U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy: Addressing Radical Ideologies   [open pdf - 601KB]

"This thesis examines the U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy and National Security Strategy in regards to combating adversaries driven by radical ideologies. This study focuses on Al-Qaeda and The Islamic State's strategic campaigns to propagate their radical Islamist ideology and the spread of violent extremism. This study will evaluate the adequacy of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in combating radicalization; will analyze the effectiveness and legitimacy of preemptive and preventive approaches to countering terrorist and implications on society. There is little understanding of radicalization. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates subscribe to jihadism, an Islamic extremist ideology, to incite violent attacks against American targets. Violence and terrorism are the foundation of Islamic extremists and serve to unify and legitimize their movement. This study suggests that while the U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy addresses radicalization, it does not provide an institutionalized mechanism to prevent violent extremism. The U.S. government needs to re-evaluate the application of hard and soft power when combating terrorists fueled by radical ideologies. Additionally, the U.S. law enforcement agencies need to cooperate in maintaining a balance between civil liberties and public safety to avoid undermining community outreach efforts to counter violent radicalization and terrorism."

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