Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 5, 2011

Preventing Violent Extremism

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 5, 2011

Wednesday afternoon the National Security Staff released, on behalf of the President, a new eight-page policy statement entitled: Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.

This should be read in combination with the National Strategy for Counterterrorism released at the end of June.

I have no substantive problems with the new paper.  It bears considerable resemblance to the America Rising program advocated just two weeks ago here at HLSWatch.  I agree with the principles outlined in the document.

I wonder why the new document’s core was not included in the counterterrorism policy statement or why the two documents were not released at the same time.   Each document is strengthened by the other… so why the five week gap?

I have been an advocate of concisely strategic Presidential directives focused more on principles than tactical implementation.  This is an effective outline of principles.  But in this case, just a few more specifics on implementation might have reinforced achievement of the principles.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

August 5, 2011 @ 3:35 am

It is interesting how these documents appear without prior notice or opportunity for public comment and often don’t indicate how or who prepared them or how they relate to other existing strategies. Could it be that they were prepared by separate federal contractors who for competitive reasons among others don’t talk to each other?

Perhaps a new RECONCILIATION Department could be created that would prevent any federal department of agency from creating new guidance or strategies from being adopted until they had verified no conflicts, overlaps, duplications with other such documents. Don’t we have over 30 National Strategies at the moment?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 5, 2011 @ 5:25 am

Bill, In terms of White House documents, there is no significant involvement by federal contractors. I had not thought about it until I read your comment, but the Lafayette Square neighborhood is still a place where government employees live-and-die by the words they personally craft.

While my endorsement of the new policy is less than passionate, the Los Angeles Times is considerably more critical. See: An implausible plan to fight terrorism through community outreach

Comment by John Comiskey

August 5, 2011 @ 7:14 am

The police are the people and the police the people who happen to police full time.
[adapted from Sir Robert Peel]

Counterterrorism as a defined practice is new to local policing. In reality, local police have always done some form of counterterrorism. The basic job of the police is to prevent bad things from happening and when bad things do happen to mitigate the badness and restore civil society the best that they can.
Small pockets of radicalized extremists exist amongst us.

NYPD has made formidable efforts to identify the radicalization process to identify indicators that might afford preventive and intervention measures.
See Radicalization in the West:

NYPD’s post-9/11 mission is best described as the Three Cs: crime, community, and counterterrorism. Ultimately, you have to have all three to be an effective police department in the 21st Century.

See: Bridging the gap between the police and the community at NYPD http://www.chds.us/?player&id=2545

There exist a counter extremism role for every level of government and especially every citizen.

Good question: why wasn’t the counter extremism strategy incorporated into the counterterrorism government strategy especially if the current administration wants to promote a whole-of-government National Security Strategy.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 5, 2011 @ 7:23 am

Noting for the record over 90% of NYPD budget for counterterrorism is federal monies.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 5, 2011 @ 7:25 am

Well Phil if you are correct why no names appearing on these docs for those who participated?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 5, 2011 @ 7:51 am

Bill, There is a name on this document. It is even signed in cursive: Barack Obama. The conceit in these cases is that the document is not “just another” government document. Instead, this reflects presidential priorities.

Further, a glance at the media coverage — more than typical, suggesting a conscious WH effort — tells us that Denis McDonough probably chaired the group that drafted the document and he probably shaped the final draft. He may have outlined the first draft.

I have been outside DC this week so don’t have as much access to the rumor mill. But when this document surfaced I immediately looked around for why staff — or the President — decided this particular issue needed to be addressed in this way at this time and given the added weight of the President’s signature. I don’t have a confident answer.

I do perceive the return of Gabby Giffords to the Capitol in the context of the Breivik shootings, the Hasan trial, and the new Ft. Hood arrest is relevant. When the counterterrorism strategy came out at the end of June I thought it was a bit light on anything other than al-Qaeda. Maybe I was not alone.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 5, 2011 @ 8:26 am

Thanks Phil! Any background info on DENIS M.?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 5, 2011 @ 11:22 am

Bill, The New York Times keeps a Topics collection on Mr. McDonough: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/denis_mcdonough/index.html

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 5, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

Thanks Phil!

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 9, 2011 @ 8:07 am

There is some evidence in MSM that the President if presented the document under discussion would be seeing it for the very first time.

Are riots and civil disorders violent extremism? Wonder if any of the posters on this blogs or other commentators would be able to describe how the current system operates to respond to the LONDON style riots now under way. So far total mobilization of the entirety of policing assets in GB now underway. Is the cupboard being left bare for other forms of terrorism?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 9, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

Bill, do you have a MSM link you could send me? Would like to track what is being reported.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 9, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

Google the doc itself and see what turns up! Apparently did not go out to all of the 16 INTEL agencies for review. And what do you make of the discussion of INTEL in that doc?

The British government was caught completely by surprise in the current riotus situation. WOW!

The Community Relations Service of DOJ used to keep street wise cadre on streets of USA cities as advanced warning but that organization no longer exists.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 9, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

Juan Cole and many others have reached the conclusion that the British riots are almost solely due to economic situation of younger immigrants. If that is correct than WATCH OUT WORLD.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 10, 2011 @ 7:19 am

So are FLASH MOBS the latest HS threat?

Comment by Flash Mobs and the "Beltway Bandits"

August 13, 2011 @ 7:07 am

Our greatest threat – the “Beltway Bandits” who are incapable and intent of taking no leadership role whatsoever for fear of losing votes!

No one truly capable of mustering the patriotism inherent in many Americans who in their dysfunctional ways thinking that their one vote does not count and are wrong – well, flash mobs here or there, however if there are any real mobs tlo be seen, this continued partian and self-serving way by those pledging by oath serving to thpse entrusted their precious vote in support, the mobs will be seen at the polling places throughout the country who have had enough – enough!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

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