The recent terrorist attacks across the globe are a reminder that the threat of terrorism has not receded, it has reconstituted and remains grave.
The U.S. is committed to using force to protect its citizens and allies and is intensifying the campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL with new strikes against their leaders, oil fields, and territory.
At the same time, said Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, "We must remember that no number of air strikes, soldiers, or spies can eliminate the complex motives and hateful ideologies that feed terrorism."
That is why the U.S. is embracing a broader and more holistic approach to this threat called Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE.
CVE calls for addressing the underlying factors that make communities vulnerable to the siren call of violent extremism. It also calls for pushing back against the ideology and propaganda violent extremists wield to lure people to their cause. These factors are complex, contextual, and often only apparent at the community level. As such, they are often beyond the means of national governments alone to address. CVE therefore calls for a much broader set of actors to address these factors through “whole of society” approaches that include local officials, businesses, religious leaders, researchers, women, youth, and even former members of extremist groups.
Through this more preventive and holistic approach, CVE seeks to tighten the flow of recruits to the current generation of violent extremist groups while better preventing the next generation of threat.
Countering Violent Extremism is therefore an essential complement to military efforts to defeat the Islamic State. "This is not a question of either, or," said Under Secretary of State Sewall, "this complex and generational threat requires both."