Richard Legault, Ph.D., is S&T’s Senior Science Advisor for Social Sciences in the Social Science Technology Center (SS-TC). He focuses on identify future needs of DHS in Social, Behavioral, and Economic Science as well as leading a team of experts that provide scientific advice and technical direction throughout S&T and DHS, and among national and international partners. Some current and past program topics include systematic assessments of major security programs; evaluations of technology use; developing threat analysis systems for federal law enforcement; violence prevention, human trafficking; terrorism data and analysis; communication between federal disaster response entities; influence and disinformation campaigns; evaluation research; and technology acceptance and use research. He also provides advice and guidance on statistical and methodological matters at DHS and represents S&T on a number of national and international working groups, is the co-chair and founder of the Five Country Research and Development Network (5RD) on Countering Violent Extremism, and a board member for the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE).
Rik has extensive experience in the application and management of quantitative and qualitative research methods. He has performed research in quantitative analysis of survey data, firearms ownership, policy evaluation, data usage and measurement, organizational violence, terrorism, and violence reduction strategies. He has published a book, book chapters, and number of articles on these topics in peer reviewed journals, including The Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Criminology and Public Policy, Crime and Delinquency, The Journal of Homeland Security, The Journal of Peace Research, and The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. He has also been invited to lecture on applied methods for using quantitative analysis and large data by the University of Arizona (FBI, U.S. Army), the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, and Pacific Northwest National Lab, among others. Prior to his numerous positions at DHS, he was on the faculty at the University of Maryland where he was a principal investigator or co-PI for a number of projects including the Terrorism and Preparedness Data Resource Center and the Empirical Analysis of Improvised Explosive Devices project. He was also a statistical and methodological advisor for the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior project at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management. Prior to this work, he was an assistant editor at the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics at the University at Albany. Rik is also currently serving as the Director of Operations for the 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the New York Air National Guard. He has over 32 years of combined active duty and reserve military experience.
Rik received his Ph.D. from the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, in 2006. His Dissertation was entitled An Analysis of Trends and Measurement of Household Gun Ownership in the General Social Surveys: A Logistic Time Series Approach. His M.A. in Criminal Justice was conferred in 2001, and B.A. in Sociology was conferred with honors by the College of Saint Rose in 1998. In his spare time, Rik enjoys spending a lot of time at local ice rinks watching his son and wife play hockey as well as spending time outdoors, especially backpacking and kayaking in the Adirondack mountains.