Despite the fact that UBL is dead and the US counterterrorism apparatus has been full steam ahead for the past twelve-plus years since 9/11, the threat of terrorism around the world remains as strong and steadfast as ever. While al-Qaeda proper may have been all but snuffed out through precision drone strikes, night raids, and HVI targeting in various hotspots around the globe, al-Qaeda as a franchise has managed to spread radical militant Islamist ideology all over the world with rapid dispersal.

This spread of radicalism has given birth to many offshoot groups, many of whom represent ideals and end-states that continue to threaten Western interests abroad. This breed of terror has seen a divergence away from radical Islamism and turned more towards the rise of Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs), a catch-all term for the often complex violent organizations operating in even more complex environments that threaten stability and security around the world.

Below is a preliminary list compiled by SOFREP that provides in-depth analysis, research, background, and other resources regarding terrorism and VEOs. Given the importance of the safety and security of US citizens both at home and abroad, it’s unlikely the threat of terrorism will be going anywhere anytime soon. As various threats from terrorism develop around the world, so does the information available. This list provides some of the most current and relevant information available regarding the terror threat for readers to explore.

Oh, and be advised: it’s going to be like drinking water from a fire hose.


National Counterterrorism Center

Terror group profiles, methods & tactics of attacks, bomb threat stand-off distances, common explosives, indicators of false documents, and much more can all be found at the NCTC 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar site. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is the primary US government organization responsible for anything and everything pertaining to terrorism. They’re a wealth of information on a wide variety of all-source intelligence that feeds all US counterterrorism activities…it’s an impossible resource to pass up.

US Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism

US law requires that a full and complete report on terrorism is submitted to Congress every year from the DOS. The Country Reports on Terrorism are very in-depth reports covering the strategic outlook each country faces with regards to terrorism, which is broken down by world region (Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and Western Hemisphere). It also covers various state sponsors of terrorism, various terrorist safe havens, and the most recent list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The most recent edition of this report was just released back in May of 2013. We can expect 2013’s report around the same time in 2014.

The START Consortium’s Global Terrorism Database

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is an open-source database compiled by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). It’s a Department of Homeland Security-sponsored “center of excellence” and is also a wealth of information. The GTD includes information on terrorist events around the world from the past 44 years, to include both domestic and international terrorist incidents. Let’s say you know how to manipulate the database and information. This is the type of product you could produce (a background paper on the Sochi Olympics produced using data from the GTD).

The GTD truly is an awesome tool, and contains the following (from the START page):

  • Contains information on over 113,000 terrorist attacks
  • Currently the most comprehensive unclassified data base on terrorist events in the world
  • Includes information on more than 52,000 bombings, 14,400 assassinations, and 5,600 kidnappings since 1970
  • Includes information on at least 45 variables for each case, with more recent incidents including information on more than 120 variables

The START Consortium’s IVEO Knowledge Matrix

The IVEO Knowledge Matrix is another awesome resource from START. For this project, START reviewed any and all literature out there on Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs), and then created a website that allows the user to access the research that provides insight regarding how to counter the VEO in question. It’s literally a matrix that identifies 183 different hypotheses on how VEOs can be negatively influenced, i.e. on how to counter them. Each hypothesis is then supported and examined in various literature reviews that include qualitative and/or quantitative research. The ten-pound brains went to work on this one.

Vision of Humanity’s Global Terrorism Index

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Vision of Humanity’s Global Terrorism Index is a system that ranks 158 countries according to the impact of terrorism, and displays the information graphically on a world map. Each country is color-coded based on the impact terrorism has had in each, and bases the index/country ranking on the incidents, number of fatalities, injuries, or damage to property. When examining a specific country, it also provides some related news pertinent to terrorism in that country. For trend analysis and other research, the index also shows information from previous years’ reports, dating all the way back to 2002.

West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center

The Combating Terrorism Center is located at the US Military Academy and is a major academic organization that focuses purely on the study of terrorism. They look at emerging threats around the globe, offer counter intuitive insights to terrorism problems, and use a variety of unique sources from around the world to access information. They also have a solid base of research products and publications available, to include studies on terrorist ideology, strategy and structure, and other publications related directly to emerging threats across the globe.

Aon and Risk Advisory Group’s Terrorism & Political Violence Map

Aon, a global risk management business, recently released an annually produced Terrorism and Political Violence map. The purpose of the map is to help organizations assess the varying risk levels associated with terrorism and political violence across the world. It breaks down these various ratings by country, providing a risk level, any associated significant activity specific to each country, as well as a breakdown of the percentages of attacks/incidents on businesses by sector. Of note: the retail and transport industries carry the most weight. The map can be accessed here.

Global Terror Activity Map, 2012, courtesy of the START Consortium and the Global Terrorism Database

This list is far from all-inclusive, so please post any additional resources below in the comments so the rest of the hive can stay current as well. The amount of information out there is overwhelming…the least we can do is attempt to compile some of the best parts of it in one place. We want to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for listening.

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