Washington DC: As domestic terrorism has evolved into the most urgent terrorism threat the United States faces today, the Biden Administration has released the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.
On his first full day in office, the US President Joe Biden had directed his national security team to lead a 100-day comprehensive review of U.S. Government efforts to address domestic terrorism.
The comprehensive strategy against domestic terrorism, released on Tuesday 15 June, provides a nationwide framework for the U.S. Government and partners to understand and share domestic terrorism related information; prevent domestic terrorism recruitment and mobilization to violence; disrupt and deter domestic terrorism activity; and confront long term contributors to domestic terrorism.
Expert assessment of the domestic terrorism threat provided by the US intelligence and law enforcement communities found two most lethal elements of today’s domestic terrorism threat. They are:
(1) Racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists who advocate for the superiority of the white race, and
(2) Anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists, such as militia violent extremists.
To develop a government-wide strategy to counter domestic terrorists, the Biden Administration consulted extensively with a wide array of experts across the U.S. Government as well as with leaders in Congress, state and local governments, academia, civil society, religious communities, and foreign governments.
The US Department of State will continue to assess whether additional foreign entities linked to domestic terrorism can be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations or Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
The U.S. Government has revamped support to community partners who can help to prevent individuals from ever reaching the point of committing terrorist violence. The U.S. Government will strengthen domestic terrorism prevention resourcesand services. For the first time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated “Domestic Violent Extremism” as a National Priority Area within the Department’s Homeland Security Grant Program, which means that over $77 million will be allocated to state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to prevent, protect against, and respond to domestic violent extremism.
The U.S. Government will improve public awareness of federal resources to address concerning or threatening behavior before violence occurs.
The U.S. Government will augment its efforts to address online terrorist recruitment and mobilization to violence by domestic terrorists through increased information sharing with the technology sector and the creation of innovative ways to foster digital literacy and build resilience to recruitment and mobilization.
The U.S. Government will increase support to Federal, state, and local law enforcement in addressing domestic terrorism nationwide. U.S. Attorney’s Offices and FBI field offices across the country have formally made domestic terrorism a top priority and are tracking comprehensively domestic terrorism-related cases, reallocating or requesting appropriate funding and resources as needed to target the threat. That includes over $100 million in additional resources for DOJ, FBI, and DHS included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget to ensure that the Federal Government has the analysts, investigators, prosecutors, and other personnel and resources it needs to thwart domestic terrorism and do justice when the law has been broken.
The U.S. Government is improving employee screening to enhance methods for identifying domestic terrorists who might pose insider threats. The Office of Personnel Management will consider updates to the forms used to apply for sensitive roles in the Federal Government that could assist investigators in identifying potential domestic terrorism threats.
Every component of the government has a role to play in rooting out racism and bigotry and advancing equity for all Americans. The U.S. Government, in close partnership with civil society, will address the long-term contributors that are responsible for much of today’s domestic terrorism. This includes reducing and protecting Americans from racial, ethnic, and religious hatred, and stemming the flow of firearms to individuals intending to commit acts of domestic terrorism.