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Homeland Security

Countering Violent Extremism: Understanding Violent Extremism

 Countering Violent Extremism

The first objective for Countering Violent Extremism is to support and coordinate efforts to better understand the phenomenon of violent extremism, including assessing the threat it poses to the nation as a whole and within specific communities.


The Department of Homeland Security, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), is improving our understanding of the means and mechanisms of violent extremism within the United States and its implications for our country.

This includes examining the dynamics of radicalization to violence, the role of social media, and reasons why some individuals affiliated with violent extremism may commit acts of violence while others may not. We believe a better understanding of violent extremism improves our capacity to disrupt and deter recruitment or individual mobilization to violence. Key initiatives include:

  • Strengthening intelligence analysis by developing case studies and unclassified publications about violent extremism incidents and indicators of domestic terrorist activities, identifying communities most impacted by violent extremism, and by assessing the capacity of state correctional organizations to detect and share information regarding violent extremism.
  • Sponsoring research through the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to develop a more complete understanding of violent extremism. Since 2009 S&T has produced more than 20 major projects or reports for DHS components and interagency partners, or the public, with additional reports now underway.
  • Developing an enhanced understanding of countering violent extremism (CVE) through discussions and coordination with international partners. Led by the DHS Office of Policy, we collaborate with international governments, law enforcement, and non-governmental organizations to gain greater insights and to understand violent extremism from a global perspective and techniques used abroad to counter it. This includes lessons learned and best practices regarding CVE programs and policy, and the facilitation of partnerships on CVE.
Last Published Date: November 12, 2015

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