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Terrorism & Counterterrorism

A Broad Range of Research Questions

Faculty, students and research associates in the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies examine a broad range of research questions, from terrorist group decision-making to radicalization to strategies that encourage disengagement from violence.

Subject Matter Experts

Research Projects

Sponsor: National Institute of Justice

This award (January 2014-December 2015) responds to a need both to counter domestic terrorism, and to evaluate programs focused on countering such violent extremism. The proposed evaluation will be done in Montgomery County, MD, in collaboration with the community-based, Muslim-led CVE program (The World Organization for Resource Development and Education), the Montgomery County Department of Police, and the Montgomery County Office of Community Partnerships. The first phase of the project will use a multi-method evaluation design to a) understand recruitment and retention practices of participants in a multi-faceted, U.S. community-based, Muslim-led CVE program, b) identify the outcomes of participation in that program, c) assess and explore community knowledge of risk factors associated with radicalization, and individuals' natural inclinations in response to those factors, and d) identify barriers to individual help-seeking and community-law enforcement collaborations in a CVE context. What will emerge from this phase is a set of working theories that clarify the relationships among these four subcomponents and lead to enhanced CVE programming and implementation. The second phase will develop survey instruments designed to measure quantifiably each of the Phase I subcomponents. Additionally, formalized curricula (i.e., educational materials and a manual for law enforcement) will be developed regarding a) awareness of risk factors of radicalization and civic-minded responses to them, and b) training for law enforcement officers regarding ways to build effective collaborations with local Islamic communities. Additionally, the CVE program will adjust its recruitment practices, based on 'lessons learned' from Phase I. The final phase of the project will assess the effectiveness of the CVE programs' adjusted (i.e., Phase II) recruitment practices. Additionally, the CVE programs' outcomes will be tested by comparing participant involvement groups (i.e. those who have never participated vs. participated once vs. participated multiple times).


Critical Role of Friends in Networks for Countering Violent Extremism (Michael Williams, et. al.), in Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression (2015).

Perspectives on Terrorism

This peer-reviewed scholarly journal is published 6 times per year, and is the most widely read publication of its kind worldwide. Browse the archives of the journal. All articles and issues are available to download for free. Recent special issues of the journal have cover topics such as The Islamic State, Terrorist Group Decision Making, Terrorism Finance, and Terrorism in Africa. For more information on the journal, please contact Co-Editor, James Forest [ ]

Faculty in the CTSS have published dozens of books and journal articles. Please see their bio pages for more information.

Faculty members of the Center are also on the Editorial Board for scholarly journals such as the "Journal of Transportation Security," the "Journal of Strategic Security," and "Terrorism and Political Violence."

Free to Download

  • Joel Day, "Terrorism Practices: Sketching a New Research Agenda," Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 9, No. 6 (December, 2015).
  • Idler, Annette I. and Forest, James J.F. “Behavioral Patterns among (Violent) Non-State Actors: A Study of Complementary Governance.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 4(1): 2 (January). DOI:
  • Forest, James. J.F. U.S. Military Deployments to Africa: Lessons from the Hunt for Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Tampa, FL: JSOU Press. 86 pages. ISBN: 9781933749891.
  • Forest, James J.F. “A Framework for Analyzing the Future Threat of WMD Terrorism,” Journal of Strategic Security 5(4), pp. 51-68.
  • Meservey, Joshua James J.F. Forest and Graham Turbiville. Countering the al-Shabaab Insurgency in Somalia: Lessons for U.S. Special Operations Forces. Tampa, FL: JSOU Press. 145 pages. ISBN: 9781933749853.
  • Forest, James. J.F. Countering the Terrorism Threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Tampa, FL: JSOU Press. 176 pages. ISBN: 9781933749709.

Selected Books

  • Essentials of Counterterrorism. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2015. 476 pages. ISBN: 9781440832833.
  • The Terrorism Lectures (Second Edition). Los Angeles, CA: Nortia Press, 2015. 390 pages. ISBN: 9781940503066.
  • Intersections of Crime and Terror. London: Routledge, 2013. ISBN: 9780415639613.
  • Homeland Security and Terrorism: Readings and Interpretations (2nd Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. ISBN: 9780078026294.