wake of attacks such as those in Brussels and Paris.

    May 21, 2016

    USA Today

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    In the Event of the Islamic State's Untimely Demise...

    If they haven't already, the Islamic State's leaders will soon formulate a contingency strategy, a Plan B that the West will then be forced to contend with.

    May 11, 2016

    Foreign Policy

  • Counterterrorism

    Five Years After the Death of Osama bin Laden, Is the World Safer?

    What effect did killing bin Laden have on al Qaeda's ability to pursue its jihadist goals? Does high-value targeting contribute to counterterrorist strategy more broadly? Does killing terrorist leaders work?

    May 2, 2016

    The Cipher Brief

  • Intelligence Collection

    Europe's Terror Fight Far from Over

    Salah Abdeslam is suspected of being the logistics man for the November terrorist attacks in Paris. His capture may provide authorities with a window into the ISIS network in Europe.

    Mar 22, 2016

    CNN

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    How Real Is the ISIS Threat?

    In less than two years, ISIS's black flag has flown in a dozen countries outside of Syria and Iraq. And terrorist attacks have been carried out in its name in the West, including in America. But how serious is the threat that ISIS's brand of jihad will spread on a global scale?

    Mar 18, 2016

    The Cipher Brief

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Could ISIS and Al Qaeda, Two Giants of Jihad, Unite?

    It could take a change in leadership in both Al Qaeda and ISIS and perhaps some compromises on mission and strategy, but there are enough points of confluence to make a united jihadist front a realistic and frightening possibility.

    Mar 14, 2016

    Fox News Channel

  • Counterterrorism

    A Symbolic Purging of the NYPD Radicalization Report

    The NYPD's purging of its 2007 report on radicalization may give some satisfaction by symbolically breaking the connection between the current mayoral administration and the NYPD's previous intelligence and investigative efforts. But its significance seems questionable.

    Jan 26, 2016

    The Hill

  • Homeland Security Legislation

    Oregon Standoff Shouldn't Have an Anti-Terrorism Twist

    Dwight and Steven Hammond were charged under a law enacted to fight terrorism, not rein in wayward ranchers. Anti-terrorist laws should not be used to strengthen prosecutors' hands in nonterrorist prosecutions—it makes national security needs look like an instrument of oppression.

    Jan 13, 2016

    Slate

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    How Terrorist Threats Against LA and New York Schools Exposed Weaknesses

    The handling of terrorist threats on Los Angeles and New York City schools calls into question the ability of national and local government to coordinate a terrorist crisis involving two or more cities.

    Dec 23, 2015

    The Hill

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    How Terrorists Get Here

    Of 134 jihadist-inspired terrorists who have carried out or plotted attacks in the United States since 9/11, 96 were U.S. citizens and 19 others were legal permanent residents. While some level of comfort may be drawn from the fact that terrorists are not pouring into the country, there is no basis for complacency.

    Dec 18, 2015

    The Hill

  • Domestic Terrorism

    If Terrorism Is Homegrown, a Visa Overhaul Won't Keep Americans Safe

    Despite being the focus of renewed scrutiny, only three people involved in terrorist incidents have entered the United States via the visa waiver program in the past quarter-century.

    Dec 7, 2015

    The Guardian

  • Counterterrorism

    Why the Paris Terrorists Couldn't Be Stopped

    Terrorists almost always have the advantage. Theoretically, they can attack anything, anywhere, anytime. And governments cannot protect everything, everywhere, all the time.

    Nov 16, 2015

    Slate

  • Terrorist Bombings

    Big Questions Facing France

    In Paris, the heavily armed terrorists reportedly struck at six locations, including restaurants, a football stadium, and a theater during a rock concert. It seems clear the killers must have had some confederates. That would mean some terrorists are still at large.

    Nov 14, 2015

    CNN

  • Aircraft

    Passing Judgment on Russian Plane Crash Before the Facts Are In

    A bright flash and catastrophic event suggest an explosion, but do not necessarily exclude the possibility of a mechanical failure. This would not, in fact, be the first time evidence pointed to a terrorist attack when none existed.

    Nov 12, 2015

    The Hill

  • Syria

    Five Options for the U.S. in Syria

    How should the United States respond to Russia's intervention in Syria's civil war? Here are five options intended to encourage rational thinking based upon realistic presumptions, not media or campaign-driven hype.

    Oct 21, 2015

    The Hill

  • Refugees

    Will Today's Refugees Become the 'New Palestinians'?

    The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have generated the greatest volume of refugees since World War II. If the international community is to avoid seeing the emergence of a population of new Palestinians lasting decades into the future, it will have to craft a more coherent approach.

    Oct 9, 2015

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    Any Review of Syria and Iraq Strategy Needs Realistic Reappraisal

    Since the American-led coalition bombing campaign began a year ago, ISIS has suffered some military setbacks and lost territory, but it also has been able to capture several more key cities in Iraq and Syria, and, despite the bombing, continues to attract a large number of foreign fighters.

