Measuring “Success” in Countering Terrorism (hidden)

Published: July 2018    |    By: Benoît Gomis    |    Vol. 66 No. 1


A rise or fall in the number of perpetrated terrorist attacks is too often used as the main metric for “success” or “failure” in countering terrorism. The reality is far more nuanced. After discussing the purpose of evaluating counterterrorism (CT) policies (What for?), the actors best placed to carry out those reviews (Who?), the spectrum of actions that need to be addressed (What?) and the key obstacles that at times prevent thorough policy evaluations from taking place in North America and Western Europe (Why not?), this paper examines the main quantitative and qualitative metrics that can be used in that process.

About the Author

Benoît Gomis is a researcher on organized crime and terrorism. He is a research associate at Simon Fraser University, where he focuses on the illicit tobacco trade, and an adjunct instructor at American University, where he teaches an MA course on researching terrorism. Benoît is also a senior fellow with the Canadian International Council (CIC), an associate fellow with Chatham House, an independent consultant and the author of Counterterrorism: Reassessing the Policy Response (Taylor & Francis, 2015), which he wrote as a visiting scholar at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS). He is a frequent contributor to Jane’s Intelligence ReviewWorld Politics Review and the international media. He previously worked at Chatham House, the North American Treaty Organization (NATO)Parliamentary Assembly and the French Ministry of Defence. He was educated at Sciences Po in Aix-en-Provence, Loyola University Chicago and the London School of Economics and Political Science.