Biden admin announces initiative to assess and combat ‘domestic violent extremism’

The administration of President Joe Biden has announced a three-pronged initiative in order to assess and combat “domestic violent extremism” (DVE) over two weeks after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by extremists that resulted in 5 deaths.

At a Friday press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki unveiled the initiative, describing the first steps the administration is taking to counter DVE.

Psaki said that the deadly January 6 Capitol riot and the destruction it caused has revealed that the “rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat.”

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The Biden administration “is committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective and rigorous analysis, and on our respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities,” she added.

The first of the three broad areas the initial work on DVE will fall under is a tasking that Psaki said Biden sent earlier on Friday to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “requesting a comprehensive threat assessment coordinated with the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security]” on DVE.

“This assessment,” Psaki continued, “will draw on the analysis from across the government and, as appropriate, nongovernmental organizations.”

She went on to explain that the administration wants “fact-based analysis” in order to help “shape policy.”

The second area will be “the building of an [National Security Council (NSC)] capability to focus on countering” DVE, Psaki said. “As a part of this, the NSC will undertake a policy review effort to determine how the government can share information better about this threat, support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more.”

While she said that there’s already important work already happening in combatting DVE, the press secretary emphasized that the government needs to “understand better [DVE’s] current extent and where there may be gaps to address, so that we can determine the best path forward.”

Lastly, the third area will be “coordinating relevant parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address DVE,” Psaki stated.

Furthermore, the NSC will help “focus on addressing evolving threats, radicalization, the role of social media; opportunities to improve information sharing, operational responses, and more,” she added.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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