The Global Terrorism Trends and Analysis Center (GTTAC) documents the thousands of terrorist attacks—globally and domestically—that occur each year. GTTAC, by detailing various dimensions of each attack, familiarizes analysts, policymakers, scholars, and journalists with patterns of terrorism. The center defines terrorist attacks as the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a nonstate actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. Data are collected daily. Updates are published annually in the Department of State’s report to Congress on terrorism, known as the Annex of Statistical Information: Country Reports on Terrorism.
The GTTAC Speaker Series
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January 13, 2022
10:30 a.m. EST (GMT-5)
The Global Terrorism Trends and Analysis Center (GTTAC) continues its Speaker Series
GTTAC Speaker Series: “The Islamic State in Africa: Emergence, Evolution, and Future of the Next Jihadist Battlefront” Featuring Dr. Jason Warner
Dr. Jason Warner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, and an Associate in the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), also at the United States Military Academy, where he directs the CTC’s Africa research profile.
His research focuses on terrorism in Africa (especially the activities of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Africa, and suicide bombing) and the foreign policies of African states and external states towards the continent.
Dr. Warner holds a Ph.D. in African Studies from Harvard University; an M.A. in Government from Harvard University; an M.A. in African Studies from Yale University; and a B.A. with highest honors in International Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Dr. Warner is the lead author of The Islamic State in Africa: Emergence, Evolution, and Future (Hurst 2021), and the co-editor of African Foreign Policies in International Institutions (Palgrave-Macmillan 2018). He has published in academic journals including Security Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Quarterly, Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, African Security, Small Wars and Insurgencies, The Journal of Modern African Studies, The Journal of Human Security, and CTC Sentinel, among others. He is also the co-author of three Combating Terrorism Center reports on the demographic and operational profiles of Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and AQIM’s suicide bombers. His work and commentary has been cited in various international outlets, including the BBC, CNN, The Economist, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Washington Post, among many others.
November 18th, 2021
What the Return of the Taliban means for Jihadists
Presented by Mina al-Lami
Mina al-Lami heads the jihadist media monitoring team a BBC Monitoring. She’s a native Arabic speaker with 15 years of experience closely tracking the militant and media activities of jihadist groups and their use of online platforms and technology. Mina has written extensively on jihadist developments and messaging and regularly appears on TV, radio and at international events.
The Taliban’s return to power in August not only dominated news room discussions and international headlines, but gripped the jihadist community, most of whom saw it as a victory for jihad and a model to be emulated elsewhere. But jihadists aren’t one big happy family and from the outset questions and concerns were raised, particular by hardliners, about the Taliban’s pragmatic approach and whether or not jihadists could support it. Another key question that remains unanswered is the exact nature of the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and whether jihadists will find a safe haven in today’s Afghanistan. Islamic State group (IS), the black sheep of the jihadist community, has further complicated matters by waging war against the Taliban and asking the awkward questions about the Afghan group’s political and diplomatic moves that other jihadists don’t dare to ask.ews.
October 14th, 2021
Contemporary Data Issues in Extremism Research
Presented by Dr. Wesley S. McCann
Wesley S. McCann is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society. He has published numerous articles dealing with terrorism, immigration, and criminal law and courts, and is the author of National Security and Policy in America: Immigrants, Crime, and the Securitization of the Border (Routledge, 2020) as well as recent publications on CBRN Terrorism in leading terrorism journals.
An expert on extremism, preventing/countering violent extremism (P/CVE), and criminal law, he is currently researching why non-state actors pursue chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons; whether military intervention influences the tactics and weapons terrorist groups pursue and use; the impact of the Department of Homeland Security’s 287(g) program on local crime; and the correlates of anti-immigrant sentiment. He is also leading a research team on state judicial selection requirements and processes to inform federal judicial reform efforts.
September 23rd, 2021
Terrorism and Political Violence in South-Asia
Presented by Dr. Jennifer Santiago Oreta
Jennifer Santiago Oreta, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor of the Department of Political Science, and Director of the Ateneo Initiative for Southeast Asian Studies (AISEAS) of the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Dr. Oreta is currently a US-ASEAN scholar under the Fulbright program at TraCCC (Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption ) at George Mason University.
Under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III (2010-2016), Dr. Oreta was appointed as Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) of the Philippine government. Professor Oreta was part of the Technical Working Group on Normalization representing the Philippine government in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and led and initiated the crafting of a strategy paper on dealing with the communist insurgents outside the peace table. Now, Professor Oreta is a member of the Board and concurrent Executive Director of the Human Security Advocates (HSA).
April 1, 2021
Terrorism and Counterterrorism in Somalia
Presented by Dr. Daisy Muibu
Dr. Daisy Muibu is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her research is focused on policing and counterinsurgency from a variety of perspectives that include: police legitimacy and local law enforcement responses to terrorism; citizens perceptions towards formal, private and informal policing and paramilitary forces; and the role of foreign fighters within insurgent groups. Daisy was also Peace and Violence Research Fellow at AU’s School of Public Affairs department and a recipient of various research grants, such as the United Nations Initiative on Peace and Reconciliation in Somalia grant, the Association for the Study of The Middle East and Africa, and the American University Doctoral Student Research Scholarship. Dr. Muibu also has years of experience working on rule of law and criminal justice reform, as well as counterterrorism in regions of Kenya and southern Somalia.
