Conference room off NORC lobby NORC state-of-the-art secure server room
Writing on the whiteboard, NORC Bethesda office
An impromptu meeting in the NORC lobby
Key in doorknob


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:

    Representative Projects

    Argonne National Laboratory Impact Evaluation. In collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory senior leadership, SEE is objectively evaluating the impact of Argonne’s scientific and technological research for multiple stakeholders within and beyond the Chicago area. More

    Development and Evaluation of the Hurricane Recovery Program Community Resilience Pilot. The ability of a community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a natural disaster is a critical piece of resilience. Within these frameworks, increasing priority is being placed on community-based approaches to resilience, where the strength of networks and their sustainability plays a major role in the community’s overall resilience. More


    News The Washington Post: The GSS asks how and where people can feel safe More
    Posted: 6.4.2014 4:45PM
    News The Huffington Post: Asking how safe Americans feels, with NORC research and surveys More
    Posted: 4.22.2014 4:25PM
    News Scientific American: The ecology of gun violence discussed, with GSS data More
    Posted: 7.27.2012 3:40PM
    News The Atlantic: Shifting perceptions on gun violence, with considerations made possible by the GSS More
    Posted: 7.25.2012 3:06PM
    News The Diane Rehm Show on NPR: Discussing gun control in an election year, with GSS data More
    Posted: 7.25.2012 2:57PM


    Jeffrey Hackett

    (312) 759-4266