Welcome to the Violent Non-State Actor Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Data Portal
The prospect of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism has been a source of policy, strategic, and policy concern since the mid-1990s. In the course of ongoing research conducted by the Unconventional Weapons & Technology Division (UWT) of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), it became clear that despite extensive expenditures of money and effort by a multitude of agencies and institutions, there was still very little substantive empirical analysis on this topic. Most discussion of CBRN terrorism phenomenon was theorizing based on a limited number of high-profile events or speculation based on non-CBRN analyses.
UWT was determined to address the concerns about CBRN terrorism in an analytically robust fashion. However, when UWT researchers moved to address this issue, it became clear there were no databases allowing for robust quantitative (or even qualitative) analysis. Existing datasets were either extremely narrow (e.g., collecting only on biological incidents over a limited time) or recorded too few variables to be useful (e.g., chronologies). Most datasets treated all sources as being of equivalent reliability and competence and were generally too inclusive (little effort to validate event details or occurrence). In addition, with the exception of START’s Global Terrorism Database (GTD), the datasets were not being revised or updated.
In order to provide a basis for rigorous empirical analysis of the CBRN terrorism phenomenon, UWT developed three databases: Profiles Of Incidents involving CBRN and Non-state actors (POICN); Chemical And Biological Non-State Adversaries Database (CABNSAD); and Radiological And Nuclear Non-State Actor Database (RANNSAD). These databases represent the largest open source publicly available databases on ideologically motivated CBRN events and individuals who pursue and/or use CBRN weapons.
Under the auspices of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)) Basic Research Office (BRO), the Violent Non-State Actor CBRN Data Portal serves as the permanent home and provides an online presence for these CBRN databases.
For the users who are familiar with the Profiles Of Incidents involving CBRN and Non-state actors (POICN) database, the Violent Non-State Actor CBRN Event Database (CBRN Event Database) can be seen as the online version of the POICN database. The CBRN Event Database includes the same 120-plus variables contained in the POICN database; however, the CBRN Event Database is being updated consistently to provide the users with latest information on both new cases as well as additional information uncovered about old cases. Additionally, users are able to easily access the CBRN Event Database through the CBRN Data Portal, perform queries on the database, and view event records online.
As mentioned above, the CBRN Event Database currently only contains ideologically motivated CBRN events. We are, however, working to expand the database in the near future to include CBRN events involving/carried out by non-ideologically motivated non-state actors (e.g., criminals and state proxies).
Finally, if a user would like to perform a more nuanced analyses, one can contact the research team for assistance. The research team will be happy to provide you with responses to your information request or, if you desire, provide you a file containing relevant data.
We have developed the Violent Non-State Actor CBRN Actor Database (CBRN Actor Database) to replace the Chemical And Biological Non-State Adversaries Database (CABNSAD) and Radiological And Nuclear Non-State Actor Database (RANNSAD). To accomplish this, we first carefully harmonized and integrated all data contained in CABNSAD and RANNSAD (keeping as much of the variable from the old databases as possible). We also harmonized the variable coding of the CBRN Actor Database with the CBRN Event Database to ensure seamless interactivity between the two databases. We then brought the CBRN Actor Database up to date and integrated it into the CBRN Data Portal.
As with the CBRN Event Database, the CBRN Actor Database currently only contains ideologically motivated actors. We are currently also working to expand the database in the near future to include non-ideologically motivated CBRN actors – such as criminals and state proxies.
Finally, again, if a user would like to perform a more nuanced analyses, one can contact the research team for assistance. The research team will be happy to provide you with responses to your information request or, if you desire, provide you a file containing relevant data.