NIJ's Role in Terrorism Research

NIJ recognizes the critical need to expand existing policing and transnational crime portfolios to help respond to terrorism. In the past, NIJ has supported research about U.S. domestic right- and left-wing terrorism, but until now little research has been conducted on international terrorism.

Terrorism research is by nature crosscutting, and NIJ's research engages experts from many subject areas to better understand the issues of terrorist financing, patterns of terrorist learning, and first responder preparedness.

NIJ's research portfolio contains projects in five research areas.

The five areas of research are—

  • Developing a terrorism database for analysis. NIJ has provided funding to develop databases that will help researchers analyze terrorist incidents around the globe and terrorism-related indictments in the U.S.
    See Terrorism Databases for Analysis.
  • Improving the criminal justice response. To help improve local law enforcement's ability to prevent and investigate incidents of terrorism, NIJ has sponsored research on policing in Arab communities, how terrorism laws impact State and local criminal justice operations, police work with public health agencies, case studies from 9/11, and terrorist group learning processes.
    See Improving the Criminal Justice Response.
  • Assessing potential high-risk terrorism targets. Protecting critical infrastructure can advance national and local efforts to combat terrorism. NIJ has worked with researchers to develop vulnerability assessments for seaports, shopping malls, trains, subway systems, and agricultural industries; and to help prepare first responders.
    See Assessing Potential High-risk Targets.
  • Examining the links between terrorism and other crimes. Terrorist organizations require substantial outside resources to function and are often involved in other types of domestic and transnational crime. NIJ-funded researchers have worked to untangle the complex interplay between terrorism, organized crime, white collar crime, and money laundering.
    See Terrorist Links to Other Crimes.
  • Studying terrorism's organization, structure, and culture. NIJ supports research on terrorist recruitment, motivations for mobilization, changes in terrorist tactics over time, and social networks.
    See Terrorism's Organization, Structure, and Culture.
Date Modified: April 4, 2011