Terrorism Research Center

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Group.png Terrorism Research Center   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Founder• Matthew Devost
• Neal Pollard
• Brian Houghton

Not to be confused by the Terrorism Research Initiative

The Terrorism Research Center is a Washington DC based private terrorism research institute founded in 1996. Today it is part of Total Intel, which is in turn owned by Prince Group, the holding company behind Xe (Blackwater).


According to its own account the Center was established in 1996, and according to Domain Tools, its website was created on 31 October 1996. Press reports suggest that the Center was founded by Matthew Devost, Neal Pollard and Brian Houghton, all of whom are described in press reports as directors of the Centre in its early years.[1] The first reference to Devost – who emerges as the key figure behind the company - as a director of the Center, was on CNN on 5 January 2000.[2]

According to the Washington Post, the Center worked on $1.5 million worth of contracts with the US government between 2000 and 2007, mainly from agencies like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Customs and the U.S. Special Operations Command buying its data subscription or other services.[3]

In February 2007 the Center was bought up by Erik Prince’s Prince Group and merged with another Devost company Technical Defense, and Cofer Black's consulting group, the Black Group.[4] The new group company Total Intel is managed by Devost, but headed by former CIA man Robert Richer, and chaired by Cofer Black.


According to its website the Center offers the following services:

  • Research, Development and Planning
  • Security Consulting and Assessment
  • Training & Awareness
  • Intelligence and Analysis


According to the Center’s website, its has provided support to the following organizations:

  • President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • National Reconnaissance Office
  • Defense Information Systems Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Academies of Science
  • Metro Boston Transit Authority
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • State Department
  • Department of Justice
  • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
  • Treasury Department
  • The White House
  • Office of Homeland Security
  • US Coast Guard Intelligence
  • Department of Transportation
  • Defense Science Board
  • Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • National Security Agency
  • Office of Secretary of Defense
  • British Ministry of Defence
  • Swedish Ministry of Defence
  • Swedish Agency for Civil Emergency Planning
  • Swedish Confederation of Employers
  • Swedish Commission on Vulnerability and Security
  • National Research Council
  • Georgetown University
  • Oklahoma University
  • American University
  • George Washington University
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office Terrorism Early Warning Group
  • Numerous Fortune 500 customers
  • Numerous federal, state and local first responder organizations




Donald Hewitt is Principal Consultant for Proconsul, Incorporated. He has over thirty years' experience in a variety of technical and management disciplines. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science Degree from the Sloan School of Management, also at MIT. As a Distinguished Military Graduate, he received a commission in the U.S. Army, where he served for five years. His final assignment was at the U.S. Army Military Personnel Center, the Army's largest data processing installation. He was involved both in software development and planning, and was a co-author of the Army' Master Plan for Enlisted Systems. He left the Army in 1978 as a Captain. Mr. Hewitt is also the TRC Program Manager for the Project Responder Knowledgebase, which will provide product and research information to the First Responder and homeland defense community.

  • Ed Reed, Program Manager, Terrorism Early Warning Group Expansion Project

Ed Reed is the Program Manager for the Terrorism Early Warning Group (TEW) Expansion Project. Previously, he was the Program Manager Pierce County, Washington Department of Emergency Management for seven years. During that timeframe, he successfully established and administered a TEW, modeled after the Los Angles TEW group. Mr. Reed graduated from Eastern Washington State College and received a Master's of Science degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University in 1990. He served in the US Army for 28 years in a variety of command and staff assignments both in the US and overseas, he retired from the Army in 1995 as Colonel. His military awards include; two awards of the Silver Star Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, In 2002 he was recognized as Pierce County's top employee with a Standing Ovation award.

Dr. Maria Powell is a Senior Director with the Terrorism Research Center. Her main portfolio includes work on emergency responder capabilities based needs and planning, especially in the pediatric arena, and a specialized regional and functional focus for TRC's Intelligence and Analysis Division. Dr Powell focuses regionally on terrorism and security issues on Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, and the Caucasus, and functionally on WMD issues, especially homeland security, bio-terrorism and agricultural terrorism. She writes articles on these issues weekly for the Weekly Analysis Reports (WAR), and contributes to Group Profiles, Intelligence Reports and Terrorist Attacks. Dr Powell conceived and planned Project Pediatric Preparedness, in cooperation with the Tulsa Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) to examine technical and operational challenges and solutions for pediatric emergency preparedness and responses to terrorism. Dr Powell has also worked for five years as an original member of the Project Responder Team, an ongoing program to define requirements and priorities, and develop a national technology plan and knowledge base, to guide federal science and technology development for emergency response to catastrophic terrorism. Prior to joining the Terrorism Research Center, Dr. Powell was a Project Analyst / Director with Science Applications International Corporation from 1997 to 2003 where she specialized in terrorism, the Balkans Peacekeeping Environment Training Program, nuclear strategies, biological technologies, non-lethal weapons, and the Revolution in Military Affairs. Dr. Powell has also worked as an intern on de-mining issues in the former Department of Humanitarian Affairs (now the Office for Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs) of the United Nations in New York. Dr. Powell received her B.A. in Russian and Political Science from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. She pursued both her M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland where she focused on terrorism, police and intelligence cooperation to combat terrorism in the European Community, and the interplay between international humanitarian law and arms control through a comparative study of the landmine and chemical weapons regimes.

