About the Terrorism Analysis Project
The Federation of American Scientists created their Terrorism Analysis Project (TAP) in June 2010 to investigate the nexus between violent non-state actors and the diversification, diffusion, and adoption of disruptive lethal technologies. TAP's purpose is to strengthen existing national and international counterterrorist and intelligence-gathering measures that predominantly focus on weapon and technology availability, target vulnerabilities, and consequence management, and frequently overlook ideological motivations in their threat-assessment calculations. Mindful that national and international efforts to address the growing risk of mass-casualty and mass-disruption terrorism are limited by resources, TAP seeks to better inform policy by illuminating why specific non-state actors seek specific technologies. Moreover, TAP conducts in-depth empirical research and innovative analyses on how technologies are perceived, adopted, controlled, and employed by various terrorist groups and political and religious extremists. Thus, by combining analyses of certain available lethal technologies, group capabilities, and their methods within a given group's ideologies and motivations, TAP pinpoints and examines specific violent non-state actors—both extant and emerging—that pose the greatest threat.
Although it considers all disruptive technologies, the Terrorism Analysis Project's overarching concern is with the prevention of mass-casualty and mass-disruption events. Consequently, TAP's primary focus is on agents and technologies related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE). TAP also concentrates on terrorist motivation to use information technology to attack networks, computer systems, and telecommunications infrastructures, as well as to target critical infrastructure (CI). As part of the Federation of American Scientists, TAP’s research is informed and guided by a team of highly trained scientists who employ robust empirical and quantitative methodologies. Analyses are also advanced through interdisciplinary qualitative approaches: the historical, cultural, political, organizational, sociological, psychological, operational, and doctrinal factors affecting terrorist motivations and capabilities.
In sum, TAP provides national and international policymakers a more thorough picture of contemporary terrorist threats by offering in-depth research and analysis of how various terrorist factions think and operate, what motivates them, and what strategies they might use against various targets. FAS' dedicated and trained scientists are committed to TAP's ability to increase public safety with research, knowledge, and education. The Project is Directed by Charles P. Blair.