    Sep 28, 2015

    The Hill

  • Terrorist Organizations

    The Strategic Value of Terrorism

    While terrorists and criminals joining forces is certainly a scary thought, it's nothing new and not something that works as simply in practice as it does on a white board. Still, it's a threat worth watching.

    Aug 31, 2015

    The Cipher Brief

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    The 1970s and the Birth of Contemporary Terrorism

    While terrorism worldwide has increased over the past four decades — and the threat of terrorism continues to dominate Americans' fears — the 14 years since 9/11 have been tranquil on the home front compared to the violent 1970s.

    Jul 30, 2015

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    After Attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait, West Must Do More to Fight Surge of Terrorist Attacks

    The terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait are just the latest warnings that ISIS is turning its campaign into a global enterprise.

    Jun 29, 2015

    New York Daily News

  • Transportation Security

    TSA Flunked Its Security Test Big Time — Now What?

    We have to accept that humans, no matter how well-trained they are or how dedicated they are to their mission, are just not very good at maintaining laser-like focus while performing repetitive tasks. That does not mean airport security can ever be completely given over to machines.

    Jun 15, 2015

    The Hill

  • Terrorism

    Should There Be a Hostage Czar?

    In light of recent kidnappings ending in the deaths of American hostages, appointing a 'hostage czar' may seem like a sound idea. But the creation of a high-profile position for hostage issues raises policy questions and comes with operational risks.

    Jun 1, 2015

    The Hill

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    The Death of Hostages and High-Flying Illusions

    Risk is unavoidable in fighting war or terrorism. Soldiers are sometimes felled by friendly fire, and civilians ostensibly on the sidelines become accidental targets. It is unrealistic to believe that such tragedies can always be prevented. Risks can be reduced but never entirely eliminated.

    May 4, 2015

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    Inside the Terrorist Factory

    As the civil wars in Syria and Iraq continue, they sharpen the sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shias, threatening the stability of the region and attracting a steady flow of foreign volunteers, effectively turning Syria and Iraq into a terrorist factory.

    Mar 30, 2015

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    The Allure of ISIS for Young Recruits

    Poverty and oppression may explain why people in some countries embrace violent extremism, but it does not account for the flow of Western volunteers or the dreamy allure of fighting for a faraway cause. Biographies of those who have reached out to participate in jihad suggest a variety of motives, including alienation, personal crises, dissatisfaction with empty spiritual lives, and adolescent rebellion.

    Mar 20, 2015

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    Different Countries, Different Ways of Countering Terrorism

    France and the United States follow different approaches in dealing with terrorist suspects. This divergence reflects differences in the threat, historical experience, law, available resources, and public attitudes. France faces a more serious terrorist threat than the U.S. does.

    Mar 2, 2015

    The Hill

  • Domestic Intelligence

    Predicting the 'Dangerousness' of Potential Terrorists

    Predicting 'dangerousness' of potential terrorists is a hit-and-miss endeavor. Unless someone is waving a gun, it is extremely difficult. Even with direct access to the subject, parole boards, suicide prevention units and even trained clinicians get it wrong.

    Mar 2, 2015

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    Attempting to Understand the Paris Attacks

    The investigation will eventually fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge of the events leading up to the attacks in Paris, but some questions will remain unanswered. Embedded in the unknowns are some of the chronic dilemmas faced by counterterrorist authorities everywhere.

    Feb 26, 2015

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    ISIS's Calculated Barbarity

    ISIS's decision to murder its Jordanian hostage by burning him alive may turn out to be a strategic miscalculation, but it is not madness. Through self-selection, continued fighting, and the exaltation of unlimited violence, ISIS has created a cult whose members command and revel in displays of ever-increasing cruelty.

    Feb 10, 2015

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    Experts React to ISIS's Gruesome Execution of Jordanian Pilot

    A grisly video released yesterday by ISIS appears to show Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh burned alive in a cage. Why the shift away from beheadings? What does the execution mean for Jordan? What implications will it have for ISIS?

    Feb 4, 2015

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Improving Domestic Security to Combat Today's Terrorist Threats

    Today, the U.S. confronts a multilayered terrorist threat and the recent spate of attacks in Europe underscores the necessity for ensuring that intelligence keeps up with it. Intelligence services must continue to prevent terrorist assaults dispatched from abroad, head off new shoe and underwear bombers, intercept individuals returning from jihadist fronts with terrorist intentions, while at the same time uncovering and thwarting homegrown plots.

    Jan 30, 2015

    The Hill

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Eight Lessons from the Charlie Hebdo Attack

    Among the lessons to be learned from the attacks in Paris are that terrorism has many audiences, Al-Qaida remains a threat, would-be warriors are unconcerned with the schisms among jihadist camps, Europe has a more serious problem, such an attack could happen in the U.S., and intelligence is crucial.

    Jan 23, 2015

    Slate

  • Terrorism

    Terror in Paris, Answers from RAND Experts

    The attack that claimed the lives of 12 people in the offices of a Paris-based satirical magazine sent waves of terror and disbelief across France today. RAND experts discuss what the terrorists stand to gain from the attack, what it could mean for Muslims around the world, and more.

