Abstract for: Modeling the Threat of ISIS in the Context of Modern Terrorism

This model uses a system dynamics approach to model hypothesized relationships and related policies within a state system as they relate to the terrorist threat of ISIS. Heightened resources have been channeled into the goal of reducing the number of terrorist attacks. However, there remains a lack of focus on minimizing the influence of radicalization on civilians that encourages conversion into active terrorism. By representing the supply-chain of individuals as they move through the "process" of radicalization, this model allows the user to analyze how the combination of incentive and capacity interact to instigate radicalization through the lens of political, social, and monetary dynamics of the state system. The integrated components of this model enable exploration of the success and impacts of various policy options, ranging from counterterrorism programs to counter radicalization resources, on different goals within the state system. A test of different counterterrorism and counter radicalism programs using the model demonstrates how interconnected different parameters of interest (political balance and cohesion, collateral damage, influence of media) influence the performance metrics for policy success (active terrorist population, rate of conversion to terrorism, public fear of attacks). Moving forward, this model can be used to identify critical feedback relationships and key leverage points in the "supply chain" of radicalized terrorists.