Violent extremism is an evolving threat and a complex challenge. We have seen ISIL attempt to inspire violence from afar through cyberspace. Meanwhile, events in Charleston, Baton Rouge and elsewhere show that violent extremism is not restricted to terrorism abroad and ISIL-inspired violence. As the threat has developed, so has our response.
Two weeks ago, the Administration issued strategic guidance updating the roles and responsibilities of the various departments and agencies that are working together, in partnership with local communities, to address this threat.
Today, the Department of Homeland Security released a comprehensive strategy that aligns with this guidance and builds on Secretary Johnson’s September 28, 2015 memorandum, titled “Building Community Partnerships to Counter Violent Extremism.” That memorandum gave us the strategic direction to take our CVE efforts to the next level and set up the Office for Community Partnerships, which has already developed the first federal grant program dedicated to supporting local CVE efforts.
The Department of Homeland Security Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism (285 KB PDF) recognizes the progress we have made, and lays the groundwork for the future of this critical mission. This document also acknowledges that as we develop our CVE programs, we will continue to make the appropriate privacy, civil rights and civil liberties considerations, working closely with both legal counsel and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
This document notes the importance of understanding the threat we face, putting us on track to further expand our research into violent extremism and advance our programs. It underscores the importance of keeping our local partners informed on the complex nature of terrorist recruitment and radicalization to violence. Through this strategy, we will strengthen our efforts by further improving oversight and coordination, ensuring that benchmarks and measures of performance inform our work, and integrating and unifying CVE planning, programming, budgeting, and execution across the Department.
As we continue to execute this important mission, discussion and dialogue is essential to success. We remain committed to engaging communities and building the trust that is fundamental to this work. This strategy affirms that we are protecting the homeland while upholding our values.
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