  • Lesley Zareh, Director of Operations - Responder Knowledge Base

As Director of Operations for the RKB, Lesley Zareh is responsible for the functional team, maintaining and expanding content relevant to the Emergency Responder community such as products, grants, certifications, and standards. Her wide range of previous experience includes an internship with Late Night with Conan O'Brien as well as Manager of Administration and Operations for The FeedRoom, an internet news operation. She has a Bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in English Literature and a Master's Degree in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University. As a student of Matt Devost at Georgetown, she became interested in Homeland Security and began her career at TRC in 2003 working for the Responder Knowledge Base project.

Jennifer Demmert Hardwick is a Senior Director at the Terrorism Research Center. Previously, she spent a brief period as a Department of Defense/Homeland Security contractor working on missile defense policy and less-than-lethal technology in aviation security. For four years prior to that, she was the Director of Operations for Pinkerton Global Intelligence Services (PGIS), focusing on sales and marketing efforts, but also serving as an editor-in-chief and a guest analyst for European security concerns. She was also awarded a Manfred WÃrner Seminar fellowship for a security policy program in Germany and Belgium. She was also the Product Development Manager at PGIS. Prior to this position, she worked for The Kroll-O'Gara Company's political risk assessment division, Kroll Information Services (KINS), serving in a variety of positions: Junior Analyst for Western Europe; Sr. Analyst for Europe; Director of Kroll Travel Watch city advisory service; and Director of Sales, Marketing and Client Accounts.

She is the current Chairman of the National Capital Chapter of ASIS International and a member of their Countering Terrorism subcommittee. She received her Bachelor's of Arts from The George Washington University in International Affairs with a double concentration in Intercultural Understanding and Western Europe and a double minor in German and Political Science. She speaks German fluently and Spanish proficiently.

As Director, David Niccolini is responsible for managing the Sales and Marketing Department's infrastructure, which includes client account management, driving sales of TRC intelligence products, creating, developing and maintaining TRC marketing campaigns and exploring strategic initiatives. David Niccolini joined the Terrorism Research Center, Inc. in 2005 after many years in the pharmaceutical industry with MedPointe Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (formerly Carter-Wallace, Inc.) and Janssen Pharmaceutica (a Johnson and Johnson Operating Company) in a career that included sales, training, management, and marketing. During his tenure in the industry, he won numerous sales and productivity awards. Prior, Mr. Niccolini was a consultant and sales manager with a small firm based within the utilities industry. His work included process engineering, change management, and basic software implementation. David Niccolini graduated from Duke University Cum Laude with a major in History and minors in both Chemistry and Classical Civilizations. While at Duke, his studies focused on pre-medicine, and included bio-medical research.

Mr. DeMarce assists in the development and management of TRC intelligence capabilities and analytic activities, and conducts research, analysis, and consultancy on a range of terrorism issues, terrorist groups, and terrorist individuals. In addition, Mr. DeMarce assists in development and management of TRC terrorism threat analysis and forecasting services; TRC terrorism red teaming projects; the TRC terrorism research library; and TRC counterterrorism training and consultancy. Mr. DeMarce received an M.A. in Security Policy Studies from The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University with concentrations in Transnational Security and Political Psychology, and a B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College with a concentration in International Security. Mr. DeMarce's research interests center on terrorist individual and group psychologies and behaviors; theories of terrorism, political violence, and low-intensity conflict; transnational security issues; and international terrorism issues related to Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. His terrorism studies and Political Psychology coursework at the Elliott School was conducted largely under the instruction of Dr. Jerrold Post, a noted expert on terrorism/counterterrorism issues and terrorist psychology. Mr. DeMarce has written on such topics as counterterrorism psychological operations strategies targeting Hizballah; terrorist psychologies and behavior; the evolving threat of Al Qaeda; maritime terrorism; and the terrorism threat indications and warning intelligence processes.

Ms. Jung is a team leader for one of the two teams collecting content for the Responder Knowledge Base. She has a Bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Decision Sciences Management Information Systems and a minor in Information Technology. She began her career at TRC as an intern for the Responder Knowledge Base project.

