DHS’s plan for countering violent extremism

The regime’s Department of Homeland Security CVE plan for keeping Americans safe is worth reading.

If, having read the preface below, you wish to read the entire 38-pages document, you will find it here.

WARNING: Although written in English, it is not a dialect that ordinary citizens, who are not D.C. apparatchiks, will find generally clear, nor enlightening (e.g., a subcommittee was “stood up to act as an incubator of ideas”).  That’s because, in part, the objective here is to squeeze more money out of Congress.  In that, it will likely succeed.    


    In November 2015, Jeh C. Johnson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (the Department), directed the Homeland Security Advisory Council (“HSAC”), to establish a subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) that is focused on Countering Violent Extremism (“CVE”). The Subcommittee was stood up to act as an incubator of ideas for the new Office for Community Partnerships (DHS/OCP), and has worked to leverage outside expertise and new thinking to support and enhance as well as assist in reframing and re-envisioning, where necessary the Department’s CVE efforts.

    Specifically, the Subcommittee was asked to address how the Department can best support non-governmental initiatives that either directly or indirectly counter violent extremism, including:

  • Identifying opportunities or platforms useful for the Department’s facilitation of public-private partnerships with both technology and philanthropic sectors

  • The development of new networks and a framework for sustained dialogue and engagement with those partners to include non-governmental sectors

  • Other non-governmental sectors, besides technology and philanthropic, that should be leveraged for CVE and how the Department should engage them

  • How best to work with education and mental health professionals to help parents and schools understand how they can counter youth radicalization to violence

  • How the Department can inspire peer-to-peer attempts to challenge violent extremism through public-private partnerships


      This report focuses on the spread of violent extremist ideology and the recruitment of American youth to extremist groups, and how the Department can be a platform and an engine to leverage partnerships in the technology, health, education, communications, cultural, philanthropic, financial, and non-government sectors to counter such recruitment. While recognizing previous efforts – from those of the Spring 2010 Countering Violent Extremism Working Group to the more-recent Foreign Fighter Task Force – this report seeks to focus on discrete areas, separate and distinct than those undertaken in other efforts.

Subcommittee Findings

     To effectively address and conquer the challenge of violent extremism, our nation requires the full engagement of our whole community, and entities across sectors. Chief among these elements are the American people and the American private, non-governmental and academic sectors, working in partnership with the government. Today, more than ever, we must harness the power of American ingenuity, creativity, and resilience. We must engage, activate, and align the private and non-governmental and academic sectors to address violent extremism, and the threat that it poses – in all its forms, across all communities.

     Subcommittee Members recommend a range of initiatives to support the Department’s approach to the above focus areas, having solicited a broad array of views from leaders in the non-governmental, technology, philanthropic, public, health, and academic sectors.

     Notably, the Subcommittee unanimously recommends significantly increasing staffing funding by as much as $100 million for both grants and program administration for the DHS/OCP – charged with implementing CVE efforts and representing the Department within the newly designated CVE Task Force.  This funding would be used to develop a nationwide infrastructure of federal support to local community efforts, continue to spur innovation online and in the social sciences, and provide necessary grant funding to support non-profits and local governments in their CVE work. The current funding level of $10 million in FY16 for grant programs through DHS/OCP is insufficient to effectively counter the spread of violent extremist ideology in the United States, and does not in itself offer the chance to level – much less gain advantage against – increasingly aggressive efforts to recruit and radicalize our youth by violent extremist organizations at home and abroad.  Securing additional funding can help mitigate the threat of violent extremist ideologies but will require close and sustained coordination with Congress – potentially to include a new Congressional Liaison within DHS/OCP. This will include dedicated funding spanning all forms of violent extremism and funding for data and metrics such that future programing {sic} may be supported based on evidence.

     Just as significantly, while many related national security challenges (such as public health or climate change) receive funding for initiatives through private foundations and other non-profits, CVE receives very little. As such, in the immediate term, all of the weight of this challenge is on government to mobilize resources and encourage stronger private sector engagement. Given the credibility of non-government actors to achieve CVE objectives, and adaptive nature of private philanthropy, incentivizing their involvement will be paramount for success. Experts strongly recommend that government act quickly to enable a conducive environment for private sector action.

     Many experts expressed concerns that funding is tied to the same agencies that have law enforcement mandates or that CVE stigmatizes some of the very communities it seeks to help, notably the American Muslim communities. As noted in the recommendations, addressing the core of these perceptions and otherwise creating incentives for private foundations to help address this challenge cooperatively is critical if we are to have a lasting impact.

     This report seeks to catalyze efforts between the public and private sectors. The Subcommittee notes the need not just for a high volume of activities, but also for more targeted, professional, and comprehensive actions. Of note, better data analysis and use of innovative measures of effectiveness will be important to ensure future efforts are evidence-based.

     In addition, a common theme that underlies the majority of recommendations is the need to recognize the cultural and technological trends shaping identities of Millennials and to directly engage them in efforts.

     Also notable is what the government should not do, such as to act as the messenger (as opposed to empowering “credible messengers” or “influencers”). Further, government must avoid stigmatizing specific communities or those seeking mental health services and ensure adherence to the privacy restrictions inherent in The Privacy Act and The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

     The use of social media and technology are part of the challenge, the Department must fully understand and leverage social media in its policy and programmatic activities. To generate new ideas and bring additional expertise to the Department’s CVE work in this sector, the Subcommittee spoke with a range of experts in digital marketing and branding, technology, and social media.

     The United States Government must take all forms of violent extremism and radicalization seriously, prioritizing those forms that pose the greatest threats to safety and security, most urgently.

     Ultimately, the approaches this report recommends for the Department will help it evolve over time and adapt to the changing nature of violent extremism itself, namely, the convergence and alliances of violent extremist groups across the full spectrum of grievances: To include those that espouse and/or undertake violence justified through various ideologies, to include anarchists, sovereign citizens, white-supremacists, and others.

     The subcommittee believes that the U.S. Government needs to build mechanisms for animating state, local, civil society, and the private sector as key enablers to adapt to this new era of challenges. This report seeks to assist in that effort. Based on these themes, and in light of the functional areas requested by the Secretary for examination, the Subcommittee respectfully submits the following recommendations.

The Executive Summary comes next.  Here’s a tease (it mentions “experts and leaders”) that should keep you reading: “The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) engaged with a wide range of experts and leaders to assess the status of efforts to counter violent extremism in the Homeland.”

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