What Security Teams Should Know About Domestic Violent Extremism
Corporate security teams are understandably concerned about the heightened potential for ideologically-motivated violence from Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) in the United States. Actors are motivated by a variety of ideologies, whether political, economic, religious or single issue, such as environmental. Understanding motivations and the threat to your organization by external and internal actors is critical to inform security planning.
There are many challenges associated with DVEs. Ideologies are persistent and easily leveraged by social media, giving groups staying power. Recruitment is simple and quick through the Internet, shortening the ‘radicalization to operation’ cycle. This phenomenon accelerated during the pandemic, with worldwide increased use of the Internet by isolated individuals to gather information, as well as connect and commiserate with others.
Soft targets are abundant in the U.S., and many corporate facilities fall into that category or are located near a possible target and could get caught up in an attack. Organizations are also vulnerable to insider threat, currently a primary security concern at the Department of Defense. Although we want to believe employees wouldn’t target their own company, we need to understand the human condition in 2021 and how they could be exploited by various groups.
Which ideologies and groups present the greatest risks to personnel and corporate assets, and which are fleeting and simply grabbing headlines? Will the potential for violence diminish as time passes, or does polarization in our country serve as a perpetual incubator for DVEs?
Security professionals must understand the risks, potential impacts, and steps they can take to mitigate those risks.
We had a dynamic discussion with Dr. Jennifer Hesterman, an expert in terrorist organizations and hardening soft targets. Dr. Hesterman shared her research and insights to help security teams understand the potential threat of DVEs. She included many recommended resources for security professionals seeking deeper knowledge on the topic.
Key Discussion Topics:
- What is extremism? Why do people radicalize? How do ideologies evolve?
- What are the primary DVE groups, motivations and tactics?
- What specific threats do different DVEs pose and how might they bring danger to your doorstep?
- Current government activities to counter DVEs
- Lone Actor Terror
- Why is insider threat on the rise and how can we deter, detect and mitigate?
- Practical steps security professionals can take to manage risks presented by DVEs.