Research Cluster Counter-Terrorism, CVE and Intelligence

The Research Cluster "Counter-Terrorism, CVE and Intelligence" is dedicated to the highly relevant societal challenges of politically or religiously motivated extremism, international terrorism and its effective and efficient countermeasures. Specific research within this structure is conducted also regarding the largely underrepresented subject area of intelligence in the context of violent extremism.

Unconstitutional extremism in all its ideological or fundamentalist-religious connotations regularly changes its often benign-looking face like a chameleon. This is done, for example, in order to sell extremist narratives that are fundamentally opposed to our basic democratic-liberal values as harmless and to exploit them for propaganda purposes, i.e., to instrumentalize them politically. The dissemination of extremist messages contributes to the radicalization of susceptible individuals or groups, or tempts those already radicalized into politically motivated violence. Similarly, international terrorism, as a violent manifestation of extremism, is constantly evolving-structurally, tactically and phenomenologically. Research foci are as pluriverse as the ideological foundations, modi operandi and tactical resources, but also the strategies of extremists, that are unexpectedly shifting. Major systemic trends, such as progressive transnationalization, a high degree of virtualization, tactical hybridization, and the intentional shift to new means and locations of action, require theoretical assessment and continuous scientific monitoring in order to adaptively and strategically align anticipatory or operational countermeasures. The need for permanent, demand-oriented research regarding the phenomenon of "State Protection and Counter-Terrorism respectively Counter-extremism" and its institutionalization has long been relevant in view of the continuous increase in extremist potential across all ideological spectrums that can be observed in Europe in particular, and has proven to be urgent at the latest in the wake of the Vienna terrorist attack of November 2, 2020.

The research cluster "Counter-Terrorism, CVE and Intelligence" focuses on the sustainable establishment, coordination and implementation of demand-oriented research and teaching in the field of "State Protection and Counter-Terrorism respectively Counter-Extremism", according to its own expectation at international top level. Within the framework of the institutional foundation at the University for Continuing Education Krems, an evidence-based research design will now be successively implemented in a core domain of internal security, which is structurally applied in relevant research projects and reflected in relevant curricula. In addition to comprehensive analyses of the latest trends and sustainable systemic developments regarding extremism and terrorism, strategic derivations with practical relevance for counterterrorism will be developed. The result will be, on the one hand, a systemic picture of the phenomenology of politically motivated violence and anti-constitutional extremism, and, on the other hand, a profound socio-scientific mapping of relevant developments as a basis for possible anticipatory/preventive measures by the responsible security authorities. In addition, interdisciplinary networking with leading (inter-) national research institutions and the establishment of productive research cooperation will be pursued.

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