Dept. of Homeland Security releases new counterterrorism strategy

The Department also announced it would prioritize interoperability and automation in its information-sharing relationships with trustworthy partners.

September 22, 2019 23:12
3 minute read.
Dept. of Homeland Security releases new counterterrorism strategy

U.S. Department of Homeland Security emblem is pictured at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) located just outside Washington in Arlington, Virginia September 24, 2010.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security announced a new strategic framework to counter both international and domestic terrorism in the US. The new framework calls for a series of steps to address terror threats in the US, including establishing partnerships with local communities and private sector partners, as well as the enhancement of intelligence sharing, to detect a terrorist threat before they become a reality.

“Foreign terrorist organizations remain a core priority of the DHS counterterrorism efforts, and we will continue to make substantial progress in our ability to protect against the threats that these groups pose,” the Department said in a statement. “At the same time, we face a growing threat from domestic terrorism and targeted violence here at home. We must address and prevent the mass attacks that have too frequently struck our houses of worship, our schools, our workplaces, our festivals, and our shopping spaces.”

The DHS framework also calls to develop an “annual state of the homeland threat assessment.” The idea is to produce a yearly report that evaluates the strategic threat environment and anticipates future or emerging threats. The Department will write the annual report in coordination with the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

The Department also announced it would prioritize interoperability and automation in its information-sharing relationships with trustworthy partners.

“While personal networks and operational coordination are useful means to share information, we will increasingly supplement these relationships with technology that can share high-volume data – governed by appropriate privacy protections and rules – at a level of speed and accuracy that human networks cannot replicate,” the new strategic framework reads. “These efforts should achieve or beat the ‘near real-time’ information-sharing goal set by the 2018 National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel.”

Another suggestion in the document is to form partnerships that support locally-based prevention.

“Since individuals mobilize to violence due to various grievances and ideologies, collaboration among the widest possible cross-section of any locality is important for effective identification of problems and intervention,” the statement says. “The Department will form partnerships with key local stakeholders nationwide to share information that supports the mitigation of risk factors, addresses individuals radicalizing to violent extremism and mobilizing to violence, and enhances practices for prevention and intervention.”

Michael Masters, CEO of the Secure Community Network, the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America, praised the new strategy to combat domestic terrorism.

 “The development of the Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence is a landmark document in the approach to addressing the threats facing our country,” he said in a statement. “The framework rightly recognizes the growing threat of domestic terrorism, and specifically notes recent attacks on the Jewish Community.”

Masters praised the framework for highlighting the “major and growing problem presented by white supremacists.”

“DHS recognizes that the threat of domestic terrorism challenges traditional law enforcement and investigation methods,” Masters said. “We are encouraged to see that they are committed to developing new methods to meet these evolving threats.”

Politicians will play a critical role in implementing the framework, according to Masters.

“It is now up to our collective political leadership to provide the resources and authority so that the professionals – working in partnership with our communities and other partners – have the tools that they need to keep our country safe,” Masters said. “We are thankful that DHS is addressing the increase in domestic threats while remaining focused on the broader threat picture that impacts all of us.”

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