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Recasting and Repositioning CVE as a Grand Strategic Response to Terrorism


The United States does not have a grand strategy with respect to terrorism. In the 16 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, we have relied on our criminal justice and military communities, enabled by more and better intelligence, to disrupt terrorist adversaries and prevent another large-scale attack. In this we have succeeded. Along the way, however, global terrorism has reached historically high levels triggering reactionary violence and polarizing debates about immigration and refugees, nationalism and internationalism, security and liberty, and religion. Our traditional counterterrorism tools are necessary, but they appear to be insufficient in terms of mitigating terrorist violence and its deleterious political consequences over time.

To complement military and law enforcement efforts —what I refer to here as traditional counterterrorism — the United States and the international community entertained a different paradigm that sought to decrease the number of individuals mobilizing to violence in the first place by addressing the individual, communal and societal factors exploited by terrorists. This emergent paradigm, countering violent extremism (CVE), has been poorly resourced, sparsely staffed, and employed as a distant second priority to traditional counterterrorism. Since its inception, CVE has been beset by detractors who see it either as dangerously idealistic political correctness, or a euphemism for predatory counterterrorism.

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Full Citation:

Braniff, William. 2017. "Recasting and Repositioning CVE as a Grand Strategic Response to Terrorism." START (November). https://www.start.umd.edu/news/recasting-and-repositioning-cve-grand-strategic-response-terrorism

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