Secretary Kevin McAleenan revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will focus on addressing the threat of white nationalism for the first time in the country's history.
"Today, the United States faces an evolving threat environment, and a threat of terrorism and targeted violence within our borders that is more diverse than at any time since the 9/11 attacks," McAleenan said while announcing the country's new counterterrorism strategy during an event at the Brookings Institute.
The report claims that domestic terrorists "represent a growing share of the threat to the Homeland." The DHS also believes that there has been a spike in white nationalist rhetoric that is directly correlated to the explosion of the internet. The agency wants to "halt the spread of information operations intended to promote radicalization to violent extremism or mobilization to violence" that is present on social media and other online forums. It is through these avenues that radicalized nationalist have gained what is described as an "increasingly transnational outlook in recent years."
"Similar to how ISIS inspired and connected with potential radical Islamist terrorists, white supremacist violent extremists connect with like-minded individuals online," the report states. "In addition to mainstream social media platforms, white supremacist violent extremists use lesser-known sites like Gab, 8chan, and EndChan, as well as encrypted channels. Celebration of violence and conspiracy theories about the ‘ethnic replacement’ of whites as the majority ethnicity in various Western countries are prominent in their online circles."
Through the new Strategic Framework, the DHS thinks that the first step to curbing white nationalism is to raise awareness about the problem, claiming that "an aware society is the best foundation for preventing terrorism and targeted violence." To do this, the DHS plans to provide "a variety of awareness briefings," engagement strategies, as well as providing the public with knowledge on spotting and preventing mobilization. This system will be implemented within local and state-level governments. Non-government organizations will be equipped with this information as well.