    Jan 7, 2015

  • Terrorism

    A Grim Choice: The Attempted Rescue of Hostages

    Many described the attempt to rescue Luke Somers from al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen as 'botched,' suggesting it was badly or carelessly planned or executed. 'Desperate' may be more apt. Such measures aren't undertaken without a grim calculus weighing the chances of success against a range of other outcomes, most of which involve the hostages' doom.

    Dec 19, 2014

    The Hill

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    When Jihadis Come Marching Home

    The existing pool of determined jihadists in America is very small and lacks training and experience, which fighting in Syria and Iraq would provide. Returning jihadi veterans would be more formidable adversaries. Still, the threat appears manageable using current U.S. laws and existing resources.

    Nov 19, 2014

    The Hill

  • Military Strategy

    Is Obama a Modern-Day Quintus Fabius Maximus?

    Critics say President Obama dragged his feet on sending more troops to Afghanistan, on addressing the dangers in Libya, on providing support to Syria's rebels and, most recently, on initiating military action against Islamic State. But is that necessarily such a bad thing?

    Oct 22, 2014

    Los Angeles Times

  • Air Warfare

    Air Campaign Against ISIS Is Just Getting Off the Ground

    More than 60 countries have joined the coalition against ISIS, with at least 12 participating in the air campaign. Eventually, this will be an impressive armada, but the campaign is still in its first stage, and most of the coalition participants joined the effort only recently.

    Oct 17, 2014

    The Hill

  • Military Strategy

    What Could U.S. Boots on the Ground Do in Iraq and Syria?

    Before embracing American boots on the ground as a strategy to fight ISIS, it's essential to be clear about what they're going to do, what they may require, and what risks may be entailed.

    Oct 15, 2014

    Defense One

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    What Are ISIS's Options Now?

    In domestic debates about what the United States should do to blunt the threat posed by ISIS, Americans often forget the adversary also has options. A determined force, ISIS will counter the bombing campaign.

    Oct 10, 2014

    The Hill

  • Military Doctrine

    An Inconvenient War

    Congress has not addressed President Obama's plans to take other military steps against ISIS. Some members of Congress do not want to vote on the use of military force until after the upcoming elections. Among these are some who fear their vote could cost them votes.

    Sep 25, 2014

    The Hill

  • Terrorism

    Why the U.S. Swaps Prisoners but Doesn't Pay Ransom

    Reports that the United States refused to pay ransom for journalist James Foley, only weeks before it released Taliban prisoners in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, have caused confusion about U.S. policy. On the surface, it may seem inconsistent. Why release prisoners but not pay ransom?

    Sep 2, 2014

    The Hill

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    Disrupting Terrorist Safe Havens

    Disrupting the terrorist safe havens in Syria and Iraq would require a balanced approach that makes the business of terrorist planning and training difficult without entangling U.S. forces in new conflicts and angering the very populations the United States seeks to assist.

    Aug 18, 2014

    The Hill

  • Counterterrorism

    An Evil Wind

    The threat of global terrorist enterprises has been enhanced by Western fighters joining al Qaeda offshoots like the Islamic State. With the terrorist threat evolving, the United States has little choice but to evolve with it.

    Jul 31, 2014

    Slate

  • Terrorist Bombings

    TSA's Cellphone Rule Part of Deadly Race

    While placing explosives inside a cellphone is plausible, it is almost impossible to do so with iPhones without rendering them non-functional, which is why the TSA is now checking cell phones are actually working.

    Jul 29, 2014

    CNN

  • Global Security

    Iraq Makes Strange Bedfellows

    In seeking to quell the unrest in Iraq, the United States must balance its own interests with those of a diverse cast of players that includes Iraq, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, an unpredictable and violent jihadist front and others.

    Jul 15, 2014

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Iraq

    Further Observations on the Situation in Iraq

    It is difficult to see how the United States can favorably affect the situation in Iraq without making a costly and risky investment. But that does not mean doing nothing. An immediate objective is to contain the conflict.

    Jul 14, 2014

    The Hill

  • Iraq

    Iraq Observations

    Will the Obama administration be blamed for losing Iraq if it does not order military intervention? Or will history judge the president wise for keeping U.S. forces out of war? As Americans debate assisting Iraq, including the possibility of military intervention, here are 10 things to keep in mind.

    Jun 19, 2014

    The Hill

  • Terrorist Organizations

    The Risks of Rescue

    As appealing as a successful mission to rescue the 200 school girls held hostage by Boko Haram in Nigeria might appear, the use of U.S. military assets to mount a rescue attempt would be a mistake.

    Jun 13, 2014

    The Ripon Forum

  • Terrorism

    Nigeria's Inescapable Burden

    The historical record suggests that when many hostages are involved, rescues are bloody affairs. Early RAND research on hostage situations showed that of all the ways hostages may be killed—during the initial abduction, trying to escape, murdered by their captors or during the rescue—79 percent died during the rescue.

    May 19, 2014

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Transportation Security

    The Breach of Security at San Jose's Airport Raises Broader Issues

    Those charged with security must think in terms of 360-degree security—not only screening passengers coming through the terminal, but also preventing unauthorized access to the aircraft from the air operations side of airport.

