Terrorism

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From the Munich Olympics to 9/11 to worldwide bombings and mass shootings, terrorism is by no means a localized or recent phenomenon. Efforts to both catalog and counter terrorism, both in the United States and abroad, have been a key focus of RAND research since the early 1970s.

  • 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

    Sep 8, 2021

    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.

  • 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?

Explore Terrorism

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    State Targeted Violence Prevention: Programming & Key Performance Indicators

    This resource is a guide for U.S. state governments as they seek to implement comprehensive targeted violence prevention (TVP) programming and evaluate its implementation, outcomes, and impact.

    May 18, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Road to Damascus: The Russian Air Campaign in Syria, 2015 to 2018

    The authors review the chronology of Russian air operations in Syria, and assess the strategic and operational blueprint, basing strategy and force disposition, effectiveness of the Russian air campaign, and its applicability to future campaigns.

    May 11, 2022

  • Man thinking at his laptop, photo by Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

    Essay

    How to Avoid Extremism on Social Media

    Extremist groups have been trolling the internet for decades, and they have learned to temper their words and disguise their intentions. A new scorecard can help users—or parents, or advertisers, or the social media companies themselves—understand when they might be interacting with extremist content.

    May 3, 2022

  • The U.S. Capitol at sunset on the eve of the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the building, in Washington, January 5, 2022, photo by Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

    Testimony

    Extremist Use of Online Spaces

    Extremist content can be found on all corners of the internet. How do the characteristics of online spaces contribute to individual radicalization? And how may the internet have helped foster conditions that contributed to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol?

    Apr 27, 2022

  • Multimedia

    Current Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy in the Middle East

    The RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) hosted a roundtable conversation featuring former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ambassador (ret.) Ryan Crocker, Former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman, Esq., and CMEPP Director Linda Robinson. These panelists explored the challenges and opportunities for U.S. policy in the Middle East 20 years after 9/11.

    Apr 22, 2022

  • Illustration of online extremists by Jessica Arana/RAND Corporation from Sean Rayford/Alamy; dem10/Getty Images; sestovic/Getty Images; Dilok Klaisataporn/Getty Images; Comstock/Getty Images

    Report

    How Extremism Operates Online

    Extremist groups use internet-based tools for financing, networking and coordination, recruitment and radicalization, inter- and intra-group knowledge transfer, and mobilization to action. How do internet users engage with these efforts? And can the internet be leveraged to counter extremism?

    Apr 12, 2022

  • News Release

    News Release

    Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Raqqa, Syria, in 2017 Were Considerable but Insufficient

    U.S. strategic choices in the battle to liberate Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS in 2017 likely increased civilian harm despite considerable efforts to avoid civilian casualties by both U.S. and coalition forces.

    Mar 31, 2022

  • The destruction on Al-Qouatli street in Raqqa, Syria, photo by Abood Hamam

    Report

    Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Raqqa Were Considerable but Insufficient

    The 2017 battle to liberate Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS is a cautionary tale in 21st-century conflicts. U.S. strategic choices likely increased civilian harm despite considerable efforts to avoid civilian casualties by both U.S. and coalition forces. What lessons can be applied to future operations?

    Mar 31, 2022

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: March-April 2022

    The cover story describes a yearlong study of a group of military veterans experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Other features examine the global digital skills gap and the magnitude and sources of disagreement among gun policy experts.

    Mar 10, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    It's Getting Harder to Do: Countering Terrorist Use of the Internet

    Terrorists continue to use the Internet to plan, train, recruit, and execute terrorist attacks. This book chapter examines how terrorist Internet use has changed over time and new social media platforms make terrorism investigations harder to do.

    Mar 9, 2022

  • Terrorist photos on top of an illustration of data clusters, photos by DPA Picture Alliance and Sean Rayford/Alamy; background by Astibuag/Adobe Stock

    Blog

    Terrorism Research: How RAND Defined and Built a New Field of Knowledge

    In the early 1970s, amid a worldwide rash of bombings, hijackings, and hostage-takings, RAND researchers began creating the first international database of terrorist incidents. Maintained until 2009, it chronicles more than 40,000 terrorist attacks since 1968.

    Mar 9, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Executive Summary of the Study Into Measures to Prevent Terrorist Attacks with Vehicles and Mitigate the Impacts Thereof

    This study examines the measures to prevent terrorist attacks with vehicles to improve the evidence on attacks that have occurred since 2013 and understand what measures could be employed to prevent or mitigate such attacks in the future.

    Mar 8, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Atomization of Political Violence

    The conclusion that terrorism is likely to persist at low levels does not preclude large-scale attacks. The present tumultuous state of the world and growing domestic extremism could produce dramatic changes in the future trajectory of political violence.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Scenarios of Transnational Islamist Terrorism. Trends and Developments: A Fact-Based Threat Assessment

    Some scholars have speculated that the current religious wave of terrorism, epitomized by the global jihadist movement, might finally be starting to ebb. But the movement could very well roar back to life.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    Spotlight 2021–2022

    Spotlight 2021-2022 highlights selected RAND Europe projects that address the important issues of our time. It also features research that is poised to make a difference in the coming year.

    Feb 23, 2022

  • Blog

    RAND Commentary Highlights of 2021

    Vaccine rollouts, an attack on the U.S. Capitol, massive ransomware attacks, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, record numbers of job openings and people quitting, and more. RAND researchers weighed in on all these topics and more.

    Dec 21, 2021

  • 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