Counterterrorism

Featured

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.

  • Marines with Combat Marksmanship Coaches Reserve conduct the new Annual Rifle Qualification at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, September 21, 2021, photo by Lance Cpl. Samwel Tabancay/U.S. Marine Corps

    Report

    How Could the U.S. Military Counter Extremism in Its Ranks?

    Oct 25, 2021

    The U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 drew attention to the involvement of current and former service members in extremist groups. There are some terrorism prevention programs in the civilian sector that might help the Department of Defense address the issue.

  • Protesters gather during the Indiana Stop Asian Hate Rally on Monument Circle in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 27, 2021, photo by USA Today Network via Reuters

    Research Brief

    What Former Extremists and Their Families Say About Radicalization in America

    Jun 25, 2021

    Violent extremism is an evolving, ongoing threat in the United States. Interviews with former extremists—and their families and friends—offer insights into how individuals become radicalized, how they leave extremist groups, and what communities can do to stop the growth of extremism in their area.

Explore Counterterrorism

  • Multimedia

    RAND Video Highlights of 2021

    The best RAND videos from the past year brought our research to life in new ways. From the sidewalks of Pittsburgh to preschools in the Middle East, see how people around the world are using RAND research to make their communities safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.

    Dec 20, 2021

  • View of Pakistan and Taliban flags at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, August 27, 2021, photo by Saeed Ali Achakzai/Reuters

    Commentary

    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

  • Barbed wire and protective fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol, as the sun sets in Washington, February 21, 2021, photo by Al Drago/Reuters

    Multimedia

    RAND Remote: America's Response to Terrorism

    In this RAND Remote conversation, Brian Michael Jenkins, senior adviser to the RAND president, and senior behavioral scientist Rajeev Ramchand discuss how the terrorism threat to America has changed over the past 20 years.

    Dec 16, 2021

  • Multimedia

    Combating Extremism in the U.S. Military

    RAND military sociologist Marek N. Posard describes the threat of extremism in the U.S. military, the ways in which extremism develops, and strategies the military could use to combat extremism.

    Dec 9, 2021

  • A woman with a smartphone is seen in front of social media logos, May 25, 2021, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Report

    Understanding the Online Extremist Ecosystem

    By the early 2010s, it was clear that the internet provided white supremacists and other extremists a tool to operationalize their hateful ideas and cause real-world harms. How can the average user understand their risk of exposure to extremist content and make informed decisions about the platforms they use?

    Dec 2, 2021

  • A member of the local Explosives and Ordnance Division wearing a specialized suit tries to install a water diffuser to an improvised explosive device during a bomb drill in a high school courtyard in Manila, Philippines, July 14, 2017, photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

    Commentary

    Defining 'Terrorism' Is the First Step to Defeating It

    Western policy- and decisionmakers continue to grapple with how to define acts of terrorism and when it is appropriate to bring terrorism charges. Establishing a consensus on the definition of terrorism and bringing to center stage the importance of adequately charging acts of terrorism could be more important than ever.

    Nov 8, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Classifying acts of violence: Understanding how acts of violence are classified by subject matter experts

    RAND Europe was commissioned to conduct a study on how acts of violence are classified by different subject matter experts. The findings demonstrate ongoing difficulties in classifying acts of violence and inform recommendations for policymakers.

    Oct 27, 2021

  • Trump supporters battle with police at the west entrance of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021, photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters

    Commentary

    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

  • U.S. soldiers gather as the sun sets at Camp Williams, Utah, April 16, 2021, photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Institutions May Be Key to Countering Extremism in the Military

    Extremism is a symptom of broader social and political headwinds within civilian society. By using existing support programs, military leaders may be able to effectively confront these headwinds early and channel them in productive ways that ultimately preserve the effectiveness and readiness of the U.S. military.

    Oct 4, 2021

  • Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division prepare to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 30th, 2021, photo by U.S. Army via Reuters

    Blog

    Panel Discusses Biden Strategy of Diplomacy as Tool of First Resort in the Middle East

    A distinguished panel of Middle East and national security experts expressed concerns about potential side effects of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on U.S. Middle East policy and encouraged the Biden administration to proactively engage allies in the future.

    Oct 1, 2021

  • Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 16, 2021, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

    Beijing and Islamabad share a long history of cooperation and have much in common on Afghanistan. Both are poised to benefit strategically from the Taliban's success. But the Taliban's resurrection almost certainly will add some stress to an otherwise positive and productive bilateral partnership.

    Sep 21, 2021

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with Russian Olympic athletes at the Moscow Kremlin in run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, June 30, 2021, photo by Sergei Bobylev/Reuters

    Journal Article

    Can a Pragmatic Relationship With the Taliban Help Russia Counter Terrorism?

    Neither the United States nor Russia wants to see Afghanistan become a haven for international terrorist groups. For now, Russia is taking a pragmatic approach to the Taliban in that it has a relationship with the group that the United States does not.

    Sep 8, 2021

  • The east front of the U.S. Capitol seen through a shattered door on January 7, 2021, the day after the riot, photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

    Essay

    Violent Extremism in America: Pathways to Deradicalization

    Ideologically inspired violence is a serious threat to U.S. national security. Research on effective strategies to fight it has often failed to engage the people who might know best: those who have lived that life and left it behind. Researchers partnered with antiextremism support groups to change that.

    Sep 8, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    A Review of Public Data About Terrorism and Targeted Violence to Meet U.S. Department of Homeland Security Mission Needs

    Researchers reviewed U.S. Department of Homeland Security data needs for countering terrorism and targeted violence and assessed the alignment between those needs and available resources. This report documents their findings and recommendations.

    Sep 2, 2021

  • Fort Leonard Wood senior leaders take part in training as part of the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence extremism stand-down in March 2021, photo by Tiffany Wood/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Help, Not Just Hunt, Violent Extremists in the Military

    The Pentagon is working to rid itself of violent extremist members. In addition to strengthening the chain of command to detect and remove extremist members from its ranks, the military could also empower military family members to intervene.

    Aug 5, 2021

  • Violent Extremism in America: Can it be Stopped?

    Multimedia

    Violent Extremism in America: Can It Be Stopped?

    Co-authors of the RAND report, Violent Extremism in America, discuss the findings from their interviews with former members of radical organizations.

    Jul 7, 2021

  • A man in a subway tunnel wearing gloves and a hoodie, looking at a mobile phone. Photo by Lorado / Getty Images

    Multimedia

    Exiting Extremism: What Binds People to Extremist Groups and How Organizations Help Them Leave

    What leads people to join violent extremist groups? How and why do they exit these groups and stop believing in radical ideologies? This one-hour webinar explores the forces that pull individuals to extremist groups, the binds that keep them connected, and why leaving can be so difficult.

    Jun 18, 2021

  • A U.S. Army reenlistment ceremony held at Baghdad's Cross Sabers

    Report

    Securing Gains in Fragile States: Using U.S. Leverage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond

    This report evaluates U.S. options for stabilizing conflict-affected states by incentivizing governance reforms through military and development assistance in the context of U.S. military interventions.

    Jun 15, 2021