    May 13, 2014

    Mineta Transportation Institute

  • Terrorist Organizations

    When Terrorists Kill Terrorists

    Battles between rival rebel groups and within terrorist organizations are not uncommon. Terrorists may compete with each other, sometimes in deadly battles, for the control of sources of financing. Some of the internal struggles are about who will lead.

    May 5, 2014

    The Hill

  • Al Qaida

    A Bigger, but Less Unified, al Qaeda

    In the long run, al Qaeda might be able to reel in its more unreliable offspring, assert more control, demand their obedience, and call upon their resources to assist in global operations. But without a stronger center, that possibility seems remote.

    Apr 25, 2014

    The Hill

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    After Boston, Beware DIY Attacks: Front & Center

    Orlando Sentinel editorial writer Darryl E. Owens interviewed Brian Michael Jenkins, senior adviser to the president of RAND. They discussed last year's Boston Marathon bombing and the current threat of terrorist acts in the United States.

    Apr 16, 2014

    Orlando Sentinel

  • Al Qaida

    Discord Among Terrorists

    Overall, divisions in Al Qaeda's ranks are good news for the United States. While the split will not end the jihadists' terrorist campaigns, it will preoccupy Al Qaeda's leaders and create uncertainty in its ranks.

    Feb 25, 2014

    The Mark News

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    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

    Insurance Journal

  • Counterterrorism

    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

    Inside Science

  • Security Cooperation

    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

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    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

    CNN

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    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

    Slate

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    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

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Syria

    Syria's Bloody Stalemate

    With little chance of a negotiated end to the fighting, the war in Syria is likely to drag on. And even if somehow the bloodshed were to end relatively soon, the war will leave a legacy of odium and thousands of fighters that will threaten the region and beyond far into the future.

    Jan 17, 2014

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Terrorist Bombings

    Why Did Terrorists Attack Volgograd?

    The Volgograd attacks have brought renewed world attention to the unresolved conflict in the turbulent Caucasus. The bombings no doubt have rattled Russian nerves. While Umarov's reputation among extremists will rise, President Putin's reputation as defender of Russia is at stake.

    Dec 31, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Syria

    Should the United States End Assistance to Syria's Rebels?

    The American investment in Syria thus far can be accurately described as timid and minimal. The United States can do more to assist the rebels without directly using American military power or sliding into a strategy of escalation.

    Dec 23, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Al Qaida

    Whither al Qaeda: A 'Tri-alogue' with Brian Michael Jenkins, Seth Jones, and Andrew Liepman

    Recent comments by key U.S. lawmakers have again raised the issue of where the United States is in its campaign against al Qaeda. This has left some to wonder if the terrorism threat is increasing and if Americans are not as safe as they were a year or two ago. Three senior RAND analysts offer their take.

    Dec 10, 2013

  • Transportation Security

    Want to Create Problems? Arm the TSA

    With its current 47,000 screeners, an armed TSA would become the federal government's largest armed entity outside of the military. In the eyes of many, arming TSA screeners would change the image of the organization from a service aimed at guaranteeing safe air travel to an unwanted imposition of federal authority.

    Nov 7, 2013

    Los Angeles Times

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Airport Violence—Not a New Phenomenon

    Shootings at airports are nothing new, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. In fact, they have regularly occurred worldwide in recent years. The motives have included terrorism, crime, and mental illness.

    Nov 2, 2013

    The RAND Blog

  • Counterterrorism

    How War on Terrorism Has Evolved

    Special operations to capture terrorists are more dangerous than drone strikes, and nimble terrorist adversaries will develop countermeasures to make them even more difficult. But they are politically more acceptable and offer opportunities for intelligence and the visible delivery of justice.

    Oct 24, 2013

    USA Today

  • Syria

    Syria As We Know It Is Gone

    Other than as a geographic expression, Syria has ceased to exist, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. With Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah support, Bashar Assad's forces, at the moment, appear to have gained the initiative over a fragmented rebel movement.

    Oct 16, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • International Diplomacy

    10 Reasons U.S. Influence Has Fallen in the Middle East

    By most assessments, U.S. influence in the Middle East has dramatically declined since the Arab uprisings began in January 2011. Critics have blamed this on inept diplomacy by the current administration, but this is only a partial explanation for America's loss of authority in the region.

    Sep 16, 2013

    Slate

  • Military Strategy

    Limited U.S. Military Strikes Do Not Unseat Dug-in Dictators

    Like the measured attacks that may soon strike Syrian targets, America's first military attacks on Serbia, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan were not aimed at regime change. Their purpose was to retaliate for attacks or coerce changes in policy.

    Sep 9, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Egypt

    What's Next for the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Some believe the Muslim Brotherhood should stay in the political game, adopting the role of loyal opposition. The Brotherhood would remain a minority party, but it could continue to hold offices, provide social assistance that the government does not, and demonstrate its continuing strength at the polls.

    Aug 26, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Al Qaida

    What Would al Qaeda's PowerPoints Say?

