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Exploring the Social Networks of Homegrown Violent Extremist (HVE) Military Veterans

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $1,670,395)

The proposed project aims to answer three major research questions surrounding homegrown violent extremism (HVE) in individuals with prior military experience in a two-part study. The first research question attempts to understand the differences in demographic characteristics, extremist ideology, and targets of terrorism between homegrown violent extremists with prior military experience and homegrown violent extremists without prior military experience. In order to answer this question, the applicants propose to conduct a secondary analysis of the American Terrorism Study (ATS), an existing database with data collected on people indicted by the U.S. government for terrorism between the years 1980 and 2002.

In the second part of the study, the applicants propose to explore and compare the social networks (i.e., family, civilian, military, veteran) of a comparative group of 30 individuals with prior military experience who engaged in HVE, 30 individuals without prior military experience who engaged in HVE, and 30 individuals with prior military experience who did not engage in HVE (control group) between the years 2003 and 2019. Using a retrospective thick description approach, this exploratory study will utilize the Quest for Significance Theory as a guiding framework. The applicants propose to conduct an in-depth examination of individualsÂ’ motivation, ability, and prevailing narratives from the perspectives of family members (n=90), civilian peers (n=90), military peers (n=60), and veteran peers (n=60). The total sample will comprise of 300 individuals from the social networks of the comparison and control groups. Data will be analyzed using a directed content analysis approach. The overall results of both studies will allow the applicants to explore the HVE phenomenon among individuals with prior military experience across almost four decades (1980-2019). The applicants will use the findings to develop a Military Veteran HVE Risk Assessment Tool that can be utilized by both the military (as a transition assessment) as well as civilian law enforcement agencies.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 13, 2019