Countering radicalization: refocusing responses to violent extremism within the United States
Brown, Christopher J.
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The Obama Administration designated the local community as the first line of defense against violent extremist radicalization in the United States. In doing so, they called on communities to utilize existing structures such as community policing and to draw on successful models such as the Justice's Comprehensive Gang Model. Research to date, however, has not shown how this model should be adjusted at the local level to address the specific mechanics of radicalization within the United States. Insufficient attention has been paid to the specific mechanics of recruitment at the individual level within vulnerable communities at the front end of the radicalization cycle. The purpose of this thesis is to identify strategy options for community policing within Muslim populations to counter radicalization before individuals turn to violent means. Prevention programs need to act in the same way and at the same level as the violent extremist activists within the target population to be successful. In a time of budget cuts and reduced resources these options can allow the community to be a force multiplier in the creation and effectiveness of counter radicalization programs. This paper attempts to provide a strategy and framework upon which to base future counter radicalization efforts.
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