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.

  • 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.

  • A man holds an assault rifle as Proud Boys gather  in support of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse and Aaron 'Jay' Danielson in Portland, Oregon, September 26, 2020, photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Muddy the Objectives on Fighting Domestic Extremism

    Apr 7, 2021

    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.

Explore Domestic Terrorism

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

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

    On July 26, 2010, RAND experts discussed the military, political, fiscal, social, cultural, psychological, and moral implications of U.S. policymaking since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Jul 26, 2011

  • Report

    RAND Book Provides Critical Review of U.S. Actions Since 9/11; Recommends Future Anti-Terror Path

    A new collection of essays by experts from the RAND Corporation examines America in the decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, focusing a critical eye on the nation's actions since the attacks and outlining changes in strategy needed to improve efforts against jihadist groups.

    Jul 26, 2011

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    How Police Departments' Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Has Affected Their Capacity to Fight Crime

    In this July 2011 Congressional Briefing, Lois Davis discusses adjustments made by law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counterterrorism and homeland security capabilities, and the new funding challenges faced by police departments since 9/11.

    Jul 20, 2011

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Building Community Resilience to Disasters: A Roadmap to Guide Local Planning

    Examines ways in which communities can improve their ability to withstand and recover from adversity.

    Feb 22, 2011

  • disaster survivors show resilience

    Report

    Building Community Resilience to Disasters

    Communities can build resilience to disasters through efforts such as joint planning of government and non-governmental organizations and the development of community networks.

    Feb 22, 2011

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    The Tenth Year: A Briefing on Terrorism Issues to New Members of the 112th Congress

    The U.S. effort to defeat and dismantle the global terrorism network while protecting itself against further attacks has become its longest campaign. On January 8, 2011, Brian Michael Jenkins briefed newly elected members of Congress on a spectrum of foreign policy, national security, and domestic issues, with a particular focus on domestic terrorism prevention and transportation security in the post-9/11 era.

    Feb 3, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Local Law Enforcement's Counterterrorism Initiatives Have Evolved into All-Hazards Strategies

    Law enforcement agencies in areas where terrorist threats are considered to be high have expanded their focus beyond traditional crime prevention and investigation to include counterterrorism and homeland security operations.

    Oct 1, 2010

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Building on Clues: Examining Successes and Failures in Detecting U.S. Terrorist Plots, 1999-2009

    This report examines open-source material on 86 foiled and executed terrorist plots against U.S. targets from 1999 to 2009 to determine the types of information and activities that led to (or could have led to) their discovery.

    Oct 1, 2010

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Before Disaster Strikes: Imperatives for Enhancing Defense Support of Civil Authorities

    The report of the "Advisory Panel on Department of Defense Capabilities for Support of Civil Authorities After Certain Incidents" provides more than 40 recommendations about how the nation can overcome obstacles that complicate the nation's ability to respond effectively to CBRNE incidents.

    Sep 1, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    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

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Below The Radar

    RAND senior political scientist Peter Chalk discusses the string of recent arrests involving American citizens in terror plots against the U.S., which highlight what appears to be a trend in transnational Islamist terrorism: growing domestic radicalization.

    Apr 12, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Bridging the Gap: Developing a Tool to Support Local Civilian and Military Disaster Preparedness

    This report describes the current policy context for domestic all-hazards risk-informed capabilities-based planning by local military and civilian authorities and provides a framework for a local planning support tool for their use.

    Apr 12, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Below the Radar

    The string of recent arrests involving American citizens in terror plots against the U.S. have highlighted what appears to be a trend in transnational Islamist terrorism: growing domestic radicalization, writes Peter Chalk.

    Mar 18, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    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

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    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, and if so, what should ordinary citizens do? asks Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Mar 5, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    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

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    Going Jihad: The Fort Hood Slayings and Home-Grown Terrorism

    In testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Brian Michael Jenkins assesses the tragic and disquieting events at Fort Hood in the context of terrorist violence in the U.S. and the Muslim American community .

    Nov 17, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    The Challenge of Domestic Intelligence in a Free Society

    Whether U.S. terrorism-prevention efforts match the threat continues to be central in policy debate. Part of this debate is whether the United States needs a dedicated domestic counterterrorism intelligence agency. To inform future policy decisionmaking, this book examines, from a variety of perspectives, the policy proposal that such an agency be created.

    Jan 19, 2009

  • News Release

    News Release

    Should the United States Establish a Dedicated Domestic Intelligence Agency for Counterterrorism?

    One lesson of 9/11 is that the signs of the attack were not assembled into a warning that might have made it possible to prevent the disaster. In the wake of that failure, one question on the U.S. agenda is whether the country needs a dedicated domestic intelligence agency – separate from law enforcement – to address the U.S. terrorist threat.

    Oct 22, 2008

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Should the United States Establish a Dedicated Domestic Intelligence Agency for Counterterrorism?

    This research brief discusses the pros and cons of creating a new domestic intelligence agency, separate from law enforcement, to address the threat of terrorism and describes a technique called break-even analysis that can help inform the debate.

    Aug 21, 2008