March 11, 2021
Non-state Organizations and Political Violence: A Quantitative Perspective
Presented by Victor Asal
Mr. Asal spoke on the quantitative analytical perspective on tracking political violence and terrorism. Victor Asal (Ph.D. University of Maryland, 2003) is Director of the Center for Policy Research and a Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany. He is affiliated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a DHS Center of Excellence. His research focuses on nonstate actor violence and the causes of political discrimination particularly related to ethnicity and gender. He also researches nuclear crisis behavior and pedagogy. Asal has been involved in research projects funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, The Department of Homeland Security, The National Science Foundation, The Office of Naval Research, and the Department of Homeland Security.
February 11, 2021
Approaching Counter-Terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Covid-19 Era – The Case of ISIS in Central & West Africa
Presented by David Otto
David Otto is an international counterterrorism and organized crime specialist. He is an active consultant, trainer, and capacity-building specialist for NATO, the United Nations, U.S. Africa Command, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other corporate bodies on trend analysis of Africa Terror Networks. He is a pioneer expert for the Interpol Global Counter Terrorism Strategy set up by a group of five globally accredited subject-matter experts. He contributes toward the shaping of the Africa Counter Terrorism Strategy in the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, Great Lakes, and Horn of Africa. He was the lead consultant for counterterrorism program design for Global Risk International UK Ltd. He has researched Africa terror networks for the past 15 years and developed an enormous network on the continent. He is a Certified Master Anti-Terrorism Specialist and Certified Financial Crime Examiner for the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board. He also is a Visiting Professor at East China University of Political Science and Law Institute of Strategic Studies.
January 14, 2021
A Practitioner’s Perspective on the State of the Terrorist Threat
Presented by Russ Travers
Mr. Travers took office as the Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in August 2019. He also has held other leadership positions within NCTC since 2015, including Senior Counselor to the Director, Acting Director of the Office of Data Strategy and Innovation, and Chief Data Officer for both NCTC and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
From 2013 to 2015, Mr. Travers served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Transnational Threat Integration and Information Sharing on the National Security Council. He has also served tours as Deputy Director for Policy Support at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Officer for General Purpose Forces, and the Senior Civilian Advisor to the Director for Intelligence, J2, Joint Chiefs.
December 17, 2020
Terrorists, Technology, Tactics: Understanding How Violent Non-State Actors Engage in Organizational Learning
Presented by Dr. Daveed Gartenstein–Ross
Dr. Gartenstein–Ross is a scholar, practitioner, author of more than 25 books and monographs, and entrepreneur who is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Valens Global. The International Herald Tribune has described him as “a rising star in the counterterrorism community.” In 2019, he led Valens Global’s efforts to support the drafting, threat assessment, and crafting of priority actions for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence, which was released in September 2019 and has subsequently guided DHS’s approach to confronting terrorism and other forms of sub-state violence. That document has received widespread acclaim, with the New York Times editorializing that the document “focuses unapologetically on right-wing terrorism, particularly white supremacist extremism,” which constitutes “a shift that is both urgently needed and long overdue.”
November 6, 2020
Terrorism in the Time of the Pandemic
Presented by Dr. Rohan Gunaratna
Dr. Gunaratna is Professor of Security Studies and founder of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He served as a counterterrorism instructor for GIGN, CTSO, D88, U.S. Navy SEALs, the Swiss Federal Police, the New York Police Department, and the Australian Federal Police. He has conducted field research in conflict zones in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Kashmir, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uzbekistan. Author and editor of 20 books including Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, Gunaratna is also the lead author of Jane’s Counter Terrorism, a handbook for counterterrorism practitioners.
November 19, 2020
Breaking the ISIS Brand
Presented by Dr. Anne Speckhard
Dr. Speckhard is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine. She has interviewed more than 700 terrorists, their family members, and supporters in various parts of the world, including Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East. In the past five years, she has conducted in-depth psychological interviews of more than 250 ISIS defectors, returnees, and prisoners as well as 16 al-Shabaab cadres. From these interviews, she has developed the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials, which include more than 200 brief counternarrative videos of terrorists denouncing their groups as un-Islamic, corrupt, and brutal. The video content has been used in more than 150 Facebook and Instagram campaigns globally.
October 22, 2020
Boko Haram and Other al-Qaeda– and ISIS–Linked Sub-Saharan African Groups
Presented by Dr. Jacob Zenn
Dr. Zenn is an adjunct professor on African armed movements and violent nonstate actors in world politics from Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. He is the author of Unmasking Boko Haram: Exploring Global Jihad in Nigeria, published in April.
October 8, 2020
American Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism
Presented by Dr. Arie Perliger
Dr. Perliger is a Professor and the Director of the graduate program in security studies at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts, Lowell. During the past 20 years, he has been engaged in an extensive study of issues related to terrorism, security policy, and the politics and extremism of the far right in Israel, Europe, and the United States. His work have appeared in nine books and monographs, and in numerous articles and book chapters, and have been cited in more than 1,300 academic texts. His recent book, American Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism, describes the entire ideological spectrum of the American far right.