Research

Responses to Countering Violent Extremism (book project):

My book project examines the CVE policymaking process in the United States to understand how the federal government, local communities and the public have responded to the concept of CVE. In the project, I first examine the US approach to CVE and how the federal government’s prioritization of a community-led strategy compares to other national responses to CVE and the challenges this approach has created for CVE practitioners. In examining these challenges, I explore why only some communities have responded to the federal government’s call for action to design and implement collaborative CVE programming and created what I term “CVE governance networks.” I argue that three factors –community stakeholder interest, capacity and facilitation—explain the variation in mobilization at the local level in the United States. However, I find that governance networks face numerous challenges during the policymaking process, which makes the actual implementation of CVE programming in the US unlikely. That said, I find that networks that utilize a centralized decision-making tend to be more successful in implementing collaborative programming.

Part of my theoretical framework and empirical data can be found in my latest article: “Community Stakeholder Responses to Countering Violent Extremism Locally.”

All things CVE:

Are CVE programs effective? This question seems to be a top concern for US policymakers. To help answer this question, in “Surveying CVE Metrics in Prevention, Disengagement and DeRadicalization Programs,” Susan Szmania and I conducted a literature review on the state of the CVE evaluation field. Unsurprisingly, evaluating CVE programming is extremely difficult for numerous reasons. We found that the majority of studies that claim to “evaluate” CVE programs do not analyze the effectiveness of these programs. As a follow-up to this piece, in a policy brief “Evaluating Countering Violent Extremism Programming: Current Practices, Challenges, and a Means Forward,” I present some evaluation recommendations for the field moving forward.

What should CVE be called? Every so often this question arises within policy circles and at panels on CVE. In  “To Change or Not to Change? The Effects of Terminology on Public Support for Countering Violent Extremism,” I use a survey experiment to analyze the effects of CVE terminology on public support for CVE programs.

What are other countries doing to counter violent extremism? “Evaluating CVE: Understanding the Recent Changes to the United Kingdom’s Implementation of Prevent” provides a broad overview of the UK’s strategy.

Global Counterterrorism Dataset Project:

How do states counter terrorism? What strategies and tools do states incorporate into counterterrorism doctrine? Moreover, how do state capabilities and actions compare? To date, a comprehensive global comparison of counterterrorism (CT) doctrine and practices is missing from the counterterrorism literature. Because of this, key questions concerning CT are left unanswered and scholars are unable to systematically study the consequences of CT not just on terrorism, but other issue areas as well, such as human rights and interstate cooperation. This project will fill this knowledge gap with the creation of a global CT dataset, which will provide policymakers and scholars a more complete understanding of counterterrorism policy and practice around the world. This dataset is a work in progress.

Militias, Conflict and Politics? Oh My!

This research examines the intersection of militias and civil conflict. In Contracting Security: When do states use militia groups in civil conflict? (under review), I examine why and when governments choose to delegate the use of violence to militia groups during civil conflict. In the paper, I explain the Iraqi government’s selective use of militias during Iraq’s conflict against ISIS.

ISIS isn’t the only group that loves to use social media to rally the troops and disseminate propaganda. In this ongoing project, using data from Twitter, I examine Shia militia group use of social media during the Iraq conflict to understand militia propaganda strategies and how these strategies change throughout a conflict.

Miscellaneous:

“Book Review: Preventing and Countering Extremism and Terrorist Recruitment: A best practice guide by Hanif Nadir.”  Homeland Security Affairs 14, Article 3 (January 2018). https://www.hsaj.org/articles/14267

“The Changing Nature of Collective Security: A Case Study on Countering Violent Extremism Initiatives.” Working Paper.

 

 

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