First responders have encountered several unprecedented challenges in 2020, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pandemic-related illness and loss of life, protest-related unrest and violence, catastrophic wildfires, hurricanes, and significant fiscal setbacks. Despite these historic challenges, our nation’s first responders have demonstrated exceptional courage, endurance, and an unyielding commitment to serving our communities.
As Election Day approaches, the potential for unrest and other election-related problems exist. This document has been prepared to provide an overview of the current situation and underscore the need for ongoing interagency collaboration and operational coordination during this period. It is important that our nation’s first responders stay focused on the mission of serving our communities and public safety partners and resist any inclination to be drawn into emotionally heated debates in the workplace. We must remain unified.
The United States Intelligence Community has highlighted in numerous briefings and intelligence products the sustained efforts on the part of foreign and domestic actors to exploit the polarized political climate, protest-related unrest, and the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. The coming weeks will present numerous opportunities for domestic violent extremists (DVEs) to carry out acts of violence at mass gathering events and venues, including polling places and protests. Several conceivable threats during this time from foreign and domestic actors are discussed below.