Ms. Keating is responsible for the standards and certifications content, as well as gathering information regarding DHS SAFETY Act products and services. Her previous experience is varied: she worked extensively in higher education, specifically as a resident assistant and a graduate hall director; she was a graduate assistant in both research and teaching capacities while obtaining her master's degree; and she worked as an RKB intern for two years before starting full-time. She has a Bachelor's degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Political Science, and graduated from The University of Connecticut with a Master's Degree in Public Administration in 2006. Her master's capstone focused on how the Department of Homeland Security's grants and direct assistance programs have affected first responders in the state of Connecticut, given the goals of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8.

In addition to his role as KBA, Mr. Steckman serves as one of two Functional Team Leaders with the RKB. He graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a Bachelors of Foreign Service in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. He also received the equivalent of a Bachelors of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University in Computer Science. Hired at the Responder Knowledge Base in May of 2005 as a summer intern, Matthew was hired full time on the project in May of 2006. Bringing his past academic studies in technology and homeland security to the table, Matthew now helps to direct several aspects of the functional team including vendor contacts, market research DHS equipment selection guides, and research on decontamination and WMD detection equipment.

In this capacity Mr. Heminger serves as the watch and analytic fusion analyst for Terrorism Research Center. As the Global Fusion Center senior analyst he independently monitors, identifies, assesses, tracks, analyzes, and alerts customers and TRC leadership to existing and emerging terrorist and insurgent threats and attacks, political violence and instability, natural disasters, disease and illness outbreaks, war and other conflict. Previously, he served as an intelligence analysis for the Terrorism Research Center's Latin American desk. He graduated cum laude from Miami University with a major in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs. Mr. Heminger served as an intern for the United Nations Development Program before joining TRC.

Mr. Moran responsibilities at the Terrorism Research Center include the research and analysis of a wide range of terrorism and counterterrorism issues. Specifically, Mr. Moran focuses on how terrorist groups use the Internet. In this capacity, Mr. Moran conducts cyber investigations and forensics on suspected terrorist websites. In addition, Mr. Moran conducts research and analysis on homeland security and critical infrastructure protection issues in an attempt to follow trends in cybersecurity issues. Mr. Moran received an M.A. in Security Studies, with honors, from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service where he focused on Technology and National Security Policy. While at Georgetown, Mr. Moran studied under Matthew Devost, Roger Cressey, and Richard Clarke. Mr. Moran also received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences. Between his undergraduate studies and his graduate studies, Mr. Moran spent seven years working for software and Information Technology consulting companies. He worked on technology projects for a variety of customers including the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Army, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Agency.

Ms. Hatwani is responsible for maintaining and developing content on the RKB with a concentration in Training, Standards, and Certifications. She also serves as liaison to the InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (IAB) for content on the RKB. Her previous work experiences include serving as an analyst on a project for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and administrative work in the Cardiac/Catheterization Lab at the Winchester Medical Center. She holds a degree in Health Information Technology and attended George Mason University with a concentration on Information Technology and Computer Systems. She began her career with Terrorism Research Center with an internship at the Responder Knowledge Base project.

Mr. Kovner manages the Terrorism Knowledge Base project and conducts research and analysis on Iran and a range of Middle East terrorist groups. Mr. Kovner also authors weekly War Reports on Middle East security matters. Mr. Kovner previously worked at Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. in Tampa, FL and Brown, Rudnick Berlack Israels LLP in Boston, MA and interned with the Strategic Assessment Center at SAIC in McLean, VA. He has an M.A. in Security Policy Studies from The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, and a B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has intermediate Arabic skills.

As a first-generation Egyptian-American, Ms. Dahdouh is a fluent Arabic speaker and has lived in the region for two years prior to joining TRC. A Fulbright Scholar to Egypt in 2005-06, Dahdouh researched political reform and human rights development in the Middle East. With a Bachelor's in Law & Society and Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she focused in International Relations between the US and the Middle East. Her studies included security threat analysis, prospects for democratic change, and political economy in the Middle East. Dahdouh is an intelligence analyst for the Middle East and North Africa regions.

