University of New Haven - The Institute for the Study of Violent Groups

Report
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Presented to the ODNI Special Security Division Research Program
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Introduction
Violent Groups in the United States
Research & Findings on Violent Groups at Home
Data for Analysis
A Potential Research Agenda
o Intelligence in Plain View & JDLR
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Questions/Comments
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Definitions matter!
o Focusing on “Terrorism” eliminates 3/4 of the subject matter you
are interested in
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You gave me a definition to work with:
o Adjudicated Guideline A – Allegiance to the United States
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We study group-based violence, which we operationalize as:
o Terrorist organizations
o Violent extremist organizations
o Transnational criminal organizations
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All graphics and statistics in this presentation come from
the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG)
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Based out of the University of New Haven, but really a
consortium of universities and non-profit organizations
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Mission: To maintain the largest and most comprehensive
database on violent groups worldwide
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Analyses of our database have been utilized to support
decision-making at the strategic and operational levels
Relational Database Conceptual Model
Supports five units of analysis
Theoretically:
Movement
Mov Var. 1, Mov Var. 2, …., Mov Var. X
Every event, is a part of an
incident
Every incident was
committed by at least one
individual
Organization
Org. Var. 1, Org. Var. 2, …., Org. Var. X
Individual
Ind. Var. 1, Ind. Var. 2, …., Ind. Var. X
Every individual is a
member of at least one
organization
Incident
Inc. Var. 1, Inc. Var. 2, …., Inc. Var. X
Every organization is a part
Event
of at least one larger
Event Var. 1, Event Var. 2, …, Event Var. X
movement
© 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups
West Haven, CT 06516
Building Networks through Operational and Associational Coding
Each of these units of analysis are represented in the ISVG
Relational Database with variables and link types that we can use to
visualize and analyze networks based on open source information.
The variables and link types describe two general types of
networks:
Operational – networks of individuals, groups, and organizations
based on the actions they engage in
Associations – networks of individuals, groups, and organizations
based on the relationships they keep
Altogether, there are more than 1,500 variables in the database and
more than 100 link types for building, visualizing, and analyzing
networks.
© 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups
West Haven, CT 06516
Operational Networks
An operational network is a grouping of individuals, groups, and
organizations through at least one event type.
The ISVG database has 25 basic event types that describe the
actions of terrorist, extremist, and criminal actors.
Violent
Armed Attack
Arson
Bombing
CBRN
Hijacking
Hostage-Taking
Kidnapping
Non-Violent
Logistical
Ceasefire
Communication
Financing
Meeting
Travel
Criminal
Bribery
Counterfeiting
Escape
Extortion
Financing
Illicit Transactions
Piracy
Robbery
Trafficking
© 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups
West Haven, CT 06516
Interventions
Military Operation
Police Operation
Civil Court Actions
Criminal Court
Proceedings
Operational Networks
Each event type has sub-categories to capture specific actions and
variables to describe the attributes of each event.
Bombing
© 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups
West Haven, CT 06516
Operational Networks
The ISVG database also provides a link to describe each individual,
group, and organization’s involvement in an event.
Four Operational
Linkage Types
• Group Involved
• Individual Involved
• Responsible
• Targeted
Note that the ISVG
database can link groups
to events through their
individual
members/associates
© 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups
West Haven, CT 06516
Association Networks
An associational network is a grouping of individuals, groups, and
organizations through at least association type.
The ISVG database has more than 60 association types that fall into
three categories
© 2010 Institute for the Study of Violent Groups
West Haven, CT 06516
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Terrorist organization
o A group that threatens violence or commits violence in furtherance
of a political, religious, or social cause
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Extremist organization
o A group that espouses or advocates violence in furtherance of a
political, religious, or social cause
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Transnational criminal organization
o A group that engages in illicit activities within the United States and
has a significant portion of it operations and support activities
outside of the United States.
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All of these organizations fall under Adjudicative Guideline A
– Allegiance, section 4,c,1-4.
Violent Extremist Organizations
Terrorist
Organizations
Transnational Criminal Organizations
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ISVG collects and analyzes data at the event, group, and
individual level data
Currently more than 225,000 events in the ISVG database
(2004-present)
In the United States, more than 70,000 events (2004present)
60% of these events related to transnational criminal organizations
o 30% of these events related to violent extremist organizations
o Approximately 10% of these events related to terrorist organizations
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These events have occurred in every state in the United
States, but there are definitely strong geographic clusters by
event type and perpetrator type
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ISVG collects and analyzes data at the event, group, and
individual level data
Currently more than 4,000 violent groups in the ISVG
database (2004-present)
In the United States, more than 2,000 violent groups
o 75% are violent extremist organizations
o 15% are transnational criminal organizations
o Less than 10% are terrorist organizations
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Events where the perpetrator is unknown or unattributed
are approximately 35% in the United States
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ISVG collects and analyzes data at the event, group, and
individual level data
Currently more than 40,000 individual profiles in the ISVG
database (2004-present)
In the United States, more than 26,000 individual profiles
o 45% of these are linked to terrorist organizations
o 35% of these are linked to violent extremist organizations
o Approximately 20% are linked to transnational criminal
organizations
ISVG has more than 300 variables about the backgrounds,
associations, and organizations that these individuals are
involved in.
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A very understudied topic in academic social sciences
o Data issues (lack of data)
o PII issues (DHS and DOJ are very hesitant to fund this type of
research)
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Common research methods:
o Content analysis/ethnographic studies of violent group members
• Mark Hamm’s work on right-wing & militia terrorists in the US
o “Travel studies” – geographic span in the activities of terrorist
networks
• Brent Smith & Kelly Damphouse’s work on Terrorism in Time & Space
o Participant Observation – usually very questionable findings
• Several “anonymous” researchers infiltrate radical environmental
groups, neo-nazi groups, and radical islamist organization
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Most of the people who are responsible for identifying and
investigating violent groups in the US are local law enforcement
Many of the best research findings about indicators of
involvement in violent groups come from distilling the expertise of
investigators and patrol officers that interact with these
individuals
When you extract this knowledge, it common that the “indicator”
that the expert relied on most was that it “just didn’t look right”
or JDLR.
JDLR is a phenomenon that we are trying to operationalize so
that we can capture the details and expertise that triggered the
“indicator” (this has not been successfully operationalized to
date)
Current research on this is about to start at Naval Research
Laboratory – Adversarial Modeling & Exploitation Office
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Systematically examining, on a per domain basis, the
expertise resident in law enforcement officials about violent
groups could lead to a better understanding of the
indicators that a person is a member, associate, or affiliate
or a violent group
Domains:
o Physical appearance and dress of individual and associates
o Traffic stops
o Home/Residence interviews and search
o Office interviews and search
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ISVG’s assets to support this research
o We have the largest unclassified database of known individuals
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that are members of, associates of, or affiliates of violent groups in
the United States
We have already collected data about their backgrounds and the
backgrounds of their associates
We have assembled much of the propaganda, symbology, and
internet-based information about the violent groups themselves
We know which of these individuals have been arrested and
prosecuted, and the outcomes/dispositions of those proceedings.
We have a constant, ongoing data collection effort to identify violent
groups, their events, and their individuals moving forward that can
be used support interviews and other methods of capturing expert
knowledge.
Thank you for your attention!
Questions? / Comments?
[email protected]
203-936-7150

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