Forecasting future terrorist threats

Forecasting future terrorist threats
Data Analytics


Early-Warning Indicators of Increased Threat from Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs) Targeting U.S. Interests 

The Afghanistan and Pakistan (AFPAK) region is currently saturated with terrorist organizations attempting to establish a meaningful presence. The capacity to become a real threat to homeland security is dependent upon two factors: 1) their leadership capabilities and 2) cyber influence. Together, these two factors relate to how these groups acquire operational resources and disseminate information.


This project will provide clarity as to which terrorist organization pose the greatest risk to short and long-term regional stability, reviewing the two critical factors for leadership capabilities and cyber influence.

Review leadership capabilities

To evaluate which terrorist organizations pose the highest risk to regional stability, the research team will identify and compare the decision-making style of terrorist leaders in the AFPAK area. Identifying and comparing terrorist leaders based on their decision-making style provides a type of "anticipatory intelligence" that can assist in forecasting future threats and assist decision-makers in interpreting the strategic moves of their competitors.

Assess cyber influence

The research team will also triangulate data across cyber platforms to assess the cyber influence of AFPAK terrorist groups. We will examine the content of their messaging (i.e., what they say) and the transmission device of their messaging (i.e., how they say it), with a specific focus on each group’s capacity for influence targeting western audiences.


Forecasting future terrorist threats

Reviewing the current leadership and cyber activities of active terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan regions, this project examines the sophistication of the communication messages and cyber networks to determine which groups pose the greatest risk to regional stability and ultimately U.S. security interests.

Research Leadership Team

Principal Investigator:  Gina Ligon, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Co-PI: Doug Derrick, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Co-PI: Margaret Hall, University of Nebraska at Omaha