Presenter Information

Lauren ZimmermanFollow

Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-8582-0467

Advisor Information

Gina Ligon

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

26-3-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

26-3-2021 12:00 AM

Abstract

This study examines those identified as homegrown violent extremists within the U.S. who also had experience with the U.S. military and the possible pathways to extremism they took. This research relies on the Salafi Jihadist Inspired Profiles and Radicalization Clusters (SPARC) study. By applying Kruglanski’s 3N theory of radicalization to a sample of 23 subjects who had joined, or attempted to join, the U.S. military, this study finds that most of those with military experience are radicalized by formal, organization-led networks and are motivated by social significance loss, suggesting that they have moved their personal identification from the U.S. military to a Salafi-jihadist organization. The study also identified that of 16 subjects identified as interested in carrying out an attack, 12 targeted or wanted to target military sites or military-adjacent sites, sites such as places frequented by high-ranking officers. This heightens the possibility of insider threat from this sample. This research echoes previous research into this area that there is a need to strengthen guidelines and reporting procedures within the U.S. military for identifying potentially dangerous individuals that could be an insider threat. Further research into this area could identify any similarities with this sample, far-right extremists in the military, and military members who conducted target violence attacks.

Available for download on Tuesday, January 25, 2022

COinS
 
Mar 26th, 12:00 AM Mar 26th, 12:00 AM

Trading Camouflage for Kalashnikovs: The radicalization of U.S. military members into Salafi-jihadist organization and their insider threat

This study examines those identified as homegrown violent extremists within the U.S. who also had experience with the U.S. military and the possible pathways to extremism they took. This research relies on the Salafi Jihadist Inspired Profiles and Radicalization Clusters (SPARC) study. By applying Kruglanski’s 3N theory of radicalization to a sample of 23 subjects who had joined, or attempted to join, the U.S. military, this study finds that most of those with military experience are radicalized by formal, organization-led networks and are motivated by social significance loss, suggesting that they have moved their personal identification from the U.S. military to a Salafi-jihadist organization. The study also identified that of 16 subjects identified as interested in carrying out an attack, 12 targeted or wanted to target military sites or military-adjacent sites, sites such as places frequented by high-ranking officers. This heightens the possibility of insider threat from this sample. This research echoes previous research into this area that there is a need to strengthen guidelines and reporting procedures within the U.S. military for identifying potentially dangerous individuals that could be an insider threat. Further research into this area could identify any similarities with this sample, far-right extremists in the military, and military members who conducted target violence attacks.