Homeland Security Network Blog
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Experts: Underfunded Counter-Terror Programs Face Uncertain Future
Washington Free Beacon
BY: Nic Rowan
Underfunded and poorly organized Countering Violent Terrorism (CVE) programs face an uncertain future, according to experts speaking at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.
An Obama-era initiative, CVE was intended to prevent the radicalization of youth—particularly those attracted to ISIS—by offering community-led and "counter narrative" anti-radical Islamist propaganda. The effort was criticized for funding organizations with little accountability and for its inability to hone in on terror threats. Since President Trump took office CVE policy has changed to favor funding local law enforcement initiatives over community-led efforts.
"The national CVE strategy is best defined as a series of fits and starts," Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the program on extremism at George Washington University said.
Hughes added that for a more long-term solution, the Department of Homeland Security should reduce its efforts to use CVE for broad-based deradicalization programs, and instead rely more on programs that foster one-on-one relationships.
"I think I do a pretty good job when I talk to mosques and community centers about this issue, but I can't measure effectiveness with 200 people. And I can't even be sure if they're my target audience," he said. "I think if we focus our efforts on one-on-one programs we can have a measure of effectiveness so we can go back to Congress and say, ‘I need x-amount of money; this is what works; and I can prove it works."
Muhammad Fraser-Rahim of Quilliam International said his experience working with deradicalization efforts in Africa and Europe confirms that one-on-one programs work better than broad-based programs, especially when a former radical acts as the mentor to budding extremists in the deradicalization process. At the same time, CVE should not entirely abandon its attempts to prevent radicalization through counter-propaganda, he said.