Ms. Dos Santos is responsible for the covering of Western Europe. She monitors and examines all issues related to the transnational security of the region. She focuses on the rise of Islamic extremism in Europe, radicalization and indoctrination processes, the correlation between terrorist networks and organized crime syndicates and other emerging terrorism threats. She also studies counter-terrorism tactics used by European law enforcement officials, different domestic and transnational cooperative measurements and judicial approaches to the terrorism concern. In addition, Ms. Dos Santos heads the Terrorism Research Center's internship program recruiting and managing a large number of interns each year. Prior to becoming an analyst, Ms. Dos Santos served as the primary research assistant for special projects and prior to that she conducted extensive research as a regional intern for Middle Eastern affairs. She has also assisted the company's sales and marketing efforts supporting client maintenance and retention programs. Ms. Dos Santos possesses a wide-range experience from her extensive travels. She comes from a multi-cultural background having grown up in both Scandinavia and West Africa. She speaks English, Swedish, Portuguese, and Creole fluently and is also proficient in Danish, Norwegian, and Spanish. Ms. Dos Santos studied at Stockholm University in Sweden before transferring to Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts as an International Student. She holds a BA in International Relations with minors in Philosophy and Portuguese studies.

  • Huda Bhatti, Knowledge Base Analyst - Responder Knowledge Base

Ms. Bhatti is responsible for user management, general product support and coordinated customer service for a major DHS direct-assistance program which provided responders with around thirty million dollars worth of critical equipment. She has previously handled the administrative tasks of the project.

Mr. Edgemon earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Master's degree in Genetics from the George Washington University. He spent several years doing biomedical laboratory research at the National Institutes of Heath working for both the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases. As a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, Keith holds the distinction of being the RKB's sole staff emergency responder.

Molly Wesley, Knowledge Base Analyst - Responder Knowledge Base Ms. Wesley recently graduated with a Political Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She began her career by interning with the Terrorism Research Center, the Department of Defense Office of African Affairs, and working for the Terrorism Knowledge Base.

Krishna Manek, Knowledge Base Analyst - Responder Knowledge Base Along with her multilingual (English, Hindi, Gujarati, etc.) skills, Ms. Manek brings expertise in the field of terrorism and homeland security. She has traveled to South Asia and done extensive research on its economic development, sectarian violence and nuclear proliferation. In addition, she possesses well rounded knowledge about international political economy, international trade economics, and international government relations. Originally from Mumbai, India, she graduated with Honors in Business Administration from Elon University with concentrations in Finance and MIS in 2004; and is now pursuing Masters Degree at University of Cincinnati in International Affairs and expected to graduate in May 2007.

Ms. Ortiz provides priority alerts consisting of relevant news and security updates to clients. She graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a major in Political Science. Her undergraduate research culminated in a thesis that focused on the U.S. "war on drugs" and Colombian political violence. She is currently a second year Master's student at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. Her topical focus is International Security, with a concentration on transnational security issues. She is currently working on her Master's thesis, which focuses on U.S. foreign policy and the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism. Previously, Ms. Ortiz held internships at the National Defense University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Mr. Thomas provides real-time priority alerts and intelligence analysis tailored to meet clients' demands. Mr. Thomas received a B.S. in Criminology with a minor in International Relations from Northern Illinois University and currently is a candidate for an M.A. in Security Policy Studies at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Prior to joining the TRC-GFC team, Mr. Thomas interned for TRC under the guidance of Ms. Hardwick and Mr. Demarce.

Ms. Rogan is currently employed at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), working with the Transnational Radical Islamism Project. Her main research focus is on Jihadism and the Internet. Hanna Rogan has previously held various positions in the Norwegian Defense, among them officer in the Norwegian Army/KFOR, Kosovo, and instructor at the Norwegian Defence Intelligence and Security School. Ms. Rogan holds a BA in Linguistics and Translation Studies from Agder College, Norway, and is currently pursuing her MA in Arabic at the University of Oslo, Norway. She has lived in Cairo, Egypt and Damascus, Syria, and has taught Arabic at the University of Oslo. Other language skills, used professionally in teaching and translation, include Norwegian (native), English, French, and Albanian.

Contact details

Terrorism Research Center, Inc.
5765-F Burke Centre Parkway - PMB 331
Burke, VA 22003


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Terrorism Research Centre, extract from The "Terrorism" Industrybook extract1990Edward S. Herman


  1. see for example ‘Security Paramount to Design of New San Francisco Airport Terminal’ San Jose Mercury News, 22 November 2000 and Anna Badkhen, ‘Experts: Terrorists' Only Goal Is To Inspire Fear’, The Moscow Times, 16 September 2000 for references to Pollard and Houghton respectively
  2. As We Begin New Century, Pentagon Prepares for War of Future CNN 5 January 2000; Wednesday 8:28 pm Eastern Time
  3. Dana Hedgpeth, ‘Xe (Blackwater)'s Owner Has Spies for Hire’, Washington Post, 3 November 2007
  4. Dana Hedgpeth, ‘Xe (Blackwater)'s Owner Has Spies for Hire’, Washington Post, 3 November 2007