In an effort to combat domestic violent extremism, the Biden administration unveiled a National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. The administration’s commitment to confronting, defusing and countering homegrown terror is a welcome change from the last administration’s approval and encouragement of conspiracy and hate-fueled extremist groups.
Serving as the first national strategy to combat domestic terrorism, it signals a shift in the focus of counterterrorism efforts, going from fighting foreign terrorists to zeroing in on domestic violent extremists.
The strategy coordinates a government-wide approach and outlines four priorities: improving information sharing among law enforcement agencies, preventing recruitment by extremists groups, investigating such groups, and confronting the longstanding drivers of domestic terrorism: racism and bigotry.
Between 2018 and 2019, racism and hate-driven ideologies were the driving forces behind most of the ideologically motivated killings and violence in the US, and were the most lethal of all domestic extremism movements over the last 20 years.
Overshadowing the threat of foreign terrorist groups such as ISIS, domestic violent extremists have become the largest threat to national security. In an effort to protect American democracy, the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism provides a comprehensive approach to domestic terrorism that protects civil liberties, while reducing the threat domestic terrorism poses.
The domestic terror threat is nonpartisan and one that affects national security and everyday Americans. President Biden’s focus on the domestic terror threat by white supremacy groups and other homegrown extremists serves as a clear indicator that there’s a new sheriff in town. While domestic terror groups were provided cover and emboldened by the previous administration, Biden has drawn the line letting the world know, there is no place for political violence in America. Terrorism is anathema to democracy and liberty.
Biden’s commitment to protect American democracy from domestic violent extremism should be applauded. The renewed commitment to fight against radicalism and domestic terrorism is a welcomed focus and an important step to ensure another January 6th never happens again.