What is the Terrorism Research Centre?


The Terrorism Research Centre (TRC) is non-profit think tank focused on investigating and researching global terrorism issues through multi-disciplinary collaboration amongst a group of international experts.

Not to be confused with the Terrorism Research Centre (TRC) which is housed in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Arkansas.

Brief History

1996 to 2012


The TRC was founded in 1996 by Matthew Devost, Brian Houghton, and Neal Pollard to establish an organization with a specific focus on terrorism and emerging international security issues like information warfare. It was purchased by Blackwater’s Erik Prince in 2007. Over the course of 14 years, the TRC conducted research, analysis, and training on variety of counterterrorism and homeland security issues.


The TRC web site (which operated at http://www.terrorism.com since 1996 and then also mirrored at http://www.homelandsecurity.com starting in 2000) was the top search engine result for “terrorism” and other security keywords for over a decade. The site regularly received as many as 5,000,000 hits per month and had tens of thousands of active registered users. The site has also been cited in thousands of books, news articles, academic papers, and other works.

Major Projects

The TRC was involved in several major projects, from 1996:

  • Responder Knowledge Base.
  • Terrorism Early Warning Group Expansion Project.
  • Mirror Image Training.
  • RealNews List.
  • Project Paediatric Preparedness.
  • Lecture Series.

Responder Knowledge Base

The TRC conceived, prototyped, designed, built and operated the RKB over a period of six years. The RKB provided emergency responders, purchasers, and planners with a trusted, integrated, online source of information on products, standards, certifications, grants, and other equipment-related information. The RKB was operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from 2008 until it was decommissioned in September 2013.

Terrorism Early Warning Group Expansion Project

The TRC has worked with the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) Group since 1997. The TRC and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) submitted a grant application to the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism to expand the Terrorism Early Warning Group concept to six high threat cities in the US. The Terrorism Early Warning Group concept fulfils the intelligence requirements outlined in Homeland Security Directive 8: Interim National Preparedness Goal. After the September 11 attacks in 2001 and the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, the Terrorism Early Warning Group programme was migrated to DHS and expanded to cover 56 high threat urban areas. The TRC worked with these 56 cities to develop early warning and intelligence centres that became the precursor the national Fusion Centre network.

Mirror Image Training

The TRC developed the renowned Mirror Image training program in 2001 to allow military, intelligence, security and first responder personnel to better understand the international terrorist threat. Participants were subjected to an intense immersion programme where they were trained to think and act like the adversary and adopt their tactics, techniques, and procedures. TRC Mirror Image training became a US Army Foundry course, was featured in major news media, and became the most popular training course the TRC ever developed.

RealNews List

The TRC provided a free daily news clipping service on a variety of global security issues. An archive of several hundred thousand clippings was available via the TRC web site. The mailing of the TRC free daily news clipping service, became known as the ‘early bird of global risk issues’.

Project Paediatric Preparedness

The TRC ‘Project Paediatric Preparedness’ report responded to emergency preparedness and response planning, technology investments, and training frequently, in respect to the unique requirements of responding to paediatric victims of a larger scale terrorist attack. The project explained these unique needs and gaps, and provided a foundation for homeland security planning for paediatric victims of terrorism. The final report described the minimum capabilities essential for emergency response to paediatric victims. The report laid out fifteen Functional Areas for paediatric response – general areas describing functions, tasks, and missions of emergency response. This report is available on the TRC website.

Lecture Series

The TRC developed a lecture series, that brought together a wide array of experts to discuss emerging threats. These lectures were then released as audio downloads on the site. Popular speakers from the lecture series included Brian Michael Jenkins, Rohan Gunaratna, and Hekmat Karzai.

2005 (US Capitol Flag Honour)

In 2005, to honour of TRC’s contributions to the first responder community through the development of the RKB system, it received a US flag that had been flown over the US Capitol building (one of more than 100,000 such flags flown annually).

2009 Onwards

Early in 2009, none of the TRC founders were still involved with the centre. The TRC ceased operations in 2010 at the discretion of new owners and managers.

In April 2012, the founders of the TRC announced it was being reconstituted as a non-profit at http://www.terrorism.org. The new focus was on sponsoring research publications, and facilitating research. In December 2014, the TRC was included as a collaborating partner with the Microsimulation & Risk Modelling Group at the University of Wollongong. The project with them is assessing the tactics and counter tactics involved in lone wolf knife attacks on the public.

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