The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employs over 240,000 professionals dedicated to securing our borders, safeguarding aviation, responding to major disasters, defending our digital networks, and more. While the Department’s duties are extensive, the goal is clear: keeping America safe.
The Department’s most vital role is to protect our nation against terrorism, both foreign and domestic. This includes confronting everything from global jihadists to violent white supremacists, who threaten U.S. safety and security from within our own neighborhoods. Their violent rhetoric and hateful ideologies have no place in our society.
Here are four ways you might not know that DHS combats domestic terrorism:
1. DHS partners with organizations across the country to stop violent extremists from radicalizing and recruiting in our communities.
The Department’s Office for Community Partnerships (OCP) works to confront domestic terrorism by making communities more aware of the threat through targeted briefings, exercises, workshops, and training. The Office also helps them fight back against violent extremist propaganda and promote early intervention. OCP supports and enhances efforts by faith leaders, local government officials, and communities to address the root causes of the terror. OCP also operates the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program, which is helping to drive innovative solutions to deal with the problem at the grassroots level. This year 26 recipients nationwide were awarded CVE grants, 16 of which have applicability to mitigating all forms of violent extremism, including violent white supremacists.
2. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) disseminates relevant, timely intelligence information to keep our homeland safe.
I&A is charged with delivering unique intelligence to policymakers and partners nationwide—including to help them better understand and address issues like domestic terrorism. The Office works closely with state and local authorities and the private sector to ensure they are up-to-speed on domestic terrorist trends, tactics, and situations so that they can respond quickly and effectively. I&A also facilitates information from the local level back to Washington to make sure national-level decision-makers can respond quickly to emerging terror threats.
3. The Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (OSLLE) works directly with first responders who are on the frontlines to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism.
OSLLE drives proactive engagement with local law enforcement throughout the United States to respond to the unique homeland security challenges they face. This includes domestic terrorism. In communities big and small, OSLLE ensures law enforcement officials have the data and strategic insights needed to counter hateful groups that try to intimidate others through violence and do harm to innocent civilians.
4. DHS advances broader public awareness programs and activities to be a step ahead of violent extremists.
There are five key elements of our information-sharing architecture that strengthen communication throughout the homeland security community:
- National Network of Fusion Centers: Serve as focal points within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information.
- Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative: Implements a unified process for reporting, tracking, and accessing SAR in a manner that protects the privacy and civil liberties of Americans while also ensuring we can connect-the-dots to detect and disrupt terror threats early.
- National Terrorism Advisory System: Effectively communicates information about terrorism by providing timely information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
- If You See Something, Say Something™: The Department’s nation-wide public awareness campaign – a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
- Homeland Security Information Network: Serves as a trusted network for homeland security mission operations to exchange data in real-time and across jurisdictions.
These are just some of the ways the Department is equipped to fight back against domestic terrorist groups and their supporters, and DHS leaders are committed to making sure Americans are aware, alert, and ready to respond to keep our country safe.