On August 13, 2021 the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin regarding the heightened threat environment across the United States. The threat environment to the Homeland is diverse and challenging, especially leading up to and following the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks as well as religious holidays that could serve as catalyst for targeted violence.
Threats in the Homeland include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences. These actors are increasingly exploiting online forums to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and promote violent activity. This Bulletin builds on Bulletins issued in January and May by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and provides more information about the threat landscape we face for the coming months.
“DHS remains committed to sharing timely information with the public about the heightened threat environment in order to protect communities across our country,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “Today’s NTAS Bulletin advises the public about the heightened threat landscape we face and how DHS is working with our partners, at every level of government and in the community, to combat domestic terrorism and targeted violence in all its forms. We are committed to ensuring every initiative undertaken by DHS in response to the threat is consistent with privacy protections, civil rights and civil liberties, First Amendment-protected rights, and other applicable laws.”
DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will continue its close coordinating with state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement and public safety partners to ensure situational awareness of potential violence in their jurisdictions and will maintain open lines of communication with federal partners. DHS encourages the public to remain aware of the evolving threat environment and report suspicious activity to law enforcement officials.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, DHS has increased the development, production, and dissemination of intelligence and other actionable information central to countering threats in the current environment. DHS has established a new, dedicated domestic terrorism branch within the Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). Further, DHS has established the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) to help build local prevention frameworks to provide communities with the tools they need to counter terrorism and other targeted violence.
In February, Secretary Mayorkas designated combating domestic violent extremism as a National Priority Area for the first time in FEMA grant programs. As a result, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments are required to spend at least 7.5 percent, or a minimum of $77 million, of their DHS grant awards toward combating this threat.
These initiatives are taken in concert with the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Domestic Terrorism Strategy which highlights the whole-of-government approach being take to enhance the analysis and distribution of actionable intelligence to stakeholders; prevent domestic terrorism recruitment and the mobilization to violence; disrupt and deter domestic terrorism activity; and confront long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.
Full NTAS Bulletin available online here.