The Arc of Instability: Militancy Across South Asia

The Arc of Instability project examines militancy in South Asia, exploring trends and strategic shifts across a wide array of militant actors.

The Arc of Instability project is a joint initiative undertaken by the CSIS Transnational Threats Project (TNT) and the CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program.  This project will examine militancy in South Asia, paying attention to trends and strategic shifts across a wide array of militant actors.  Focusing on Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, this project will draw upon historical analysis, social science research, expert interviews, and fieldwork to identify emerging trends in South Asian militant behavior—drawing connections to other pertinent geographic areas (e.g., Central Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa), to transnational phenomena (e.g., social media, crime), and provide observations concerning the future environment.  

A CSIS report, to be released in April, 2013 will examine developments and trends that may impact the trajectory of militant behaviors in the next 1-5 years, and provide recommendations for law enforcement, counterterrorism practitioners, and policymakers to capitalize on them. Additionally, the project team will release on an ongoing basis audio and video podcasts highlighting insights from field research. Briefings on interim findings are provided to project partners and relevant audiences throughout the year.

To help guide and shape the project, the research team has assembled a distinguished group of former counterterrorism practitioners and regional experts to serve on the project’s Senior Advisory Group (SAG). Led by Arnaud de Borchgrave, director of the Transnational Threats project, and by Juan Zarate, former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, the SAG provides guidance and substantive input to the research team.

This project is codirected by Thomas M. Sanderson, co-director of the CSIS Transnational Threats Project and Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, director of the CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program.