ExtremismDHS Announces Domestic Violent Extremism Review at DHS

Published 27 April 2021

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday announced an internal review to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within DHS. A cross-departmental working group comprising senior officials will begin a comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday announced an internal review to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within  DHS.  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 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 comprising senior officials will 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 DHS’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. 

DHS notes that the department’s internal review is the latest action it is taking to combat domestic violent extremism.  DHS says that since 20 January 2021, the department 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 27 January 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, 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,” DHS said. “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.”