On this page: Research Interests; Publications; Working Papers; Dissertation; Data
My primary research interest is terrorism. I find the interaction between individuals, groups, and states to be a very intriguing research area. I believe that the subject is relevant to both the scientific and policymaking communities. In my research, I try to make it so that everything I do has the potential to provide insight for the “real world.”
In addition to my work on terrorism, I also enjoy researching other forms of conflict, including both intra- and inter-state events. I have also been fortunate enough to collaborate on a few projects that deal with media’s role in politics.
“Simply Small Men? Examining Differences between Females and Males Radicalized in the United States,” (with Rachel Yon). Forthcoming in Women and Criminal Justice.
“Fatal Attraction: Explaining Variation in the Attractiveness of Islamic State Propaganda.” Forthcoming in Conflict Management and Peace Science.
“Choose Your Weapon: the Impact of Strategic Considerations and Resource Constraints on Terrorist Group Weapon Selection,” (with Gabriel Koehler-Derrick). Forthcoming in Terrorism and Political Violence.
“Fighting together? understanding bilateral cooperation in the realm of counterterrorism,” (with Arie Perliger). 2018. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict 11(3): 199-220.
“Prisoners and Politics: Western Hostage Taking by Militant Groups,” (with Seth Loertscher). 2018. Democracy and Security 14(1): 1-23.
“Dangerous Work: Terrorism Against U.S. Diplomats.” 2017. Contemporary Security Policy 38(3): 345-370.
“Is Standing for Women a Stand Against Terrorism? Exploring the Connection Between Women’s Rights and Terrorism,” (with Cameron Harris). 2016. Journal of Human Rights 15(1): 60-78.
“Radicalism of the Hopeless: Refugee Flows and Transnational Terrorism,” (with Megan Spencer and Mike Findley). 2013. International Interactions 39(5): 621-645.
“A Policymaking Process ‘Tug-of-War’: National Information Security Policies in Comparative Perspective,” (with Kenneth Rogerson). 2013. Journal of Information Technology and Politics 10(4): 462-476.
“The Importance of Fully Testing Conditional Theories Positing Interaction”, (with William Berry and Matt Golder). 2012. Journal of Politics 74(3): 653-671.
Down, But Not Out: An Updated Examination of the Islamic State’s Visual Propaganda. 2018. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center.
“Burying the Lede: The Islamic State Downsizes,” (with Brian Dodwell and Muhammad al-‘Ubaydi). 2018. CTC Perspectives.
“Children at War: Foreign Child Recruits of the Islamic State,” (with Dakota Foster). 2018. CTC Sentinel 11(6): 11-17.
“Jihadi Brides? Examining a Female Guesthouse Registry from the Islamic State’s Caliphate,” (with Brian Dodwell). 2018. CTC Sentinel 11(5): 16-22.
“Does the Cure Address the Problem? Examining the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Immigration from Muslim-majority Countries Using Publicly Available Data on Terrorism.” 2017. Perspectives on Terrorism 11(4): 87-94.
The Fight Goes On: The Islamic State’s Continuing Military Efforts in Liberated Cities (with Muhammad al-`Ubaydi). 2017. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center. This report was covered by the New York Times, Buzzfeed, and the Military Times.
Then and Now: Comparing the Flow of Foreign Fighters to AQI and the Islamic State (with Brian Dodwell and Don Rassler). 2016. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center. This report was covered by the Washington Times and the Independent.
From Cradle to Grave: The Lifecycle of Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria (with Arie Perliger). 2016. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center. This report was covered by the Independent.
Communication Breakdown: Unraveling the Islamic State’s Media Efforts. 2016. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center. This report was covered by the New York Times, ABC News, Defense One, and Vice News.
“Welcome to the Hotel Caliphate: You Can Check-Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave.” 2016. CTC Perspectives.
The Caliphate’s Global Workforce: An Inside Look at the Islamic State’s Foreign Fighter Paper Trail (with Brian Dodwell and Don Rassler). 2016. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center. This report was featured on NBC Nightly News and can be seen by clicking here. It was covered by Der Speigel. The video can be seen here and the print version here.
Held Hostage: An Analysis of Kidnapping Across Time and Among Jihadist Organizations (with Seth Loertscher). 2015. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center. The data used in this report, as well as other supplementary materials including an interview with Nicholas Henin, a French journalist held by ISIL for 10 months, can be found here. This report was covered by CNN.
“The French Foreign Fighter Threat in Context.” 2015. CTC Perspectives.
“Pledging Bay`a: A Benefit or Burden to the Islamic State?” (with Muhammad al-‘Ubaydi). 2015. CTC Sentinel 8(3): 1-7.
The Group That Calls Itself a State: Understanding the Evolution and Challenges of the Islamic State (with Muhammad al-‘Ubaydi, Nelly Lahoud, and Bryan Price). 2014. West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center.
“Three Hurdles to Peace: Negotiations with the FARC in Colombia,” (with Abigail Jeffers). 2014. CTC Sentinel 7(6): 13-17.
“The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant: More Than Just a June Surprise,” (with Bryan Price and Muhammad al-‘Ubaydi). 2014. CTC Sentinel 7(6): 1-4.
“Al-Baghdadi’s Blitzkrieg, ISIL’s Psychological Warfare, and What It Means for Syria and Iraq,” (with Bryan Price and Muhammad al-‘Ubaydi). 2014. CTC Perspectives.
“Internet Diffusion and the Digital Divide: The Role of Policy-Making and Political Institutions,” (with Kenneth Rogerson). 2008. In Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics, eds. Andrew Chadwick and Philip N. Howard. London: Routledge.
“Friends in Low Places: Military Arms, Repression, and Transnational Terrorism.”
“Transnational Terrorism and Foreign Policy.”
“Freedom Fighters or Terrorists? Media Framing of Terrorist Events,” (with Kenneth Rogerson).
My dissertation is (as one might expect) about terrorism. Transnational terrorism (TNT) is a process that, by definition, involves both international and domestic actors. A non-trivial portion of the literature that seeks to answer the question of why TNT occurs has focused on country-level characteristics (democracy, wealth/poverty, etc.). I argue that these country characteristics create opportunities for TNT, but not necessarily the motivation for actors to commit acts of TNT. A more complete explanation of TNT needs to include both opportunity and motivation factors at both the domestic and international level. In addition to the need for consideration of both opportunities and motivations, I also argue that we need to look at both domestic and international processes to explain TNT, and that to do so we should explore the transnational consequences of a state’s foreign policy. I argue that if a foreign policy creates a perception of threat towards the economic and physical freedom of the citizens in a country targeted by another country’s foreign policy, the number of TNT attacks against the initiator of the policy will increase. If the policy’s impact on their freedoms is positive, the number of TNT attacks will decrease. Using ITERATE data, I test this theory in different foreign policy scenarios. The results suggest that countries need to consider the possibility that some foreign policies create negative externalities (such as TNT) and prepare for these contingencies.