Countering Violent Extremism: Here’s What Works

The Trump Administration has made clear its intentions of focusing on radical Islamic terrorism as the focal point in its fight against violent extremism, but the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law finds this strategy lacking in critical ways based on past counter-terrorism efforts.  In a report released March of 2017, the Brennan Center for Justice detailed methods of countering violent extremism that have been most effective while providing several recommendations going forward that will help keep Americans safe.  These recommendations draw from failed attempts at combatting violent extremism as well as successful methods that should be bolstered by incoming administrations.  The aforementioned are summarized below:

  1. Reliance on traditional law enforcement measures such as investigation into suspicious criminal activity will yield successful results in preventing or disrupting terrorist plots.
  2. Communities afflicted by extremism must feel safe and comfortable approaching law enforcement officials with suspicious activities they have seen.  Anonymous tips from community members are valuable resources which require trust between law enforcement and the community.  Efforts must be made to ensure law enforcement agencies are trusted throughout America.
  3. Robust safeguards must be implemented for all agencies dealing within the realm of countering violent extremism.
  4. Continuing social programs for at-risk areas of violent extremism may not be directly inked to lowering the risk of violent extremism but can have overwhelmingly positive impact on communities which is likely to limit the scope of radicalism in these communities.
  5. Transparency in online content monitoring will be key in creating public trust.
  6. Reliance on scientific methods will be crucial in countering violent extremism.  The current focus on radical Islam with little focus on radical patriot groups shows critical blind spots in the Trump administration which endanger the lives of Americans.  Whatever the reason for these blindspots, preventing violent extremism means focusing on data gathered scientifically and free from bias.

Further information on this report can be gathered from the text linked to above.  For more reports on countering violent extremism, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Digital Library for a wide range of information on all forms of radicalization and counter-terrorism.