PhD Candidate
Aro Ha_0986.jpg



The Resilient Terrorist: How Criminal Diversification Impacts the Longevity and Durability of Terrorist Groups


This dissertation project seeks to understand the myriad and complex ways that terrorist groups are changed by a strategic diversification into criminal activity. Relying on new data gathered through interviews, process tracing, a new dataset, and a desk review of secondary literature, I find that terrorist groups intentionally and strategically diversify into criminal activity. By doing so, they extend their organizational longevity, resilience to counterterrorism efforts, and may alter their target selection to incorporate profit motive. Thus, they evolve from a purely political entity to a more hybrid model with different goals, strategic vision, and methodology. Thus, the organization becomes more resilient to traditional counterterrorism efforts and enjoys greater durability and longevity than those which primarily rely on other types of resourcing. I explore these theoretical assertions in two empirical case studies in the Horn of Africa and Colombia. These findings have significant policy implications for both the individual states struggling with asymmetric violent actors as well as the global community.


other Research

Al-Shabaab's mata Hari network

with Phoebe Donolley, in "Small Wars and Insurgencies" (forthcoming, Winter 2018)

Developing a Methodology for Assessing and Countering Transnational Organized Crime

Working Paper, U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations (PKSOI) Working Group, Rockville, Maryland

Battling the Hydra: The Role of Special Operations Forces in Countering the Hybridization of Terror

Working Paper, presented to Annual Symposium of the Special Operations Research Association, Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Maritime Security Cooperation in the Gulf of Aden: An Assessment of the Ongoing International Naval Effort to Combat Somali Piracy

Masters Thesis, presented at the University of San Diego Department of Political Science, San Diego, CA


Extremists in Forgotten Corners: Hezbollah in Latin America

Working Paper, presented to the International Center for Terrorism and Transnational Crime, Antalya, Turkey.