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