The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employs over 240,000 professionals dedicated to securing our borders, safeguarding aviation, responding to major disasters, defending our digital networks and more.
While the Department’s duties are extensive, the goal is clear: keeping America safe.
The Department’s most vital role is to protect our nation against terrorism, both foreign and domestic.
This includes confronting everything from global jihadists to violent white supremacists, who threaten U.S. safety and security from within our own neighborhoods.
Their violent rhetoric and hateful ideologies have no place in our society.
(Think you know DHS? Learn More, courtesy of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and YouTube)
Here are four ways you might not know that DHS combats domestic terrorism:
1. DHS partners with organizations across the country to stop violent extremists from radicalizing and recruiting in our communities.
- The Department’s Office for Community Partnerships (OCP) works to confront domestic terrorism by making communities more aware of the threat through targeted briefings, exercises, workshops, and training.
- The Office also helps them fight back against violent extremist propaganda and promote early intervention.
- OCP supports and enhances efforts by faith leaders, local government officials, and communities to address the root causes of the terror.
- OCP also operates the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program, which is helping to drive innovative solutions to deal with the problem at the grassroots level.
- This year 26 recipients nationwide were awarded CVE grants, 16 of which have applicability to mitigating all forms of violent extremism, including violent white supremacists.
2. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) disseminates relevant, timely intelligence information to keep our homeland safe.
- I&A is charged with delivering unique intelligence to policymakers and partners nationwide—including to help them better understand and address issues like domestic terrorism.
- The Office works closely with state and local authorities and the private sector to ensure they are up-to-speed on domestic terrorist trends, tactics, and situations so that they can respond quickly and effectively.
- I&A also facilitates information from the local level back to Washington to make sure national-level decision-makers can respond quickly to emerging terror threats.
3. The Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (OSLLE) works directly with first responders who are on the front lines to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism.
- OSLLE drives proactive engagement with local law enforcement throughout the United States to respond to the unique homeland security challenges they face.
- This includes domestic terrorism.
- In communities big and small, OSLLE ensures law enforcement officials have the data and strategic insights needed to counter hateful groups that try to intimidate others through violence and do harm to innocent civilians.
4. DHS advances broader public awareness programs and activities to be a step ahead of violent extremists.
There are five key elements of our information-sharing architecture that strengthen communication throughout the homeland security community:
National Network of Fusion Centers:
- Serve as focal points within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information.
Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative:
- Implements a unified process for reporting, tracking, and accessing SAR in a manner that protects the privacy and civil liberties of Americans while also ensuring we can connect-the-dots to detect and disrupt terror threats early.
National Terrorism Advisory System:
- Effectively communicates information about terrorism by providing timely information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
(Former Secretary of Homeland Security participates in a media availability to discuss updates to the National Terrorism Advisory System from FEMA Headquarters. Courtesy of FOX 10 Phoenix and YouTube. Posted on Dec 16, 2015)
If You See Something, Say Something™:
- The Department’s nation-wide public awareness campaign – a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
(Homeland security begins with hometown security. This PSA seeks to empower everyday citizens to protect their neighbors and the communities they call home by recognizing and reporting suspicious activity. Across the country, we all play a role in keeping each other safe. Courtesy of DHS and YouTube)
Homeland Security Information Network:
- Serves as a trusted network for homeland security mission operations to exchange data in real-time and across jurisdictions.
These are just some of the ways the Department is equipped to fight back against domestic terrorist groups and their supporters, and DHS leaders are committed to making sure Americans are aware, alert, and ready to respond to keep our country safe.
Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or public safety officials who are best positioned to respond and offer specific details on terroristic indicators.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Suspicious activity or information about a threat may also be reported to Fusion Centers and the FBI’s Field Offices – part of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative.
- Learn how to recognize signs of pre-operational planning associated with terrorism or other criminal activity.
- Be prepared for increased security and plan ahead to anticipate delays and restricted/prohibited items.
- In populated places, be responsible for your personal safety.
- Make a mental note of emergency exits and locations of the nearest security personnel.
- Keep cell phones in your pockets instead of bags or on tables so you don’t lose them during an incident.
- Carry emergency contact details and any special needs information with you at all times. For more visit Ready
- The U.S. Government will provide additional information about any emerging threat as additional information is identified.
- The public is encouraged to listen to local law enforcement and public safety officials.
- We urge Americans to continue to travel, attend public events, and freely associate with others but remain vigilant and aware of surroundings.
- The Department of State issues international travel alerts and warnings.