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Monday, February 6, 2023

House Passes Bundle of Bills to Counter Extremism and Radicalization

House Passes Bundle of Bills to Counter Extremism and Radicalization Homeland Security TodayIn the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack in Orlando, which left 50 dead and dozens more injured, the House of Representatives acted swiftly to introduce legislation to bolster US counter radicalization efforts in today’s increasingly dangerous threat environment.

HR 5471, Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act, introduced by House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is comprised of three bills designed to prevent Americans from being influenced by radical Islamist propaganda.

The legislation is based primarily on the work of the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan Task Force on Combating Terrorist & Foreign Fighter Travel. The House hopes that bundling the bills will get them to the President’s desk more quickly.

“Our city streets have become the frontlines in the war against radical Islamist terror,” said McCaul and McCarthy in a statement. “To honor the memory of the victims in Orlando, we must rededicate ourselves to preventing terrorists from gaining a foothold in our communities.”

The lawmakers added, “Make no mistake, after this latest attack in our homeland, our resolve is strengthened and we are more determined than ever to take the fight to the enemy, no matter where it emerges.”

The Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act includes three House-passed bills:

  • HR 4401, Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terror (ALERT) Act, was introduced by Rep. Loudermilk (R-GA). The bill authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide countering violent extremism training to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) representatives at the nearly 80 fusion centers nationwide.
  • HR 4820, Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act, was introduced by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN). It requires DHS to use the testimonials of former or estranged violent extremists or their associates in order to counter terrorist recruitment. The narratives of former extremists and defectors mayhelp prevent other individuals from becoming radicalized by terrorist propaganda.
  • HR 4407, Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act, was introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY). The bill establishes a board in DHS to coordinate and integrate departmental intelligence, activities, and policy related to counterterrorism. The Counterterrorism Advisory Board will serve as the central counterterrorism decision making body at DHS and sets the procedures for issuing terrorism alerts.

The Orlando massacre serves as a grim reminder that the United States is embroiled in an ideological battle which demands a strategy that recognizes the danger posed by Islamist terrorism. McCaul noted that during the Cold War, President Reagan defeated communism by defining the enemy.

“We have to define the enemy to defeat it. That is a basic military strategy,” McCaul stated. “The 9/11 Commission, bipartisan, in its wisdom so many years ago said, ‘The enemy is not just terrorism some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy.’ The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism, especially the Al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology.”

McCaul continued, “Today the enemy in a generational ideological struggle is radical Islamist extremism. If this President—this Administration—will not recognize that, this body needs to. This Congress understands what the threat is and when we define it, we will defeat it, Mr. Speaker.”

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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