    Over the last 12 years, the campaign against al Qaeda has dominated U.S. policy. From this perspective, al Qaeda has been a beneficiary of the Arab uprisings in general and of recent events in Egypt and Syria in particular. The longer the turmoil continues, the greater al Qaeda's possible gains, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Aug 23, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    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

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Crowd-sourcing Our Security

    Involvement can transform members of the public from helpless bystanders into active participants in their own defense, thereby reducing fear and alarm, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 13, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Chemical Weapons and Warfare

    The Syrian Chemical Weapons Conundrum

    Dealing with chemical weapons in Syria is a complicated and dangerous task, but nowhere near the challenge of securing a nuclear arsenal in a country consumed by crisis, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 1, 2013

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Counterterrorism

    The Day After

    The risk of overreaching in the name of homeland security is great. But the best and most likely outcome of this latest attack would be a measured security response built around Americans engaging anew in their own security, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Apr 19, 2013

    Slate

  • Global Security

    When Armies Divide: Securing Nuclear Arsenals During Internal Upheavals

    With an army divided, any type of foreign intervention would be complex and fraught with extraordinary risk—success would be a long shot. But the loss of a nuclear weapon or fissile material would change the world.

    Apr 12, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Military Force Deployment

    The Invasion of Iraq: A Balance Sheet

    The costly removal of Saddam Hussein won no applause, earned no gratitude, established no reliable ally, and produced no lasting strategic benefit, says Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Mar 22, 2013

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Drug Policy and Trends

    Drug Cartels an X-Factor for Obama, Peña Nieto

    Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and President Obama both face daunting domestic challenges and have ambitious domestic agendas, but both presidents are savvy politicians who realize that each will benefit from the other's success, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Feb 20, 2013

    The Orange County Register

  • Counterterrorism

    What Does the Amenas Attack Mean for U.S. Policy in Africa?

    Coinciding with continuing, contentious hearings on the U.S. response to last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, the attack on the Amenas natural gas facility in Algeria has elevated a more general debate about the war on terrorism and U.S. policy in Africa, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 31, 2013

    The RAND Blog

  • Terrorist Organizations

    The Dynamics of the Hostage Situation at Amenas

    Looking at the turmoil in Libya following Qaddafi's removal; the overthrow of governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen; and Syria's ongoing civil war, it is easy to see why the Algerian government would view any manifestation of an Islamist resurgence as a threat that had to be promptly crushed, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 30, 2013

    The RAND Blog

  • Algeria

    The Motivations Behind the Amenas Terrorist Attack

    An attack of this complexity would have required months of reconnaissance, planning, recruiting of inside confederates, and training of participants. France's intervention in Mali was used to “justify” an attack that would likely have taken place anyway, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 29, 2013

    The RAND Blog

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    The al Qaeda Threat in North Africa

    Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Generations of Terrorism

    Whatever its eventual outcome, Syria's civil war has already produced thousands of experienced jihadists who will continue to threaten the region for years to come, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 13, 2012

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    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

    The RAND Blog

  • Mexico

    Will Mexico's New President Continue the War on the Cartels?

    During his campaign, Enrique Peña Nieto, the victorious PRI candidate, promised frightened and war-weary Mexicans a reduction in the violence, but since his election victory in July, he has sounded more and more bellicose, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Nov 16, 2012

    The RAND Blog

  • Transportation Security

    TSA Procedures Need to Be Remade from Scratch

    It is time for a new approach to meeting America's next-generation aviation security needs, one that dodges the influence of politics and bureaucracies and relies instead on the resources and objectivity of independent researchers operating from a clean slate, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 28, 2012

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Global Security

    Syrian Scenarios

    The most likely outcome, in my opinion, may be no outcome at all, but instead a civil war lasting years. The conflict has become an existential struggle for its participants—their survival is at stake, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Aug 8, 2012

    The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    An Assessment of the Current Terrorist Threat: A Resurgence of Iranian-Sponsored Terrorism

    The future threat posed by Iranian-sponsored terrorism will be contingent upon Iran's calculations of risk. The current shadow war could escalate further if Iran thinks military attack by either Israel or the United States is inevitable and imminent or, obviously, if hostilities begin.

    Jul 23, 2012

  • Terrorist Organizations

    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

    CATO Unbound

  • Counterterrorism

    A Final Word on the NDAA

    While I have no doubt of Levin's determination to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens, incremental adjustments and seemingly small compromises, each sensible under the circumstances, can have a cumulative effect that erodes the very liberty we are trying to protect, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 7, 2012

    Foreign Affairs

  • Counterterrorism

    Is the War on Terror Over? Not Yet.

    Over time, al Qaeda could just fade away. Always resilient, it may morph to survive. Developments on any of several fronts might even enable it to rise again. In a long contest, surprises must be expected, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 2, 2012

    National Journal

  • Counterterrorism

    The NDAA Makes It Harder to Fight Terrorism

    Much of the debate over this bill has focused on the political issue of executive authority versus rule of law. In doing so it has overlooked the indirect and insidious effects the new law may have on the United States' largely successful counterterrorist campaign, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Feb 1, 2012

    Foreign Affairs

  • Counterterrorism

    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

    The Washington Post

  • Transportation Security

    Is it Time to Consider a New Approach to Airline Security?

    It may be possible that the development and deployment of improved security technologies and reconfigurations of security checkpoints will keep security one step ahead of terrorist adversaries, but it also may be an appropriate time to explore fundamentally new approaches, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 1, 2011

    The Ripon Forum

  • Terrorist Organizations

    Osama a Wizard of Illusion and Rhetoric

    Bin Laden was chairman of the board, not CEO, using his moral authority to urge his tiny army forward, pointing out new ways to kill Americans, encouraging followers to think outside the typical terrorist playbook, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jun 1, 2011

    Providence Journal

  • Terrorist Organizations

    Al-Qaeda after bin Laden

    Wary of communicating with each other and with al Qaeda's field commands, al Qaeda central could become more isolated, more dependent on its affiliates, allied groups, and individual acolytes, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 12, 2011

    National Journal

  • Suicide Attack

    What Al Qaeda Is Thinking Now: Defanged, but Desperate to Show They're Still in the Fight

    There may be some spontaneous acts by individuals enraged by Bin Laden's death who are inspired to follow him into martyrdom. But these are the spasms of reaction, not planned retaliatory operations, and will not demonstrate that Al Qaeda can survive Bin Laden, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 4, 2011

    New York Daily News

  • Transportation Security

    Why Terrorists Attack Airports

    Attacks on airports give terrorists the symbolic value they seek and guarantee the attention of the international news media, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 25, 2011

    CNN

  • Nuclear Weapons and Warfare

    Book Review: 'Fallout' by Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz

    Anyone concerned about nuclear proliferation or interested in the world of espionage will want to read Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz's provocative new book, "Fallout: The True Story of the CIA's Secret War on Nuclear Trafficking," which tells a fascinating story whose characters come straight out of a spy novel, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 9, 2011

    Los Angeles Times

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Our Foes Cannot Destroy This Nation

    We have come through wars, depressions, natural and man-made disasters, indeed higher levels of domestic terrorist violence than that we face today, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 27, 2010

    NationalJournal.com

  • Denying Homegrown Terrorists the Glory

    How should the United States counter homegrown jihadist terrorism? With al Qaeda and its jihadist allies extolling recent terrorist exploits in the United States, we must anticipate further attacks by terrorists who have been recruited and radicalized here in this country, writes Brian Jenkins.

    Jun 24, 2010

    RAND.org and GlobalSecurity.org

  • 5 Reasons We're Safer From Terrorists

    Why aren't there more Times Square bombers? It is not a complaint, but a question that intrigues terrorism analysts. Why haven't more jihadist terrorist attacks been attempted in the United States since 9/11?, asks Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 12, 2010

    AOL News

  • Jihadist Threat Keeps Evolving

    The lesson of the Times Square attack is that the terrorist threat posed by the jihadist movement continues to evolve. It is today more decentralized, more dependent upon al Qaeda's affiliates, allies and individual acolytes to continue its global terrorist campaign, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 10, 2010

    NationalJournal.com

  • Al Qaida

    Al Qaeda Tipping Point? Still a Long Way to Go

    Although al Qaeda appears to be coming under pressure in some dimensions, I remain wary of calling a tipping point, and I am even more skeptical about the prospect of a knockout punch, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Apr 26, 2010

    NationalJournal.com

  • Transportation Security

    What We Can Learn from the Christmas Day Bombing Attempt

    President Obama's nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration said he would like U.S. airport screening to more closely resemble Israel's. Perhaps attention is turning to what really matters about the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253: what it can teach us about aviation security, write

    Mar 26, 2010

    The Washington Post

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Jihad Jane and the Risk of Domestic Terrorism

    The revelation of the arrest in October of Colleen Renee LaRose, who had adopted the pathetically predictable nom de guerre Jihad Jane, once again focuses national attention on homegrown terrorism. But while worrisome, this threat needs to be kept in perspective, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Mar 12, 2010

    AOL News

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    How Can We Keep Los Angeles Secure?

    High-ranking officials in Washington tell Americans that the threat from terrorists—principally self-radicalized homegrown terrorists—is high. Do terrorists pose a threat to Los Angeles? asks Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Mar 5, 2010

    LAmag.com

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    How a Decade of Terror Changed America

    Two foiled airliner bombings bracket a decade that changed the world's understanding of terrorism as a new form of global warfare and has had profound ramifications we are still coming to grips with in the U.S., writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 30, 2009

    AOL News

  • Military Force Deployment

    Afghanistan: A Marathon, Not a Prize Fight

    President Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan reflects a nation deeply divided on the war. There are compelling arguments on both sides, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 1, 2009

    RAND.org

  • Security Cooperation

    How Russia Can and Can't Help Obama

    In hindsight, KGB analysts and Soviet officials were extraordinarily prescient about the perils of Islamist terrorism and the fallout from the Afghan jihad. But could Russia, for all its faults and foibles, be a more valuable counterterrorism partner today, asks Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Aug 26, 2009

    Foreign Policy

  • Maritime Piracy

    Who Has the Will to Fight Piracy?

