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.

  • Report

    How to Approach the Situation of ISIS Prisoners in Syria

    Prisons holding former ISIS fighters in Syria pose security threats and don't meet international standards. Prisoners, including youth, remain in legal limbo with no internationally agreed-on justice procedures. What courses of action and policy directions could help?

    Aug 9, 2023

  • Commentary

    How to Put RAND Findings on Veteran Support for Extremism in Context

    A RAND survey found that U.S. veterans appeared to support extremist groups at a rate lower than the general population. In contrast, a new University of Maryland study found that veteran status was the most prominent characteristic among extremists involved in terrorism attacks with four or more victims.

    Sep 11, 2023

Explore Terrorism

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • US Army Soldier in Universal Camouflage Uniform

    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

    Commentary

    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

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    The Origin and Evolution of the RAND Corporation's Terrorism Databases: Defining and Building a New Field of Knowledge

    Two pioneers in terrorism research recount their experiences, challenges, achievements, and lessons learned, exploring the evolution of databases about terrorist incidents, groups, individual attributes, and mindsets, with eyes on what might be next.

    Nov 30, 2021

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    News Manipulation, the Risk of Civil War, Russia and Ukraine: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on tracking news manipulation during the pandemic, the threat of another civil war, preventing health insurance loss, and more.

    Nov 19, 2021

  • A cyclist rides along fencing surrounding the U.S. Capitol that was erected in the wake of the January 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., July 8, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    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

  • 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

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    North Korea, Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military, America's Labor Shortage: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on dealing with a nuclear North Korea, preventing sexual violence in the military, supporting immigrant children in U.S. schools, and more.

    Nov 5, 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

  • Paramilitary soldiers walk past the Pakistan Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 10, 2015, photo by Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

    Commentary

    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

  • Report

    Report

    Translational Impacts of World Trade Center Health Program Research: A Mixed Methods Study

    In this report, the authors describe the findings and recommendations of a four-year study of the World Trade Center Health Program's research portfolio and its translational impact. Recommendations are designed to help guide Program planning.

    Oct 26, 2021

  • 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?

    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.

    Oct 25, 2021

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    China and Russia, Wages and Insurance, Refugees and Technology : RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China-Russia ties, considerations when raising the minimum wage, how refugees use digital devices, and more.

    Oct 15, 2021

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Four-Day School Weeks, Domestic Terrorism, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the trade-offs of a four-day school week, how to counter domestic violent extremism, racial disparities in who is convicted of more-serious speeding charges, and more.

    Oct 8, 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