2021 Global Terrorism Challenges

Dr. Erin Miller

START Global Terrorism Database Program Manager, University of Maryland
With Discussants from the Department of Homeland Security

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 at 09:00 am Pacific Time (US and Canada) via Zoom

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May 2021 bring everyone peace, health and healing to our communities and our country. We have much work to do together to keep our nation safe and secure. The NSF Team is dedicated to bringing you programs in 2021 designed to stimulate your thinking and foster civil discourse on timely and important national security. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!

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Program details for our upcoming program:

“Terrorism is a global trend that is experiencing something of a resurgence due to the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis…2021 will see a revival in risk levels. This upturn will be catalyzed by the consequences of COVID-19, with the situation offering substantial opportunities to would-be threat actors. Drivers include increased economic hardship in many countries most impacted by terrorism; international distraction mitigating effective responses to threats; the ability to exploit and benefit from inter-state rivalries, for example Turkey employing former Syrian fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh; and over-stretch of domestic security services. Lockdowns have also given people time to research and radicalize, with societal divisions and stress hardening mindsets.” (Justin Crump (22 Dec 2020) Security Magazine, ‘Terrorism and security threat trends in 2021’)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues – albeit with hope on the horizon as vaccines rollout globally – we refocus our attention on concurrent national security challenges in 2021. Global terrorism tops our list for 2021 national security issues. To lead us through an overview of the leading global terrorism issues for 2021 is Dr. Erin Miller, Program Director for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at START.

The GTD documents more than 200,000 international and domestic terrorist attacks that occurred worldwide since 1970. With details on various dimensions of each attack, the GTD familiarizes analysts, policymakers, scholars, and journalists with patterns of terrorism. The GTD defines terrorist attacks asThe threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. Data collection is ongoing and updates are published at: www.start.umd.edu/gtd

Dr. Miller will walk us through the strategies and challenges for maintaining a robust, objective database on terrorism and discuss key issues and recent trends. Joining her will be discussants from the Department of Homeland Security who will provide insight about how GTD data is used by analysts and operators to support counterterrorism efforts at home and abroad.

We welcome your participation in this event and your questions to our presenter and panelists.

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.


Dr. Erin Miller is the program manager for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at START headquarters at the University of Maryland. Miller earned a BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA and PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland. Her research investigates patterns of decline among terrorist organizations and movements worldwide, using innovative statistical analysis of data from the GTD. She has taught statistics courses at the University of Maryland and delivered invited lectures on the GTD and the implications of research methodology for terrorism research. Miller has been part of the GTD team since 2004. Her roles have included improving the consistency of the data and adding key variables to the database, developing efficient and effective data collection strategies and training, and producing accessible analysis that provides context for current events in terrorism and counterterrorism. She frequently consults with users of the database, including researchers, policy makers, analysts, journalists, and students. For six years, Miller authored the Statistical Annex for the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism (2012–2017). She has served as principal investigator on a number of START research projects related to the GTD, including the Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) platform, the Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States (PPT-US) database, and the Program to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks.

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