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Assessing Terrorist Risks: Developing an Algorithm – Based Model for Law Enforcement

Frederic Lemieux and James L. Regens

Abstract
Assessing the risk posed by terrorist groups has always been a challenge for national security
intelligence analysts. The most noticeable obstacles are, on one side, the limited availability
of reliable information about violent groups and, on the other side, the absence of objective
as well as rigorous assessment methods. This paper aim to outline the basic principles of a
risk-based approach to terrorism threat assessment, which integrates algorithm models in
order to provide more accurate situational awareness and orient strategic decision-making
process. This paper is divided in three sections: first we introduce the readers to the
objectives of strategic terrorism risk assessment. Second, we provide a comprehensive critic
of existing terrorism threat assessment. Third, we develop an alternative logic model based
on several factors related to the threat, vulnerability and uncertainty (error term). Finally, the
paper suggest a methodology that takes in account the integration of risk factors drawn from
theoretical and “real life” law enforcement perspectives.

Keywords: Terrorism, Risk Assessment, Law Enforcement, Strategic Analysis