August 6, 2020


This paper identifies the obstacles faced by terrorists as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes results from a survey sent out to Comprehensive Security Responses to Terrorism (CSRT) alumni in July 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the world, with far-reaching social, political and economic consequences. Terrorists and security services alike have been forced to adapt. However, we still have relatively limited understanding of the changes that have occurred and what they mean for counter-terrorism (CT). This report presents the findings of an exploratory survey, completed by 100 security practitioners, in order to shed light on how terrorism and CT have been affected by the pandemic. Results suggest that, for the most part, terrorists appear to have gained relatively little in the short term. At the same time, although many practitioners have experienced additional challenges in CT, most of these problems have not been insurmountable. Looking to the future, there is significant concern that terrorism will increase in response to the social and economic fallout from the pandemic. As a result, most survey respondents agreed that countries will need to cooperate more closely with each other on CT, and that greater US support for CT in the Indo-Pacific will be needed.

Published: August 6, 2020

Category: Perspectives

Volume: 21 - 2020

Author: Sam Mullins


  1. Wainaina September 5, 2020 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Interesting insights. It would be great to hear the views of the security experts on how Covid responses can benefit from past counter terror strategies. What counte terror lessons we would have used to handle Covid better? Lessons from terror and counter terror on how Covid will shape the world cooperation?

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