The growing interconnectedness between a stable society and diminishing natural energy resources has added new complexities to long-standing national security challenges. At the same time, vulnerability to cyber attacks on energy infrastructure and events like 9/11 have dramatically altered our sense of national security and sparked contentious debate about appropriate responses.
At NORC, we bring our security, energy and environmental researchers together, as one interdisciplinary team, to study security and safety issues that span national, regional, and state levels. Drawing from additional expertise in regulation, healthcare, international development, and behavioral psychology, NORC offers risk assessment and behavior analysis—as well as our advanced capabilities in data collection—to help guide effective security policymaking. Our goal is to help identify secure, sustainable solutions and understand how communities can develop greater long-term resiliency.
Not long after its founding in 1941, NORC gained prominence for its wartime public opinion polling and the marriage of survey research with data quantification. During those years, NORC conducted nearly 200 surveys on war- and security-related problems and post-war conditions, as well as studies on foreign policy and political attitudes. In the 1950s, during the height of cold war anxiety, NORC worked with the U.S. Military and the National Academy of Sciences to determine how citizens might react to a direct attack on American soil. It marked the first time interviewers entered a disaster zone within 24 hours to conduct on-site surveys, yielding results that reversed assumptions about behavior during these events. NORC also played an important role in studies examining the Cuban missile crisis, the John F. Kennedy assassination, and, more recently, the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Our probing of disaster response and how best to manage security threats continues today with studies like the Development and Evaluation of Hurricane Recovery Program Community Resilience Pilot with the American Red Cross, and the 2011 report, Civil Liberties and Security: 10 years after 9/11, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. NORC’s vital work on security issues is enriched by public/private collaborations with organizations launched by our Security, Energy and Environment (SEE) Department: the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and First Responder Individual Engagement and Network Development (FRIEND).
Specific areas of expertise include: