The Department of Homeland Security said Friday it intends to study foreign and domestic terrorism in the United States with a particular emphasis on white supremacism.
That’s just one of the proposals DHS unveiled as part of its counterterrorism strategy. Other measures the agency will implement include blocking terrorists or hostile actors from entering the country, improving information-sharing with local law enforcement and train communities to better respond to threats through active-shooter drills.
DHS also said it will take a more aggressive approach to detect weapons of mass destruction, including biological threats, but offered little specifics.
“While the threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al Qaeda persists we are acutely aware of the growing threat from enemies, both foreign and domestic, who seek to incite violence in our nation’s youth, disenfranchised and disaffected in order to attack their fellow citizens and fray at the seams of our diverse social fabric,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement.
DHS’s proposals largely involve studying and analysis rather than taking direct action. Among the agency’s top priorities are creating an annual threat assessment report, enhancing its data collection and analysis and evaluating risks from emerging technologies.
The fact that DHS intends to focus on analysis shows how far behind the government is in stopping domestic terrorism threats.
Last year, the Justice Department launched a website for the public to report hate crimes, which are often linked to the threat from white nationalists. In 2016, the Justice Department said 88 percent of local authorities reported zero hate crimes.
DHS is betting a partnership with local authorities will change that. The agency said it won’t just limit itself to local law enforcement, but also reach out to private sector businesses and schools.
As part of its partnerships with local law enforcement, DHS proposed creating intelligence hubs to share information. DHS also plans to launch joint initiatives to raise awareness about disinformation and halt the spread of information intended to mobilize extremists to violence.
“The Department will foster a whole community approach by incentivizing collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries across levels of government, with private sector and non-governmental partners,” the report said. “The work will include increasing active shooter preparedness by brooding the aware of local law enforcement and community leaders about DHS resources, tools and trainings.”
DHS acknowledged a lack of funds is an obstacle to implementing its new strategy, saying it plans to reallocate current resources to personnel to match the shift in strategy.
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