Katharine Petrich, Ph.D.


Northeastern University

Phone: 2067147646

City: San Jose, California - 95126

Country: United States

About Me:

Katharine Petrich holds a PhD from Northeastern University's Dept of Political Science, specializing in International Relations. Her academic work is primarily focused on terrorism and transnational crime in Latin America and Africa. Other current research projects also include how insurgencies convert into conventional conflicts following the Maoist model in South Asia. Kate has worked with the US Department of Justice, the US Department of State, USMA Modern War Institute, and the Hudson Institute on a variety of projects spanning topics from insurgency to special operations. From 2006-2014, she was based in San Diego, where she earned a BA (History/Political Science) and a MA (International Relations) from the University of San Diego. In San Diego, she worked with the Trans-Border Institute as a researcher, documenting, recording, and coding homicide victims of cartel related violence. She contributed extensively to the Justice in Mexico News Monitor project, writing articles about narco-violence based on Spanish-language Mexican news. More recently her work has been published in War on the RocksStrategy Bridgeand in several peer reviewed publications.

Research Interests


Political Violence

Conflict Processes & War

Crime Politics

African Politics

Latin American And Caribbean Politics

Crime-Terror Nexus


Transnational Organized Crime

Money Laundering

Arms Trafficking

Drug Trafficking

Counterterrorism And Counterinsurgency

Terrorism And Insurgency



Countries of Interest





My Research:

My research is primarily concerned with international security issues, particularly those concerning disruptive non-state organizations (terrorists and transnational organized criminals) and asymmetric conflicts. I am interested in the developing regions of South Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Current projects include an exploration of the tactical and strategic shifts of insurgent forces, written with the USMA Modern War Institute, and dissertation research on the criminal diversification of transnational terrorist organizations. Previous projects include an examination of using special operations forces to combat the crime-terror nexus.  



(2018) AL-SHABAAB’S MATA HARI NETWORK, War on the Rocks

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, I find that the terrorist group al-Shabaab has contracted Nairobi's sex workers as intelligence gatherers.