Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Thomas A. Breslin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jennifer Gebelein

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Richard Olson

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

geographically-weighted regression, multivariate regression analysis, complex systems model, security studies, applied mathematics, counter-terrorism, extremism, GIS

Date of Defense

11-13-2015

Abstract

Adaptability and invisibility are hallmarks of modern terrorism, and keeping pace with its dynamic nature presents a serious challenge for societies throughout the world. Innovations in computer science have incorporated applied mathematics to develop a wide array of predictive models to support the variety of approaches to counterterrorism. Predictive models are usually designed to forecast the location of attacks. Although this may protect individual structures or locations, it does not reduce the threat—it merely changes the target. While predictive models dedicated to events or social relationships receive much attention where the mathematical and social science communities intersect, models dedicated to terrorist locations such as safe-houses (rather than their targets or training sites) are rare and possibly nonexistent. At the time of this research, there were no publically available models designed to predict locations where violent extremists are likely to reside. This research uses France as a case study to present a complex systems model that incorporates multiple quantitative, qualitative and geospatial variables that differ in terms of scale, weight, and type. Though many of these variables are recognized by specialists in security studies, there remains controversy with respect to their relative importance, degree of interaction, and interdependence. Additionally, some of the variables proposed in this research are not generally recognized as drivers, yet they warrant examination based on their potential role within a complex system. This research tested multiple regression models and determined that geographically-weighted regression analysis produced the most accurate result to accommodate non-stationary coefficient behavior, demonstrating that geographic variables are critical to understanding and predicting the phenomenon of terrorism. This dissertation presents a flexible prototypical model that can be refined and applied to other regions to inform stakeholders such as policy-makers and law enforcement in their efforts to improve national security and enhance quality-of-life.

Identifier

FIDC000154

 

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