Biden administration launches a National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism

In an attempt to curb domestic terrorism, the Biden Administration released the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, a first of its kind.

The 30 page report plans to “address this challenge to America’s national security and improve the federal government’s response” [White House]. According to the White House, intelligence and law enforcement communities found that the two most common forms of domestic terrorism 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.”

The National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism is surrounded by four pillars; the main elements of how the Biden Administration will address the “lethal threat to our people, our democracy, and our national security.” The first pillar titled “Understand and Share Domestic Terrorism-Related Information” will utilize the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to “methodically track domestic terrorism cases nationwide” while also working with the Department of State and foreign partners to determine if there are international levels of this threat.

The Department of Treasury and Department of Homeland Security will also be working in a collaborative effort to enhance analysis of financial activity and open-source information to identify threats sooner. According to the White House, “Prevent Domestic Terrorism Recruitment and Mobilization to Violence”, the second pillar, “will augment its efforts to address online terrorist recruitment and mobilization to violence by domestic terrorists”.

The United States in conjunction with Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online, will be “an international partnership between governments and technology companies that works to develop new multilateral solutions to eliminating terrorist content online.” In addition, the DHS has for the first time designated “Domestic Violent Extremism” as a National Priority Area within their grant program which allocates over $77 million to “protect against, and respond to domestic violent extremism.”

The third pillar titled “Disrupt and Deter Domestic Terrorism Activity” will utilize both local and federal law enforcement in order to properly address domestic terrorism nationwide. This includes the reallocation of funds “as needed” to curb the national threat. The President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget plans on distributing over $100 million to the DOJ, FBI, and DHS “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 final pillar “Confront Long-Term Contributors to Domestic Terrorism” plans to find ways to “counter the polarization often fueled by disinformation, misinformation, and dangerous conspiracy theories online.” This includes identifying “long-term contributors” in an attempt to “[root] out racism and bigoty and advancing equity for all Americans.” It is unclear how the White House plans to balance their plans with civil liberties [White House].


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