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 Presented to the ODNI Special Security Division Research Program.

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Presentation on theme: " Presented to the ODNI Special Security Division Research Program."— Presentation transcript:

1  Presented to the ODNI Special Security Division Research Program

2  Introduction  Violent Groups in the United States  Research & Findings on Violent Groups at Home  Data for Analysis  A Potential Research Agenda o Intelligence in Plain View & JDLR  Questions/Comments

3  Definitions matter! o Focusing on “Terrorism” eliminates 3/4 of the subject matter you are interested in  You gave me a definition to work with: o Adjudicated Guideline A – Allegiance to the United States  We study group-based violence, which we operationalize as: o Terrorist organizations o Violent extremist organizations o Transnational criminal organizations

4  All graphics and statistics in this presentation come from the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG)  Based out of the University of New Haven, but really a consortium of universities and non-profit organizations  Mission: To maintain the largest and most comprehensive database on violent groups worldwide  Analyses of our database have been utilized to support decision-making at the strategic and operational levels

5 Supports five units of analysis Theoretically: Every event, is a part of an incident Every incident was committed by at least one individual Every individual is a member of at least one organization Every organization is a part of at least one larger movement Event Event Var. 1, Event Var. 2, …, Event Var. X Incident Inc. Var. 1, Inc. Var. 2, …., Inc. Var. X Ind. Var. 1, Ind. Var. 2, …., Ind. Var. X Org. Var. 1, Org. Var. 2, …., Org. Var. X Individual Organization Mov Var. 1, Mov Var. 2, …., Mov Var. X Movement Relational Database Conceptual Model © 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups West Haven, CT 06516

6 Each of these units of analysis are represented in the ISVG Relational Database with variables and link types that we can use to visualize and analyze networks based on open source information. The variables and link types describe two general types of networks: Operational – networks of individuals, groups, and organizations based on the actions they engage in Associations – networks of individuals, groups, and organizations based on the relationships they keep Altogether, there are more than 1,500 variables in the database and more than 100 link types for building, visualizing, and analyzing networks. Building Networks through Operational and Associational Coding © 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups West Haven, CT 06516

7 An operational network is a grouping of individuals, groups, and organizations through at least one event type. The ISVG database has 25 basic event types that describe the actions of terrorist, extremist, and criminal actors. Violent Armed Attack Arson Bombing CBRN Hijacking Hostage-Taking Kidnapping Non-Violent Logistical Ceasefire Communication Financing Meeting Travel Criminal Bribery Counterfeiting Escape Extortion Financing Illicit Transactions Piracy Robbery Trafficking Interventions Military Operation Police Operation Civil Court Actions Criminal Court Proceedings Operational Networks © 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups West Haven, CT 06516

8 Each event type has sub-categories to capture specific actions and variables to describe the attributes of each event. Bombing Operational Networks © 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups West Haven, CT 06516

9 The ISVG database also provides a link to describe each individual, group, and organization’s involvement in an event. Four Operational Linkage Types Group Involved Individual Involved Responsible Targeted Note that the ISVG database can link groups to events through their individual members/associates Operational Networks © 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups West Haven, CT 06516

10 An associational network is a grouping of individuals, groups, and organizations through at least association type. The ISVG database has more than 60 association types that fall into three categories Association Networks © 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups West Haven, CT 06516

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14  Terrorist organization o A group that threatens violence or commits violence in furtherance of a political, religious, or social cause  Extremist organization o A group that espouses or advocates violence in furtherance of a political, religious, or social cause  Transnational criminal organization o A group that engages in illicit activities within the United States and has a significant portion of it operations and support activities outside of the United States.  All of these organizations fall under Adjudicative Guideline A – Allegiance, section 4,c,1-4.

15 Transnational Criminal Organizations Violent Extremist Organizations Terrorist Organizations

16  ISVG collects and analyzes data at the event, group, and individual level data  Currently more than 225,000 events in the ISVG database (2004-present)  In the United States, more than 70,000 events (2004- present) o 60% of these events related to transnational criminal organizations o 30% of these events related to violent extremist organizations o Approximately 10% of these events related to terrorist organizations  These events have occurred in every state in the United States, but there are definitely strong geographic clusters by event type and perpetrator type

17  ISVG collects and analyzes data at the event, group, and individual level data  Currently more than 4,000 violent groups in the ISVG database (2004-present)  In the United States, more than 2,000 violent groups o 75% are violent extremist organizations o 15% are transnational criminal organizations o Less than 10% are terrorist organizations  Events where the perpetrator is unknown or unattributed are approximately 35% in the United States

18  ISVG collects and analyzes data at the event, group, and individual level data  Currently more than 40,000 individual profiles in the ISVG database (2004-present)  In the United States, more than 26,000 individual profiles o 45% of these are linked to terrorist organizations o 35% of these are linked to violent extremist organizations o Approximately 20% are linked to transnational criminal organizations ISVG has more than 300 variables about the backgrounds, associations, and organizations that these individuals are involved in.

19  A very understudied topic in academic social sciences o Data issues (lack of data) o PII issues (DHS and DOJ are very hesitant to fund this type of research)  Common research methods: o Content analysis/ethnographic studies of violent group members Mark Hamm’s work on right-wing & militia terrorists in the US o “Travel studies” – geographic span in the activities of terrorist networks Brent Smith & Kelly Damphouse’s work on Terrorism in Time & Space o Participant Observation – usually very questionable findings Several “anonymous” researchers infiltrate radical environmental groups, neo-nazi groups, and radical islamist organization

20  Most of the people who are responsible for identifying and investigating violent groups in the US are local law enforcement  Many of the best research findings about indicators of involvement in violent groups come from distilling the expertise of investigators and patrol officers that interact with these individuals  When you extract this knowledge, it common that the “indicator” that the expert relied on most was that it “just didn’t look right” or JDLR.  JDLR is a phenomenon that we are trying to operationalize so that we can capture the details and expertise that triggered the “indicator” (this has not been successfully operationalized to date)  Current research on this is about to start at Naval Research Laboratory – Adversarial Modeling & Exploitation Office

21  Systematically examining, on a per domain basis, the expertise resident in law enforcement officials about violent groups could lead to a better understanding of the indicators that a person is a member, associate, or affiliate or a violent group  Domains: o Physical appearance and dress of individual and associates o Traffic stops o Home/Residence interviews and search o Office interviews and search

22  ISVG’s assets to support this research o We have the largest unclassified database of known individuals that are members of, associates of, or affiliates of violent groups in the United States o We have already collected data about their backgrounds and the backgrounds of their associates o We have assembled much of the propaganda, symbology, and internet-based information about the violent groups themselves o We know which of these individuals have been arrested and prosecuted, and the outcomes/dispositions of those proceedings. o We have a constant, ongoing data collection effort to identify violent groups, their events, and their individuals moving forward that can be used support interviews and other methods of capturing expert knowledge.

23 Thank you for your attention! Questions? / Comments?


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