The Complexity of Violent Extremism
The threat posed by violent extremism is neither constrained by international borders nor limited to any single ideology. Groups and individuals inspired by a range of religious, political, or other ideological beliefs have promoted and used violence against the homeland.
Increasingly sophisticated use of the Internet, mainstream and social media, and information technology by violent extremists adds an additional layer of complexity.
Partnering to Better Understand Violent Extremism
To counter violent extremism (CVE), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works with a broad range of partners to gain a better understanding of the behaviors, tactics, and other indicators that could point to potential terrorist activity within the United States, and the best ways to mitigate or prevent that activity.
We are an important partner in supporting the National Strategy on Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism, which President Obama released on Aug. 3, 2011.
Supporting Local Communities
As part of its effort to support local networks to counter violent extremism, DHS has launched a number of core initiatives:
- DHS Conferences and Workshops on CVE: With our federal partners, DHS hosts conferences and workshops for law enforcement to better educate them about CVE.
- Training Initiatives: DHS is working with DOJ, and has trained hundreds of thousands of front line officers on Suspicious Activities Reporting and CVE.
- Grants: DHS has prioritized prevention activities through our grants that directly support local law enforcement efforts to understand, recognize, prepare for, prevent, and respond to terrorist pre-cursor activity, and separately to raise public awareness and vigilance through the If You See Something, Say Something campaign.
DHS also has CVE partnerships with the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, and Australia, as well as partnerships with international law enforcement organizations such as Europol.
- For the past year, DHS, Europol, and E.U. partners have exchanged information on U.S. and E.U. based fusion center best practices, CVE training standards, and research and case studies, including a joint case study on the 2011 Norway attacks.
- DHS signed a U.S.-Australia Joint Statement on Countering Transnational Crime, Terrorism, and Violent Extremism in Canberra in May 2012.
- Since 2010, DHS has partnered with Canadian counterparts to share best practices and research related to CVE and promote community-based and community driven efforts.