Sept. 15, 2020 – NSF Virtual September Forum: Domestic Radicalization

Sept. 15, 2020 – NSF Virtual September Forum: Domestic Radicalization

Domestic Radicalization: Historical and Contemporary Trends

Dr. Elizabeth Yates and Sheehan Kane

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), University of Maryland

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 at 09:00 am Pacific Time (US and Canada) via Zoom

If you are an NSF member, you will receive an invitation by email to this online event. Please check your email and RSVP your attendance. If you would like to attend this meeting, become a member today!

Happy September to our NSF friends and family. I hope you are enjoying a break from smoke and heat and continuing to stay safe from COVID. If you missed any of our recent Zoom programs, please check out the recordings posted on our website. You may also be interested in our latest commentaries on the situations in Beirut and Hong Kong. To watch the program videos, read commentaries and learn about our upcoming programs and events and go to our website. Scroll down on the landing page to get to our video links): NSF Website

Program details for our upcoming program:

NSF is honored to have, Dr. Elizabeth Yates and Sheehan Kane from the University of Maryland, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), present on domestic extremism in the United States.

As many of you are aware from watching the news lately the topic of radicalization and extremism among groups in the United States is a major issue of concern. Peeling away the cacophony of misinformation to get to the truth about domestic extremism is a challenging task that is vital to our national security.

NSF is honored to have the nation’s leading academic experts from START to help walk us through the fraught landscape of extremist radicalization both past and present. Dr. Elizabeth Yates and Sheehan Kane will introduce and discuss findings from two major datasets tracking extremist radicalization in the U.S. PIRUS (Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States), and BIAS (Bias Incidents and Actors Study). Based on this research, they will address trends in background characteristics of extremists, changes in targets and tactics over time, as well as differences between mass casualty offenders and other extremist offenders.

As I mentioned in my recent letter (also posted on our website), NSF is building a partnership with UMD-START and will have their researchers present regularly on timely topics regarding national and homeland security threats from TCOs and other non-state actors. These topics have been a missing staple in our NSF repertoire to date, so we are very grateful to have START experts close this gap. The START Director, William Braniff, will kick-off our Sep program with a short overview of START and an introduction to their amazing team of researchers. I think you will be very impressed with their insight, innovative research approaches, and willingness to share and discuss their findings.

Please join us for a very timely and engaging presentation. Remember that our Zoom webinars are open to the first 100 registrants, so please register early. If you decide that you can’t make it later please delete your registration to allow others to join.

William Braniff is the Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and a Professor of the Practice at the University of Maryland. He previously served as the director of practitioner education at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) and an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences. Braniff is a graduate of the United States Military Academy. Following his Company Command in the U.S. Army, Braniff attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he received a master’s degree in international relations. Braniff then served as a foreign affairs specialist for the National Nuclear Security Agency. He has also taken a keen interest in the field of terrorism prevention or countering violent extremism (CVE), and his input has been sought out by the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the FBI and the National Security Staff, and the National Counterterrorism Center. He spoke at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February 2015, has testified before Congress on four occasions, and appears regularly in national and international news media. His research focuses on domestic and international terrorism, counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism-The Hague (ICCT), the RESOLVE Network Research Advisory Board, and the Prosecution Project Advisory Board. Email:


Dr. Elizabeth Yates is a Senior Researcher on the domestic radicalization team at START. She works primarily on the suite of datasets associated with PIRUS (Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States) and BIAS (Bias Incidents and Actors Study), with a special focus on far-right violence, extremism, and hate crimes. She is also a co-Principal Investigator on a multi-year NIJ-funded project studying extremist offender reintegration. In addition, Dr. Yates has taught undergraduate classes in Terrorism Studies and Sociology at the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively. She earned a doctorate in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA in International Relations at Tufts University. Email:


Sheehan Kane is the data collection manager for the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) project. Prior to joining PIRUS, she was the Perpetrator Identification manager on the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). She holds an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Elon University. Before joining START, Sheehan lived in Cairo, Egypt, where she studied Arabic and pursued her Master’s degree. Email;