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The US Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), operated for the Department of Homeland Security by the RAND Corporation, has released a new report on how to build an effective and practical national approach to terrorism prevention. The report, commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, examines past terrorism prevention efforts and makes recommendations for future programs.

The report looks at various areas of terrorism prevention, including:

  • Successful community education efforts by DHS;
  • Countering terrorist narratives through public-private partnerships;
  • Robust systems inside government for suspicious-activity reporting, and the need for a uniform mechanism for making interventions for referral by the public;
  • How spending on terrorism prevention in the US compares with some of its partners;
  • The role of state, local, nongovernmental and private organizations in leading prevention efforts, with support from the federal government; and,
  • The importance of addressing domestic as well as international terrorism in prevention programs.

The report makes the following key recommendations:

  • For countermessaging and intervention programming, the federal government should focus on funding and assisting state, local, and nongovernmental organizations and private actors rather than building capabilities itself.
  • The federal government should continue to provide community awareness briefings and training exercises to local groups.
  • Adapting existing tools like table-top exercises to help empower local areas to explore the types of terrorism prevention that are appropriate for their circumstances appeared to be promising.
  • Openness and transparency in training delivery would help to support trust in a controversial area, and using unclassified and open source information that can be shared broadly is more practical for efforts that must bridge many organizational boundaries.
  • Pursuing public-private partnerships and broadening support from nonsecurity agencies would be a practical approach to supporting terrorism prevention efforts in a way that is potentially more acceptable to communities and members of the public.
  • Building and maintaining the bench of expert practitioners will be important in developing programs from the national to the local levels.
  • Strengthening investment in evaluation would address criticism of the effectiveness of both past CVE and current terrorism prevention efforts in the future.

Read the report.

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