[Author's note...on a hopeful note.... a number of researchers have concluded that violence overall has decreased within the human race over the past millenia. Am currently reading Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined.]
From the UMD news release at Eureka Alerts
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Over the past decade, attacks and plots by homegrown terrorists in the United States have increased, the work of extremists from across the political spectrum – roughly 40 percent of it by so-called ‘lone wolf,’ non-aligned actors – says an analysis by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at the University of Maryland.
The statistics underscore the threat addressed in a White House plan released Thursday: Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States – a blueprint for “building community resilience against violent extremism.”
“There have been more than 200 terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11, but what has really increased is the total number of foiled terrorist plots,” says UMD researcher and START director Gary LaFree, who has developed the largest and most comprehensive unclassified terrorism database in the world with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“Our researchers have tracked over 100 foiled plots in the past decade,” LaFree adds. “Most of these would be classified as homegrown terrorism.”
The new White House plan follows up on a strategy first laid out last August, and discussed at UMD by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in October.
“The facts make it clear – homegrown, violent extremism is not just a problem for other countries,” LaFree explains. “The administration plan confronts this reality by providing a strategy that draws heavily on local communities as the key to prevention.”
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism—better known as START – is a university-based research center committed to the scientific study of the causes and human consequences of terrorism in the United States and around the world.
Based at the University of Maryland, START supports research efforts of leading social scientists at more than 50 academic and research institutions, each of whom is conducting original investigations into fundamental questions about terrorism, including:
- Under what conditions does an individual or a group turn to terrorism to pursue its goals? What is the nature of the radicalization process?
- What attack patterns have different terrorists demonstrated during the past forty years? How has terrorist behavior evolved? And, what does this indicate about likely future terrorist activity?
- What impact does terrorism and the threat of terrorism have on communities, and how can societies enhance their resilience to minimize the potential impacts of future attacks?
- Growing US violent extremism by the numbers: UMD database (physorg.com)
- Is The Government Omitting Anti-Abortion Violence From Its Main Terrorism Database? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Counterterrorism Czar Resists Muslim Labels, As Critics Say Right-Wing Threat Looms Larger (huffingtonpost.com)
- Beyond Guantánamo, a web of prisons (thehindu.com)
- Federal prisons hold scores linked to terrorism (sfgate.com)
- Assessing the Impact of 9/11 (mpoverello.wordpress.com)
- US believers favor international action on climate change, nuclear risk: UMD poll (eurekalert.org)
- Far right domestic terrorism on par with foreign threat, experts say (cnn.com)
DHS Announces New National Terrorism Advisory System
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will discontinue the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) in favor of a new system, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), that will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing
timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first
DHS Discontinues Color-Coded Alert System
Washington, D.C. – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will discontinue the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) in favor of a new system, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), that will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
The National Terrorism Advisory System will be implemented over the next 90 days in order for DHS and our federal, state, local, tribal, community and private sector partners to transition to the new system.
“Security is a shared responsibility, and we must work together to keep our nation safe from threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This new system is built on a clear and simple premise: when a credible threat develops that could impact the public, we will tell you and provide whatever information we can so that you know how to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe.”
HSAS was first introduced on March 11, 2002. In July 2009, Secretary Napolitano formed a bipartisan task force of security experts, state and local elected and law enforcement officials, and other key stakeholders—co-chaired by Fran Townsend, former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security, and Judge William Webster, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—to assess the effectiveness of HSAS. The results of this assessment formed the basis of the National Terrorism Advisory System.
Under the new system, DHS will coordinate with other federal entities to issue formal, detailed alerts when the federal government receives information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an “imminent threat” or “elevated threat.” The alerts also will provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals and communities, businesses and governments can take.
The National Terrorism Advisory System alerts will be based on the nature of the threat: in some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels—including a designated DHS webpage (www.dhs.gov/alerts), as well as social media channels including Facebook and via Twitter @NTASAlerts.
Additionally, NTAS will have a “sunset provision,” meaning that individual threat alerts will be issued with a specified end date. Alerts may be extended if new information becomes available or if the threat evolves significantly.
Secretary Napolitano announced this change today during her “State of America’s Homeland Security” address at the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute. A copy of her prepared remarks is available here.
For more information on the National Terrorism Advisory System, visit www.dhs.gov/alerts.
responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private