October 2008 to September 2010
“Hearts and Minds”
The goal of this four-project collaboration is to understand organizational and operational aspects of terrorist groups. The four projects are: a) Rational Peasants, b) Expert Survey, c) Clubs in Prisons, and d) Drivers of Militancy. The theory of terrorist organizations has a long history but has not been rigorously developed, or recently updated. Project (a) developed alternative models, contrasting terrorists from insurgents. Tight networks seem to be the organizational forms that pose the greatest threat domestically –since they have the ability to operate in generally unsupportive environments. This has homeland security implications for identifying individuals likely to pose threats and for predicting threats. The club concept is one way of modeling tight networks that yields testable implications for observables across multiple datasets. The club approach to understanding terrorist organizations suggests shifting the emphasis in counterterrorism (CT) to a) seeking organizational weaknesses, and b) providing alternatives to benign services provided by clubs in the countries in which they organize. The club approach also helps predict what type of terrorist organizations can pose which types of threats to homeland security, allowing both offensive and defensive action to be optimized.