Research on terrorism and political violence has been a core part of CPOST’s focus since its founding in 2004. The 9/11 attacks on the U.S. homeland and the sharp increase in suicide attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed an urgent need to better understand the threat of terrorism. What are the causes of terrorism and especially suicide terrorism, its deadliest variant? What explains why and when groups will attack specific kinds of targets? Empirically-grounded and policy-relevant scholarship on the terrorist threat — its causes, consequences, and conduct — is crucial to identifying the strategies most likely to succeed in combating it. That terrorism and insurgency remain a major threat to regional stability in areas of key strategic importance for the United States and its allies more than a decade after 9/11 underscores the continued importance of this research. How will terrorism evolve in the coming decade, and what are the prospects for regional and global security?
The CPOST Suicide Attack Database is the most comprehensive in the world. It is the only database that is searchable, up-to-date and entirely transparent in its source material. This database allows CPOST to produce data-driven theories and conduct leading research, especially in the study of terrorism and political violence. One of the most unique aspects of the database is its commitment to sharing publicly its source material, including data files, once CPOST completes its analysis.