Over a year ago, the DHS announced that it had selected a consortium of universities, led by University of Maryland, to develop the DHS Center of Excellence for Behavioral and Social Research on Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism. The CoE, or the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START) as it is now known, now has more than 30 individual projects in three broad subject groups:
- Terrorist Group Formation and Recruitment
- Terrorist Group Persistence and Dynamics
- Societal Responses to Terrorist Threats and Attacks
The links above take you to lists of projects, and if you explore the START site more fully you’ll uncover several papers for download and other information about the START consortium and its work.
Meanwhile, on 25 May, Penn State University proudly announced the launch of “a unique research center dedicated to reducing the global threat of terrorism and minimizing its impact on society”. Unique? I think that might be a bit strong. In fact, when you look at their proposed areas of study, they look rather similar to START’s agenda:
The International Center for the Study of Terrorism (ICST) brings together experts from both sides of the Atlantic and from other countries to investigate the root causes of this worldwide phenomenon, understand its long-term effects on society and identify new ways of safeguarding individuals, organizations and communities.
How do terrorist groups draw in and socialize new members? How can terrorists’ confidence in their leaders be undermined? How can diffused terrorist networks be disrupted? How can the behavioral patterns and physical characteristics of suicide bombers be detected before they reach their target? Does the nature of the media’s coverage of terrorism have an impact on radicalization?
Whilst you’re waiting for ICST’s first event (“to bring together experts from around the world to assess how much is known about the psychology of terrorism and to define what needs to be done to raise the global level of awareness”), you might be interested in a START Research Symposium on Wednesday, June 28 in Maryland:
Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism: A Panel Discussion
- Panel 1: Understanding Terrorist Behavior
- Panel 2: Community Resilience: Lessons from Katrina and Beyond