About CIAG

Critical incidents have the potential for creating social trauma and undermining social trust in government – ultimately impacting community life and even the practice of democracy.

The Critical Incident Analysis Group works to understand the impacts of critical incidents on government and the societies they serve and to counteract these effects through the study of past incidents.

Located within the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, the Critical Incident Analysis Group (CIAG) is an interdisciplinary and inter-professional group of scholars and practitioners who work to understand the impact of “critical incidents” on people, communities and social structures. CIAG brings together physicians, social scientists, medical researchers, law enforcement specialists, policy makers, diplomats, philosophers, military leaders, historians, journalists, writers — and a host of others who are concerned about the profound impact of critical incidents. CIAG is thus an inter-disciplinary applied research and advisory body that combines the abilities of science and the humanities to understand and to serve.

CIAG has focused on time-limited, newsworthy, and provocative events, such as the siege in Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, the attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, the Aum Shinrikyo sarin attacks, Community and Public Health response to the West Nile Virus, the World Trade Center attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the potential for suicide bombing within the U.S. and hostage taking in Iraq.

mark_warnerI congratulate the Critical Incident Analysis Group (CIAG) for their continuing efforts to improve America’s readiness. The collective challenge facing our nation is to learn from our past crisis events in order to better prepare for future challenges. CIAG is dedicated to this principle and it is important. – Senator Mark R. Warner, Virginia


These critical incidents can bring us together or drive us apart. They can alter institutions and institutional relationships. They affect public trust. Ultimately, they confirm or confound our culture.

The historical precedent of critical incidents, such as terrorism, reveals a pattern of migration. For instance, by analyzing terrorist incidents in other areas, we hope to transform their experience to knowledge, with that knowledge ultimately leading to wisdom. As the world continues to face the threat of critical incidents, we are committed to understanding the phenomenon through critical incident analysis. By analyzing cases that could threaten our security, we may effectively anticipate, prevent, and manage these crises.