Traditional “stovepipe” approaches to research and analysis have repeatedly shown themselves to be inadequate, and the lack of access to comprehensive, reliable, and objective information is an ongoing problem that many researchers, governments, NGOs, and private institutions face in recognizing or responding to new security realities. CETIS provides a unique resource that is specifically designed to help compensate for this shortcoming. Just as our terrorist enemies nowadays adapt quickly to countermeasures and combine a variety of skills and expertise, so too must those who seek to understand and counter them.
CETIS is able to provide a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and synergistic approach to the evaluation of terrorist threats and other vital security affairs involving non-state actors (and, when applicable, their covert state sponsors) because of the diverse composition of its research staff, which includes scholars from several academic disciplines, linguists, investigative journalists, former intelligence analysts, and – thanks to its association with other components of the Akribis Group - security specialists and counterterrorism professionals with field experience. This allows CETIS to carry out in-depth, cutting-edge qualitative studies of terrorist and extremist organizations, broader historical and cultural analyses of the regions and milieus within which such groups operate, operational and tactical threat assessments, the preparation and management of specialized computerized databases, and various types of quantitative analyses.
Core CETIS staff have particular expertise in the assessment of terrorist motivations and capabilities on the basis of historical, cultural, political, organizational, sociological, psychological, operational, and especially ideological (i.e., doctrinal) factors. Those with academic and journalistic backgrounds have been studying a wide variety of extremist milieus and organizations for years, including Islamists and other types of religious radicals, neo-fascists in Europe, right-wing “militias” in the United States, anti-abortionists, Marxist-Leninists, anarchists, eco-radicals, millenarian religious cults, and various other sectarian, conspiratorial fringe groups.
Others have spent years developing and maintaining computerized databases that are specifically designed to chronicle different types of terrorist incidents. Finally, several individuals affiliated with the Akribis Group possess extensive operational experience, and some have actually matched wits with and fought against violence-prone extremists in various parts of the world.
In short, while many public and private organizations are still struggling – years after 9/11 – to fully understand and effectively adapt or respond to the novel dimensions of today's terrorist threats, CETIS staff members already have years of accumulated experience studying and analyzing terrorist groups. The Center is therefore well-positioned to make a significant contribution to furthering the world's understanding of terrorist groups and, in the process, the security of both the United States and the international community.