    The recent French and American rescues of hostages held by pirates off the coast of Somalia were necessary and proper. No one believes these actions will end piracy. But unless we impose risks on the pirates--which means taking some risks ourselves--piracy will certainly flourish, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Apr 21, 2009

    GlobalSecurity.org

  • Counterterrorism

    The Torture Debate, Redux

    Former Vice President Cheney has been insisting again that the coercive interrogation techniques used against terrorism detainees after 9/11 prevented attacks on the United States.... His assertions merit more careful examination, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Apr 1, 2009

    GlobalSecurity.org

  • Mexico

    Could Mexico Fail?

    The lawlessness along the mexicanborder has gone way beyond alocal crime wave: there has beena dramatic increase in armed robberies, not by lone gunmen but by heavily armed gangs. Kidnappings and homicides are way up—and not just murders but beheadings.... It is starting to look like a terrorist campaign, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Feb 13, 2009

    Homeland Security Today

  • Iraq

    The Obama Withdrawal From Iraq: How Fast?

    The debate over withdrawal of American forces from Iraq has effectively ended: Troops will begin withdrawing in early 2009.... What is not yet entirely clear is what type of residual American force may remain in Iraq, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 16, 2008

    NationalJournal.com

  • Terrorism Threat Assessment

    Mumbai's Terrifying Logic

    We tend to describe terrorism as senseless violence, but it seldom is. If we look at the attacks from the attackers' perspective, we can discern a certain strategic logic, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 9, 2008

    United Press International

  • How Will Obama First Be Tested?

    Vice President-elect Biden was on solid historical ground. He was not implying that there is a band of bad guys hiding in some cellar conjuring up a crisis specifically to take on Obama. It is simply that, many new American presidents have confronted major foreign policy crises within their first year in office, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 8, 2008

    NationalJournal.com

  • Threat Assessment

    Obama's First International Crisis

    When Sen. Joe Biden observed during the presidential campaign that a new President Barack Obama

    Nov 16, 2008

    The San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Nuclear Deterrence

    Georgia Dispute Derails Bid to Stop Nuke Terrorism

    Given American concerns about nuclear proliferation and the possibility of nuclear terrorism, tying U.S.-Russian cooperation in the nuclear domain with the current Russia-Georgia quarrel may amount to shooting ourselves in the foot in a misguided attempt to punish Russia, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Oct 6, 2008

    Providence Journal

  • Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?

    America is uniquely susceptible to nuclear terror. Beneath our characteristic national optimism lie seams of anxiety, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 12, 2008

    United Press International

  • Nuclear Terrorism

    A Nuclear 9/11?

    Will terrorists go nuclear? It is a question that worried public officials and frightened citizens have been asking for decades. It is no less of a worry today, as we ponder the seventh anniversary of 9/11, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 12, 2008

    CNN.com

  • Middle East

    A New Tact on Iraq

    American troops are likely to be needed in Iraq for years to come. Few insurgencies end in less than 10 years, and the conflict in Iraq is an especially complex mixture of guerrilla warfare, sectarian violence and virulent organized crime, writes Brian Michael Jenkins in a commentary appearing in Washingtonpost.com.

    Aug 25, 2007

    Washingtonpost.com

  • Combating Radicalization

    Nothing is more important in the global war on terrorism than reducing the production of new terrorists, writes Brian Michael Jenkins in a commentary appearing in United Press International.

    Aug 23, 2007

    United Press International

  • Nuclear Terror: How Real?

    Nuclear Terror: How Real? in Washington Times

    May 13, 2007

    Washington Times

  • Not Every Tragedy Has a Solution

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Not Every Tragedy Has a Solution, in Washingtonpost.com.

    Apr 18, 2007

    Washingtonpost.com

  • Old Front Against Terrorism

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Old Front Against Terrorism, in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Jan 14, 2007

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Terror War Uncertainties

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Terror War Uncertainties, in United Press International.

    Oct 6, 2006

    United Press International

  • State of Terrorism Address: What Would Osama Bin Laden Say to Jihadists Five Years Later?

    Published commentary by RAND staff: State of Terrorism Address: What Would Osama Bin Laden Say to Jihadists Five Years Later?, in the Los Angeles Times.

    Sep 11, 2006

    Los Angeles Times

  • Safer, But Not Safe

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Safer, But Not Safe, in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Sep 10, 2006

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • The Threat of Oil Jihad

    Published commentary by RAND staff: The Threat of Oil Jihad, in United Press International.

    Mar 3, 2006

    United Press International

  • Lessons for Intelligence in the Campaign Against al Qaeda

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Lessons for Intelligence in the Campaign Against al Qaeda, in Vanguard magazine.

    Mar 2, 2006

    Vanguard

  • Just Starting: The War Against Terror

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Just Starting: The War Against Terror, in Newsday.

    Jan 25, 2006

    Newsday

  • Misjudging The Jihad: Briefing Osama on All the War's Wins and Losses

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Misjudging The Jihad: Briefing Osama on All the War's Wins and Losses in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Nov 13, 2005

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • Terror in Historical Context

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Prepare for Disaster in the United Press International.

