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The 2020 edition of ASPI’s Counterterrorism yearbook considers three emerging themes that are matters of concern in the current security environment—namely, the demise of the Islamic State (IS) ‘caliphate’ and what that means globally and regionally for Australia, the increased threat from right-wing extremism, and the role of technology in propagating violent extremist ideologies.

In 2020, the character of terrorism will continue to evolve and take on a more dispersed and diversified face.

The threat of terrorism in Australia is likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future. A variety of factors influence the domestic security environment, including offshore groups, aspirational and prevented travellers to conflict zones, and possible returnees from Syria and Iraq.

While maintaining its geographic focus, the Yearbook now includes thematic chapters on mental health, strategic policing, the media, the terror–crime nexus and terrorist innovation.

These new thematic chapters have been included to encourage governments to consider more proactive CT agendas that move beyond the current focus on disrupting plots and discouraging people from joining and supporting terrorist groups. The focus here has been on promoting new thinking on how to deal with emergent areas of concern, such as comorbidity of mental health, use of gaming platforms, and artificial intelligence.

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