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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

Terrorism Networks


Terrorism Network Project

The Terrorism Network Project (TNP) is a multi-institutional effort involving Korbel Professor Erica Chenoweth, Philip Potter of the University of Michigan, and Michael Horowitz of the University of Pennsylvania. The project’s aim is to better understand how terrorism networks emerge and with whom terrorist groups ally.

Few terrorist groups truly exist in isolation. Examples from around the world suggest that alliances between terrorist groups represent the rule much more than the exception. Such alliances often result in enhanced capabilities for the linked groups, leading to higher casualties when those groups engage in attacks.

When and how do terrorist groups ally? This project assumes that a clearer understanding of the implications of relationships between groups—like Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba—will yield significant benefits for those interested in reducing the capacity of these groups to inflict harm.

For example, placing a greater emphasis on tracking when groups are poised to collaborate could help government officials predict the diffusion of tactics, the type of attacks groups are likely to launch, and the lethality of those attacks.

The TNP collects and analyzes data on terrorist group alliance patterns within and across other groups. While the project is still in its early stages, it will ultimately yielding a publicly available data set, several scholarly publications, and a host of case study narratives for scholars and policymakers to improve responses to this contemporary policy problem.

Project Sponsors

The project is supported by the U.S Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative.

Research Team

  • Erica Chenoweth, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard University
  • Michael Horowitz, Co-Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • Philip Potter, Co-Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, University of Michigan
  • Kara Kingma, Research Fellow, Josef Korbel School of International Studies