William Braniff, Director of START, served as an expert witness providing Congressional testimony on "Helping Veterans Thrive: The Importance of Peer Support in Preventing Domestic Violent Extremism," before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Mar. 31, 2022.
In this testimony, Braniff offered his remarks and recommendations on preventing domestic extremism among veterans in his role as co-founder of veterans’ organization We the Veterans, while also utilizing START Radicalization and Disengagement (RaD) research on radicalization among individuals with military service backgrounds.
Braniff offered clear recommendations in countering domestic extremism among veterans and military members:
- Infuse civics education and civic engagement into military culture during basic intake training, as part of professional military education, as a central feature of the Transition Assistance Program, and as a way for veterans and military families to connect with pro-social Military Service Organizations and Veterans Service Organizations following separation
- Encourage the Executive Branch to partner with We the Veterans and resource the operation of our multi-sectoral working groups, allowing us to convene empowered communities of interest to pilot, evaluate, and scale solutions
- Move beyond punitive measures to identify and disrupt already-mobilized violent extremists with military service backgrounds, and invest in veteran- and military family-led prevention programs, effectively creating a nationwide prevention ecosystem involving civil society organizations, educators, social workers, public health officials, and VA service providers
Braniff, William. 2022. "Helping Veterans Thrive: The Importance of Peer Support in Preventing Domestic Violent Extremism." Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives (March). https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/HHRG-117-VR00-Wstate-BraniffW-20220331-U1.pdf