DHS renews support for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
With $3.6 million in new federal funding, researchers at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (http://www.start.umd.edu/) (START), based at the University of Maryland, will continue to expand the scientific understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism, specifically addressing crucial homeland security issues, such as terrorist behavior, violent extremism and counterterrorism.
Funding for the new round of research comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0530.shtm), which has renewed START's status as a DHS Center of Excellence, and continued funding support for the next five years. The first installment of the award provides $3.6 million for the center's next 18 months.
Based at the University of Maryland, START researchers from more than 40 institutions worldwide will use the new grant to: explore the social, behavioral and cultural factors that influence violent extremism, including political, financial and religious causes; examine the emergence and operations of domestic terrorists and how they interact with law enforcement strategies, community initiatives and government policies; collect and code terrorist data so that it can be incorporated into behavioral models that can be used in homeland security decision making.
"START is delighted to have this opportunity to continue supplying timely, objective information on the human characteristics of terrorism and its impact on communities to decision makers and policy experts," says Gary LaFree, director of START and professor of criminology at the University of Maryland.
PLANNED RESEARCH INCLUDES:
VIOLENT EXTREMISM -- SOCIAL, BEHAVIORAL, AND CULTURAL FACTORS Analyzing terrorist attacks, groups and ideologies to identify the characteristics, structural compositions and individual roles in launching attacks; Examining the effectiveness of efforts to delegitimize the justifications an individual has for engaging in terrorist activities; Assessing the impact of Internet communications on a terrorist group's ability to convey ideology and recruit; and Gauging how society, family and friends affect and respond to the process of becoming a violent extremist.
DOMESTIC TERRORISTS -- EMERGENCE, OPERATIONS AND INTERACTIONS Identifying conditions and attacks associated with homegrown terrorism and determining the process by which right-wing extremists turn to violence; Surveying minority group attitudes towards U.S. policies and terrorist activities; Compiling a database of federal counterterrorism initiatives; and Comparing failed, foiled and successfully executed terrorist attacks to demonstrate components of counterterrorism efforts that have been successful and to identify opportunities for prevention.
COLLECTING, CODING AND USING DATA TO INFORM DECISIONS