Understanding Lone Wolves: Towards a Theoretical Framework for Comparative Analysis

Alastair Reed 2 May 2016

By Jan Leenaars and Alastair Reed.

Lone wolf terrorists have long been a troublesome issue for policymakers and intelligence agencies: their isolated and withdrawn nature makes it difficult to proactively gather information about their potential malicious intentions. This ICCT Report argues for the need for comparative research in order to increase our understanding of lone wolves. There is significant information available with regard to other lone actor phenomena, not directly linked to terrorism, which have been extensively researched, and can help us gain a deeper insight into particular aspects of lone wolf terrorism. This paper aims to outline an initial theoretical framework that will allow for comparisons between lone wolf terrorism and related non-terrorist lone actor phenomena, which can enable policy transfer with regard to detection, prevention and treatment.

Read the Report.

How to cite: Leenaars, J. and A Reed. “Understanding lone wolves: Towards a theoretical framework for comparative analysis”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (2016).