Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism often are well-meaning but misconceived and poorly resourced. As a result, for jihadist-linked terrorism they usually prove ineffective and are a policy afterthought rather than a key counterterrorism tool for the United States. Eric Rosand, the director of The Prevention Project and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, argues that these programs can be critical components of effective counterterrorism for right-wing and other forms of domestic terrorism.
Eric Rosand is a nonresident senior fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings and director of “The Prevention Project: Organizing against Violent Extremism” in Washington, D.C. Previously, he served in the Obama administration as a senior counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) official in the U.S. State Department. During that time he was the policy director of the White House CVE Summit and its follow-on process and spearheaded efforts to design and launch a range of international CT and CVE initiatives, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum, the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, and the Strong Cities Network, the first-ever global platform to connect cities involved in CVE around the world. From 2006-2010 he co-directed the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation (now the Global Center on Cooperative Security) in New York and served as a nonresident fellow at New York University’s Center for International Cooperation. Prior to that he served at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York immediately after 9/11 and began his career as a lawyer in the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser. He has published widely on a range of CT and CVE topics and was a member of the 2017 Washington Institute on Near East Policy’s Bipartisan Study Group on Defeating Ideologically Inspired Violent Extremism. He is a graduate of Haverford College, Columbia Law School, and Cambridge University.
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Editor’s Note: Counterterrorism is usually a national government concern, but much of the day to day of radicalization occurs in local towns and neighborhoods. However, integrating local actors into programs to prevent and counter violent extremism is often done poorly or not at all. This may be changing.
Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism (known as “CVE”) attempt to offer non-military and non-law enforcement means to fight terrorism, working with communities to identify potential radicals and move them away from violence. Critics who have the ear of the Trump administration deride them as weak and ineffective, and programs at DHS and other agencies are on the chopping block. Eric Rosand, a non-resident fellow at Brookings and the director of the Prevention Project, calls for renewing U.S. CVE efforts.
Editor’s Note: Community and civil-society programs to counter violent extremism (commonly referred to as "CVE") seem to have fallen out of favor under a Trump administration that wants to look tough on terrorism. Perhaps more surprisingly, voices on the left of the spectrum also seem to believe CVE programs are useless or even counterproductive. Andrew Glazzard, a senior research fellow at RUSI, and Eric Rosand, who worked on CVE at the State Department before directing the Prevention Project, argue that these criticisms are overstated and often quite wrong.
Editor’s Note: Programs for countering violent extremism—or CVE, as it is known in the jargon—may be in jeopardy. The incoming administration, in its rhetoric at least, has emphasized "tough" solutions to the problem of terrorism and seems little interested in softer approaches that might discourage radicalization or deradicalize existing terrorists.