Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an internal review to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Secretary Mayorkas has made identifying, addressing, and preventing domestic violent extremism across our country a top priority.
“Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “As we work to safeguard our Nation, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and combat domestic violent extremism within both the broader community and our own organization. Hateful acts and violent extremism will not be tolerated within our Department.”
At the direction of the Secretary, a cross-Departmental working group composed of senior officials will immediately begin a comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS. This internal team, which will be led by the Department’s Chief Security Officer, will produce a report with recommendations for the Secretary on how best to identify and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism, including those based on racially- or ethnically-motivated violent extremism.
The Department’s internal review is the latest action it is taking to comprehensively combat domestic violent extremism. Since January 20, 2021, DHS has increased the development, production, and sharing of intelligence and other information central to countering domestic violent extremism across the United States, consistent with privacy, civil rights and civil liberties, and First Amendment rights. On January 27, 2021, DHS issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin due to the heightened threat environment. It was the first NTAS issued in more than a year. Further, in February, Secretary Mayorkas designated combating domestic violent extremism a ‘National Priority Area’ for the first time in FEMA grant programs. As a result, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments are required to spend at least 7.5 percent, or a minimum of $77 million, of their DHS grant awards combating this threat. The Department is also increasing training opportunities for law enforcement partners, including through threat assessment and management programs related to domestic violent extremism.
More than 240,000 dedicated DHS employees carry out the Department’s mission to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. Today’s announcement is an important next step toward ensuring that violent extremism does not compromise our ability to keep our communities safe and secure.