Research Highlights / Full Story

Through a grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Dr. Shatakshee Dhongde, assistant professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts, and researchers from Georgia Tech are developing models to better assess the social, political, and economic factors that motivate state and non-state actors, such as nations or terrorist organizations, to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, also known as CBRN. The work will enhance the development of better predictive models designed to assess how and where CBRN weapons proliferate across the globe.

The three-year research effort is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and will be incorporated into the department's efforts to better assess factors affecting CBRN activity around the world. The DOD will also use the research to better integrate socio-economic modeling into its overall defense analysis and terrorist prediction efforts.

"There are numerous socio-economic factors such as poverty, lack of education, and political and ethnic fractionalization that may impact non-state actors to seek out and ultimately acquire CBRN weapons," notes Dhongde. "However, there are currently few models that properly address these factors. By developing models that better address them we can learn more about how they are acquired and help prevent their proliferation."

Dhongde's team is currently consolidating data to test the relationships between variables that may impact the acquisition and proliferation of CBRN weapons. The information will be incorporated into a comprehensive database that will be used to develop test models for analyzing trends and overall proliferation over time.

The work builds on previous research conducted by Dhongde on the analysis of changes in poverty and income inequality due to globalization.