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.

  • 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

    Dec 2, 2021

    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?

  • 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

    Oct 5, 2021

    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.

Explore Domestic Terrorism

  • 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

  • Report

    Report

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

    In the wake of 9/11, Congress directed the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate whether the U.S. needs a dedicated domestic intelligence agency, separate from law enforcement, to deter terrorism. DHS asked RAND not to offer specific recommendations, but to make clear what should be considered in the creation of such an agency.

    Aug 11, 2008

  • News Release

    News Release

    Taxpayers, Policyholders Benefit from Terrorism Risk Insurance Program

    Taxpayers save money and businesses are better protected with the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in place than if the act is allowed to expire.

    Oct 10, 2007

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Study Says Hurricane Katrina Response Shows Need to Tailor Some National Guard Units for Disaster Work

    The U.S. Army should change the way it plans for domestic emergencies — both natural disasters and terrorist attacks — to better support state and local first responders, according to a RAND Corporation report issued today.

    Jun 4, 2007

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Not Every Tragedy Has a Solution

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

    Apr 18, 2007

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Report Shows Little Evidence of a Coherent al Qaeda Strategy for U.S. Attack

    February 28, 2007 News Release: RAND Report Shows Little Evidence of a Coherent al Qaeda Strategy for U.S. Attack.

    Feb 28, 2007

  • Report

    Report

    Little Evidence of a Coherent al Qaeda Strategy for U.S. Attack

    Although al Qaeda succeeded in attacking the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, subsequent terrorist strikes have been outside the United States. There is little consistent evidence that al Qaeda has a specific strategic plan for attacking targets within the U.S.

    Feb 13, 2007

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Study Identifies Ways Shopping Centers Can Sharply Reduce Terrorism Risk

    February 12, 2007 News Release: RAND Study Identifies Ways Shopping Centers Can Sharply Reduce Terrorism Risk.

    Feb 12, 2007