NCSP Researchers Awarded Grant for Domestic Extremism Research

July 8, 2014

The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) has been awarded a $4,000 grant by the University at Albany in support of its ongoing project on domestic extremist organizations lead by Senior Research Associate Steve Sin and pre-doctoral fellow Andrew Vitek. The Domestic Extremist Organizational Behavior Project (or DOMEX for short) was initially conceptualized and developed in the summer and fall of 2013 and aims at expanding the limited body of research on domestic terrorism and radicalization. To date the vast majority of terrorism research, in both academic and policy contexts, has focused on international, largely Al 'Qaida related organizations, that ignores the large body of violent and non-violent extremist groups that operate within the United States. The DOMEX project aims to uncover what makes these organizations tick; how they operate, their use of the media, and most importantly why some groups engage in violence and terrorism, and some don't.

The DOMEX projects aims to break new ground through the construction of a comprehensive data set that encompasses the entirety of domestic extremist activity going back to 1980, which includes nearly 500 distinct organizations. Drawing designation criteria from organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as the FBI, the project will record yearly organizational data for each organization, such as ideology, size, operating structure, media use, protest and political activity, as well as a host of other variables. Once the dataset has been constructed, statistical analyses will be employed to identify those variables that possess the most explanatory power in determining a group's propensity for violence.

The analyses will be able to determine both the factors that contribute to a group's propensity for violence and be able to predict the likelihood of violent tendencies of future extremist actors and organizations. Simultaneously, the DOMEX project will support the NCSP's effort to develop and deliver world-class consequence-driven functionally-integrated scenario based training at the New York State Preparedness Training Center. In addition, the project aims to contribute to the development of future policies designed to counter violence perpetrated by domestic extremist actors and organizations.

The awarded funds will contribute to the large amount of data collection required by the project that will take place over the next year. In addition, the NCSP has collaborated with Rockefeller College in seeking a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice, that if awarded would fund a significant portion of the project.