Carnegie Mellon University

Colin Clarke, "Terrorism Inc.: The Financing of Terrorism, Insurgency and Irregular Warfare"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 4:30-5:30pm, Baker Hall A53

This talk will provide an overview of how terrorists and insurgents fund their activities, what these groups do with the revenue they generate, and how this funding can be disrupted.  Threat finance is an ongoing game of “cat and mouse.”  Just as terrorists and insurgents are continually finding ways to adapt in order to evade law enforcement, security officials tasked with countering the financing of irregular warfare must rely on a range of countermeasures to deny, destroy, defend, detain, and disrupt.  Nation-states and the international community rely on both military and law enforcement, in addition to efforts to build institutional capacity, establish norms, implement policies, and enforce laws as part of a broader counter terrorist financing (CTF) framework.

This framework includes general crime fighting tools such as wiretaps and electronic surveillance, but also extends to sanctions and the freezing of funds and accounts.  In irregular warfare, terrorists, insurgents, guerillas, warlords, militias, and criminal organizations operate across the grey and dark economies and devote their finances to a range of asymmetric capabilities.  By tracing the groups’ patterns of financing, this research investigates terrorist and insurgent funding streams as well as the mechanisms in place to counter this funding.


Dr. Clarke is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation, where his research focuses on insurgency/counterinsurgency, unconventional/irregular/asymmetric warfare and a range of other national and international security issues and challenges. At the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, he is an affiliated scholar with research interests related to transnational terrorism and violent non-state actors. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches courses on international organized crime and threat finance. At Carnegie Mellon University, Clarke holds the position of lecturer and teaches courses related to U.S. foreign and security policy and American grand strategy. At New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, Clarke is an associate of the Initiative on the Study of Emerging Threats. He is the author of Terrorism, Inc.: The Financing of Terrorism, Insurgency, and Irregular Warfare, published in 2015 by Praeger Security International. Clarke received his Ph.D. in international security policy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Politics.