    Oct 28, 2005

    United Press International

  • Let Sgt. Friday Fight Terror

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Let Sgt. Friday Fight Terror in the Los Angeles Times.

    Sep 25, 2005

    Los Angeles Times

  • Democracy's Defense: Values and Justice

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Democracy's Defense: Values and Justice in the Baltimore Sun.

    Sep 11, 2005

    Baltimore Sun

  • Four Years After 9/11, War on Terror Slogs On

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Four Years After 9/11, War on Terror Slogs On in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Sep 11, 2005

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Selecting for Security

    The recent decision to conduct random searches of backpacks and packages carried by passengers on New York and Boston subways, commuter trains, and buses has provoked controversy. Americans want better security, but remain wary about how it is provided.

    Jul 26, 2005

    Newsday

  • The Lessons of London

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 17, 2005

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Strategy: Political Warfare Neglected

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jun 26, 2005

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Can the Iraq Beast Be Tamed?

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    May 18, 2005

    Boston Globe

  • The Men Who Pursued Paradise in Destruction

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    May 15, 2005

    Los Angeles Times

  • Kidnappings in Iraq Strategically Effective

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Apr 29, 2005

    Chicago Tribune

  • Bin Laden and His Special Effects

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Feb 4, 2005

    Chicago Tribune

  • Iraq: Not Terrorist Central

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jan 30, 2005

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • Semantics are Strategic in the War on Terror

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 30, 2004

    The Globe and Mail

  • Counterterrorism

    The Four Defensive Measures Against Terrorism

    Today's terrorists kill in quantity and kill indiscriminately. Preparedness requires improving intelligence, increasing security, developing effective response capabilities, and community involvement.

    Sep 24, 2004

    24 Chasa

  • The View from Ground Zero: Is America Safer?

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 12, 2004

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Looking for 'High Noon' in a Hundred Years' War

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Aug 22, 2004

    San Diego Union Tribune

  • World Becomes the Hostage of Media-Savvy Terrorists

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Aug 22, 2004

    USA Today

  • Don't Move Too Fast on Intelligence Reform

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Aug 17, 2004

    The Hill

  • Trains, Buses and Terror

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    May 3, 2004

    The Mercury News

  • Bin Laden May Be Fishing for Allies on Europe's Secular Left

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Apr 25, 2004

    Los Angeles Times

  • Does Terrorism Work?

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Mar 21, 2004

    The Mercury News

  • 'Axis of Evil' Versus 'Chain of Evil'

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Feb 1, 2004

    Los Angeles Times

  • From 'White' Christmas to 'Orange' Christmas

    From 'white' Christmas to 'orange' Christmas

    Dec 25, 2003

    San Diego Union Tribune

  • Killing bin Laden, et al, Is No Help

    Today's emblem of terror is Osama bin Laden. If bin Laden were a fictional villain created by Hollywood, his death or capture would end the reign of terror he has visited upon the world. Al-Qaida would fold its tent. The violent jihad that bin Laden has endeavored to inspire and direct would fade away. And, as a result, the world would return to quieter and less threatening times.

    Dec 3, 2003

    Newsday

  • Breach of Airline Security Is Nothing to Panic About

    The arrest of Nathaniel T. Heatwole on charges of smuggling box cutters, bleach and matches aboard two commercial airliners reminds us that, despite significant improvements since Sept. 11, our security systems are not perfect. They never will be.

    Oct 21, 2003

    Los Angeles Times

  • Connect the Cops to Connect the Dots

    commentaries by RAND Staff: insightful commentaries on current events, published in newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide.

    Jun 1, 2003

    The San Diego Union Tribune

  • All Citizens Now First Responders

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Mar 24, 2003

    USA Today

  • What If We Don't Attack Iraq?

    So-called allies have denounced U.S. plans to fight Saddam Hussein. Brian Michael Jenkins says they might not like the consequences of our inaction, either.

    Mar 16, 2003

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • Countering al-Qaeda: The Next Phase in the War

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 8, 2002

    San Diego Union Tribune

  • Fliers Have Reason to Jettison Jitters

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 3, 2002

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Put Brains Behind Airway Safety

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 30, 2002

    New York Daily News

  • Get Used to It: Our Airports Are Vulnerable to Terrorism

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 25, 2002

    Los Angeles Times

  • Face Terror with Better Spying, Not Moats of Fear

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 10, 2002

    Los Angeles Times

  • Safeguarding the Skies

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 30, 2001

    San Diego Union Tribune

  • This Time It Is Different

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 16, 2001

    San Diego Union Tribune

  • A Confounding, Complex Tragedy

    Without external assistance, Colombia cannot defeat the guerrilla-gangster Minotaur that consumes it. It is in our national interest to help. At the same time, it is necessary that we fully comprehend the harsh realities we and our Colombian allies face.

    Jun 17, 2001

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Disloyalty Feeds on Cash, Flesh and Thrills

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Feb 22, 2001

    Los Angeles Times

  • Terrorist Trials Serve U.S. Strategy

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jan 7, 2001

    Los Angeles Times

Publications