Monday, February 24, 2014

Tweet

[IWS] CRS: COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN THE UNITED STATES [19 February 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Countering Violent Extremism in the United States

Jerome P. Bjelopera,  Specialist in Organized Crime and Terrorism

February 19, 2014

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42553.pdf

[full-text, 33 pages]

 

Summary

In August 2011, the Obama Administration announced its counter-radicalization strategy. It is

devised to address the forces that influence some people living in the United States to acquire and

hold radical or extremist beliefs that may eventually compel them to commit terrorism. This is the

first such strategy for the federal government, which calls this effort “combating violent

extremism” (CVE). Since the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has

prosecuted hundreds of individuals on terrorism charges. Unlike the necessarily secretive law

enforcement and intelligence efforts driving these investigations, the CVE strategy includes

sizeable government activity within the open marketplace of ideas, where private citizens are free

to weigh competing ideologies and engage in constitutionally protected speech and expression.

Some of the key challenges in the implementation of the CVE strategy likely spring from the

interplay between the marketplace of ideas and the secretive realm encompassing law

enforcement investigations and terrorist plotting.

 

The strategy addresses the radicalization of all types of potential terrorists in the United States but

focuses on those inspired by Al Qaeda. To further elaborate this strategy, in December 2011 the

Administration released its “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to

Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” (SIP). The SIP is a large-scale planning

document with three major objectives and numerous future activities and efforts. The SIP’s three

objectives involve (1) enhancing federal community engagement efforts related to CVE, (2)

developing greater government and law enforcement expertise for preventing violent extremism,

and (3) countering violent extremist propaganda.

 

This report provides examples of Administration CVE activity and examines some of the risks

and challenges evident in the SIP’s three objectives. The report also diagrams and briefly

discusses the “future activities and efforts” outlined in the SIP for each of these three objectives.

 

A number of areas may call for oversight from Congress. These include the following:

 

Picking Partners and Establishing “Rules of the Road”

 

Much of the federal government’s CVE effort centers on engagement with Muslim American

community groups. This may not be as easy as simply reaching out to local organizations. Who

speaks for diverse Muslim communities in America? What criteria will the Administration

employ in its selection efforts, and how open will the process be? Once approved as partners,

what “rules of the road” will govern continued cooperation? Ad hoc and opaque decision making

might render the whole CVE outreach process arbitrary to some community participants.

Congress may opt to consider whether there is a need to require the Administration to release

public guidelines in this area.

 

Intervention with At-Risk Individuals

 

There appears to be little federally driven guidance to community groups on how to intervene

with people vulnerable to radicalization. Congress may desire to require the Administration to

examine the utility and feasibility of developing a CVE intervention model—possibly akin to

gang intervention models—for the United States.

 

Identifying Programs to Assist Grassroots CVE Efforts

 

Working with communities entails informing them of possible resources they can use. A publicly

available, comprehensive list of grant programs that can be harnessed for CVE activities does not

exist. Congress may be interested in asking the Administration to formalize a roster or designate a

clearinghouse available to local entities to identify such programs. By possibly pursuing this,

Congress may help to ensure that local constituents have better information about and more direct

access to federal CVE programs. On the other hand, such a list could be perceived as an

additional layer of bureaucracy between constituents and grant programs.

 

Countering Extremist Ideas: Choosing Good vs. Bad

 

The task of countering extremist ideas highlighted in the CVE strategy and SIP raises a number of

questions. Do the strategy and the SIP place the federal government in the business of

determining which ideologies are dangerous and which are safe—essentially determining which

beliefs are good and which are bad? In order to conduct effective oversight, Congress may choose

to ask the Administration to define exactly what it means when referring to “violent extremist

narratives.”

 

The Lack of a Lead Agency

 

There is no single agency managing all of the individual activities and efforts of the plan. At the

national level, some may argue that it would be of value to have a single federal agency in charge

of the government’s CVE efforts. From their perspective, without a lead agency it may be

difficult to monitor the levels of federal funding devoted to CVE efforts and how many personnel

are devoted to CVE in the federal government. For how many of these employees is counterradicalization

a full-time job? Are there mechanisms to track federal CVE expenditure? Which

federal body is responsible for this? Congress may wish to pursue with the Administration the

feasibility or value of designating a lead agency, or the possibility of naming a lead via

legislation. However, it is unclear what types of authority—especially in the budgetary realm—

such a lead may be able to wield over well-established agencies playing central roles in the CVE

strategy.

 

Transparency

 

Without a high degree of transparency, an engagement strategy driven by federal agencies

charged with intelligence gathering and law enforcement responsibilities may run the risk of

being perceived as an effort to co-opt communities into the security process—providing tips,

leads, sources, and informants. Some may maintain that this threatens to “securitize” a

relationship intended as outreach within the marketplace of ideas. As such, critics may argue that

it might not be particularly effective to have the same federal agencies responsible for classified

counterterrorism investigations grounded in secrecy also be the main players in the CVE strategy.

However, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal

Bureau of Investigation have responsibilities for much of the CVE program. Because of this

reality, Congress may opt to consider whether there is a need for greater transparency from the

Administration in its CVE efforts.

 

 

Contents

Introduction: Counterterrorism Context .......................................................................................... 1

From Radicalization to Terrorism .............................................................................................. 3

Countering Radicalization in the United States ............................................................................... 4

Administration Strategy and Current Activities ........................................................................ 4

Community Engagement ..................................................................................................... 5

Risks and Challenges .......................................................................................................... 9

Building Government and Law Enforcement Expertise ................................................... 14

Risks and Challenges ........................................................................................................ 17

Countering Violent Extremist Propaganda ........................................................................ 18

Risks and Challenges ........................................................................................................ 19

Administration Plan and Future Activities .............................................................................. 19

Is DHS the De Facto U.S. CVE Lead Agency? ................................................................. 20

Possible Policy Considerations for Congress .................................................................... 24

Implementing the CVE Strategy .............................................................................................. 24

Picking Partners and Establishing “Rules of the Road” .................................................... 24

Intervention with At-Risk Individuals ............................................................................... 25

Identifying Programs and Federal Contacts to Assist Grassroots CVE Efforts ................ 26

Countering Extremist Ideas: Choosing Good vs. Bad ....................................................... 26

The Lack of a Lead Agency .............................................................................................. 27

Secretiveness vs. Transparency ......................................................................................... 28

 

Figures

Figure 1. Counterterrorism Context ................................................................................................. 2

Figure 2. Lead Agencies and Their “Future Activities and Efforts” for SIP Objective 1,  Enhancing Federal Engagement and Support to Local Communities that may be Targeted by Violent Extremists ........ 21

Figure 3. Lead Agencies and Their “Future Activities and Efforts” for SIP Objective 2, Building Government and Law Enforcement Expertise for Preventing Violent Extremism .............. 22

Figure 4. Lead Agencies and Their “Future Activities and Efforts” for SIP Objective 3, Countering Violent Extremist Propaganda While Promoting U.S. Ideals ........... 23

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 29

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 




Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?