• THREAT SPECTRUM

    What are the major threats the world is facing? Researchers highlight five such threats: The growing role of disinformation; attacks on the idea of democracy; environmental challenges; economic instability; and terrorism – both domestic and foreign.

  • COUNTERTERRORISM

    Many counterterrorism experts and observers have long said that one of the key failings of the post-9/11 era was a lack of a cohesive, overarching strategic concept. Research indicates that short-term operational and tactical planning can dominate policy and security risk management at the expense of future scenario planning.

  • BIOTHREATS

    COVID-19 demonstrated how the world is clearly vulnerable to the introduction of a single pandemic virus with a comparatively low case fatality rate. The deliberate and simultaneous release of many pandemic viruses across travel hubs could threaten the stability of civilization. Current trends suggest that within a decade, tens of thousands of skilled individuals will be able to access the information required for them single-handedly to cause new pandemics.

  • AFGHANISTAN

    A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which examined the U.S. investment in the conflict-torn nation, blames Afghanistan’s internationally supported, now-defunct government for failing to recognize that the United States intended to withdraw from the country, one of several factors contributing to its rapid collapse in August 2021 before the Taliban seized power.

  • TERRORISM

    “The greatest terrorism threat to our Homeland is posed by lone actors or small cells who typically radicalize to violence online and look to attack soft targets with easily accessible weapons,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told Lawmakers. “We see these threats manifested within both Domestic Violent Extremists (“DVEs”) and Homegrown Violent Extremists (“HVEs”), two distinct threats, both of which are located primarily in the United States and typically radicalize and mobilize to violence on their own.”

  • CONSPIRACY THEORIES

    As a study my team and I conducted highlights, frightening proportions of the public believe in conspiracy theories that doubt the truth of reported events, even terrorist attacks. In our findings, one in seven respondents believed victims of the May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing were not really victims at all, but “crisis actors” – essentially, that they were brought in to pretend to be victims of an attack to manipulate public opinion. We also found that one in 20 were convinced the attack in Manchester and the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005 were “hoaxes”.

  • BIOSAFETY

    Many countries face an severe shortages of biosafety and biosecurity professionals. To address these shortages, experts call for a multisectoral effort toward a future sustainable workforce by formalizing a biosafety & biosecurity career path within the higher education system.

  • SOFT-TARGET PROTECTION

    Anyone who has ever gone to a major sporting event or concert, taken public transportation, even visited a farmer’s market on a brisk weekend morning, has likely benefitted from soft-target physical security—and perhaps didn’t even know it. DHS S&T is working developing a suite of decision-support software known as Special Event Planning Tools (SEPT) to help those in charge of securing soft targets.

  • CONSPIRACY THEORIES

    The vast majority of the public accept the reality of terrorist attacks in the U.K.– but notable minorities say they struggle to know what to believe or think we don’t have the full picture. A hardcore minority of one in 11 people can be classed as strong believers in conspiracy theories.

  • COUNTERTERRORISM

    In the U.K. and overseas, there has been a shift towards self-initiated terrorists operating independently from organized groups with increasingly personal ideologies and warped views used to justify violence. The U.K. is updating its counterterrorism system is so it can continually adapt to new and emerging threats.

  • ARGUMENT: TACKLING DOMESTIC TERRORISM

    The recently released intelligence assessment of domestic terrorism is the second iteration of the Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism, and Seamus Hughes, Moshe Klein, and Alexis Jori Shanes write that “From additional granularity in the size and scope of the threat of domestic terrorism to a more forthcoming acknowledgement of its complexity, it should provide a road map for U.S. domestic counterterrorism efforts.”

  • AI & EXTREMISM

    Recent large-scale projects in the field of Artificial Intelligence have dramatically improved the quality of language models, unfolding a wide range of practical applications. Language models are statistical models that calculate probability distributions over sequences of words. Language models can make many beneficial contributions, but they may also be misused by extremist actors for propaganda purposes.

  • EXTREMISM

    A 75-year old retired theology professor was arrested and charged with organizing a nationalist, far-right terrorist group aiming to bring back the Kaiser. The group aimed to attack power stations and transmitters in order to plunge large parts of Germany into black out in the hope of promoting civic unrest.

  • ARGUMENT: DEFINING TERRORISM

    The analysis of terrorism is plagued with definitional disagreements, and most of the definition in use suffer from gaps, ambiguities, and inconsistencies. Daniel Byman writes that terms such as “groups” or organizations” no longer applies to many who engage in terrorist activities – but the term “lone wolf” is also misleading. He offers the term “network: “Network analysis can be another way to identify the contours of a dangerous movement.” Because so many of today’s terrorism challenges “are better characterized as movements or networks rather than as groups or organizations, it is valuable to explore how such amorphous concepts might be operationalized.”

  • TERRORISM

    A 22-year old Ohio man admitted he plotted a mass shooting of women at a university in Ohio. The man identified as an “incel” or “involuntary celibate.” The incel movement is an online community of predominantly men who harbor anger towards women.

  • TERRORISM

    A weakened and wary Islamic State terror group suffered a new round of setbacks when U.S. forces targeted three key leaders in two operations across northern Syria in a single day.

  • CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

    Violent extremists and terrorist organizations of numerous ideological persuasions have conducted devastating attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States. Today’s terrorism threat picture in the U.S. is incredibly fluid, dynamic, and dangerous, and under this backdrop authorities are increasingly worried about an uptick in terrorist plotting against critical infrastructure.

  • TERRORISM

    Humor is used in English-language jihadi terrorist magazines to reinforce identity and help groups bond, research suggests. The study says the regularity of dehumanizing humor in ISIS’s magazines reflects their overall aggressive and uncompromising stance on outsiders and opponents.

  • BIOMETRICS

    The use of facial recognition technology in counterterrorism must address several formidable challenges before being adopted. This means we should proceed careful, even cautiously, before operationalizing the technology.

  • EXTREMISM

    The Indian government called the Popular Front of India (PFI) an “unlawful association.” This month, at least 200 PFI members have been detained.