Congressional Briefing: Evidence-Based Counterterrorism

HomeOutreach, Symposia and BriefingsCongressional Briefing: Evidence-Based Counterterrorism

To view all of CEBCP’s Congressional Briefings, click here.

Monday, September 10, 2007 (10:00 am- 12:00 noon)
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 188

Despite the increase in the use and generation of strategies to counter terrorism, there continues to be only a small amount of existing research that has evaluated these programs. On September 10, 2007, the CEBCP hosted its first congressional briefing on “Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy.” A group of researchers from  universities and think tanks presented empirical findings on the effects – both intended and unintended – of counterterrorism interventions in a coordinated and joint effort to inform the public and policy makers about this timely subject.

To view more on this subject, see Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy (Lum and Kennedy, eds.)


Dr. Laura Dugan (The START Center, University of Maryland)
“The Global Terrorism Database and Its Application to Estimating Counter-Terrorism Strategies in Northern Ireland, 1969 to 1992.” Dr. Dugan will introduce the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) compiled by the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence: Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START), and then present one application where GTD data was used to estimate the effects of counter-terrorism strategies on Republican Terrorism in Northern Ireland.  Coauthored with Gary LaFree and Raven Korte.

Dr. Brian Forst and Mark McInerney (American University) and Ashley Nellis (START Center, University of Maryland).
“Target Attractiveness, Fear, and the Prevention of Terrorism.”  This presentation describes the critical and largely ignored “demand side” of terrorism: fear.  It  describes research being done at American University aimed at understanding the associations between fear and risk, fear and media, and fear and target attractiveness, based on data from surveys reflecting sources of fear, and from federal data on funding for homeland security.

Dr. Brian Jackson (RAND Corporation)
“Breaching the Fortress Wall: Understanding Terrorist Efforts to Overcome Defensive Technologies.”  Being able to understand the motivation of al Qaeda and other groups can help nations better disrupt, defend against, and prepare for and anticipate terrorist attacks.  Three new studies, relying on a case study approach, offer insights into the terrorist mindset, focusing, in particular, on how terrorists try to get around defensive technologies, share technologies among themselves, and prioritize their targets.

Dr. Cynthia Lum (George Mason University)
“Examining Collateral Effects of Counterterrorism Interventions: Airport Security Screening.”  Two concerns of airport security screening as a counterterrorism measure are differential or biased practices against individuals of racial, ethnic or religious minorities and the inconvenience of passengers.  To assess the salience of these concerns, results will be presented from the first comprehensive, airport security survey that was administered in person of passengers who had just passed through airport security.  Student research team: Dale Beech, Michael Connors, Zach Crafton, Rebecca Parsons, Tarren Smarr.

Dr. Peggy Maddox (George Mason University)
“Regional Assessment of Disaster/Emergency Preparedness among Registered Nurses in the Washington Metropolitan Region.”  The purpose of the study was to determine registered nurses’ preparedness to respond in major disasters and emergencies in order to inform regional planning and capacity building for disaster response in the Washington DC Metropolitan Region.  The objective of this study was to identify the learning needs, perceived competence and training experience of registered nurses (RNs) as early responders during large-scale, all hazards emergencies.

Dr. David Ortiz (RAND Corporation)
“Evaluating the Security and Efficiency of the Global Containerized Supply Chain.” Since 9/11, several programs have been implemented to improve security of the global supply chain.  In reviewing these programs, this study concludes that supply-chain efficiency and security are distinct but interconnected and recommends considering all aspects of supply-chain performance when assessing security measures.  Also, programs to improve supply-chain security have focused largely on preventing and deterring terrorist attacks, with little focus on improving the supply chain’s fault tolerance or resilience.

Dr. Clay Ramsay (START, PIPA, University of Maryland)
“Muslim Public Opinion on the US Military in Counter-Terrorism Interventions.” Dr. Ramsay will report upon what START’s polls of Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia reveal about public reactions to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, viewed as counter-terrorism interventions.  Coauthored with Steven Kull, Director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan (University of Massachusetts)
“When Terrorism and Counterterrorism Clash: The Impact of the Global War on Terrorism on Subsequent Terrorist Activity.” Dr. Sheehan’s presentation will employ time series techniques to analyze the impact of the Global War on Terror on the subsequent frequency, dispersion, lethality, targets and perpetrators of transnational terrorist activity.

Dr. Leslie Kennedy (Rutgers University)
“Closing Remarks: Building a Research Infrastructure for the Study of Counterterrorism.” Dr. Kennedy will close by discussing what is necessary to support improvements in evidence-based counterterrorism policy and the importance of scientific study in informing strategic development.