The NYPD released a study created by their Intelligence Division that analyzes the nature and evolution of terrorism radicalization and recruitment.Â Entitled RadicalizationÂ in the West: The Homegrown Threat, the report presents a â€œconceptual framework for understanding the process of radicalization in the West,â€ which is based on an analysis of five U.S.-based incidents:Â
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly introduces this new study by explaining that â€œunderstanding this [terrorist recruitment] trend and the radicalization process in the West that drives it is vital for developing effective counterstrategies.â€Â This is why, Kelly continues, the â€œNYPD places a priority on understanding what drives and defines the radicalization process.â€Â
The NYPD suggests that a prime differentiator in the cases of the five incidents studied is that the perpetrators are â€œunremarkable.â€Â The authors of the report, Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt of the NYPD Intelligence Division, apply the term about a dozen times in the report to suggest a new evolution of the terrorist threat in the U.S.: It could be anybody.
By this the report intends to explain that the traditional antecedents to an attack â€“ perpetrators with criminal records, a presence on watchlists, observable anti-American behavior, travel to certain overseas locations â€“ no longer necessarily present themselves even when a terrorist plan has become operational.Â The report explains that the process of radicalization and recruitment can be characterized as follows:Â
Each of the four stages is treated with detail.Â In addition to a serious, if somewhat academic, definition of radicalization, the report provides an in-depth threat assessment from the perspective of the NYPD as informed by such well known experts as RANDâ€™s Brian Jenkins.Â In the end, the treatment given by this report may do well to highlight the interconnected nature of this threat across national boundaries and thereby give better impetus to a collaborative approach with allies and friends.Â This is something the NYPD is known for doing well.Â Another byproduct could be a more intentional assessment of drivers, which we called â€œroot causesâ€ years ago before the use of that phrase fell out of popular favor.Â
This vitally important subject is covered in other posts here with links to related content from across the policy community.