Extremist groups like the New Mexico Civil Guard are benefitting from iterative recruitment in online and offline spaces that bridge ideologies.
Kim Cragin, Ph.D. is a distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University. She is a widely published expert on counterterrorism, foreign fighters, and terrorist group adaptation. Cragin recently left a position as senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and also has taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland. The opinions expressed here represent her own views and are not those of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.
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Spain's close counterterrorism cooperation with Morocco provides a model for effective international efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.
Editor’s Note: In recent years, so-called homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) have eclipsed returned foreign fighters and other sources of terrorism. National Defense University’s Kim Cragin assesses the HVE threat and finds that, contrary to popular opinion, Western security agencies are disrupting many HVE plots and otherwise doing well against this potentially dangerous threat.
Editor’s Note: Perhaps the biggest counterterrorism challenge facing the Trump administration is whether or not to keep a robust military presence in Syria now that the Islamic State has been forced underground. Kim Cragin of the National Defense University argues that the killing of jihadist leaders and other operations in Syria are an important part of why the United States and Europe have experienced fewer attacks than expected and that leaving the region risks more successful terrorist attacks.
Editor’s Note: As the Caliphate collapses, many of its foreign volunteers are fleeing Iraq and Syria. A lot of ink has been spilled (some by me, in fact) on the problem of foreign fighters returning home. However, some of these fighters end up in a third country—not in the Caliphate, but not home either—that is not prepared for the problem. Kim Cragin of the National Defense University examines this huge hole in our thinking. She finds a large problem that demands international action.
Editor’s Note: American leaders have long recognized that police and other law-enforcement officials are on counterterrorism's front lines and that foreign governments play a vital role in disrupting terrorist organizations. Unfortunately, these two true statements don't always go well together: Many foreign countries have poor or uneven law-enforcement capacity, making it difficult for them to stop terrorism in their countries and international terrorists who might strike at the United States.