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house Bill H.R. 4401

Should Homeland Security Train Local Partners to Identify and Counter Violent Extremism?

Argument in favor

The Dept. of Homeland Security has a responsibility to train its state, local, tribal, and territorial partner agencies to identify and counter violent extremism in their communities.

Czerny's Opinion
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02/27/2016
So long as the focus is extremism in general and not just Muslims this sounds reasonable.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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03/01/2016
We need to crack down on domestic terrorism.
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Steven's Opinion
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02/29/2016
Not every jurisdiction has to face such threats on a consistent basis so they don't regularly train for it. Being prepared hurts no one, being unprepared can be tragic.
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Argument opposed

Non-federal law enforcement personnel already receive ample training in recognizing and countering violent extremism, they don’t need DHS to tell them what they know.

GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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02/27/2016
No! I do not like the sounds of DHS backdooring into local law enforcement agencies and deciding who might have the proper security clearance to work with them. All 50 states, or 57 if you prefer the Presidents count, have established procedures to handle civil disturbances. We DO NOT need a federal police force.
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operaman's Opinion
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02/29/2016
Just another way for the Feds to increase their police force. There are ample private security organizations that can do the training. The Federal Government keeps the yelling "More money equals better security.
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Alis's Opinion
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03/05/2016
Who bloody cares? I am tired of politicians trying to scare me to death! I refuse to acquiesce to the taking of every freedom for the illusion of safety!!
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What is House Bill H.R. 4401?

This bill would authorize the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide training in countering violent extremism to DHS, state, local, tribal, and territorial personnel at DHS’ national network of state and major urban area fusion centers. The training is designed to improve the ability of trainees to counter violent extremism in the following ways:

  • Identify and report suspicious activities;

  • Increase awareness and more quickly identify terrorism threats, including the travel or attempted travel from the U.S. to join a foreign terrorist organization.

DHS would be required to notify Congress within 30 days of this bill’s enactment about the number of state, local, tribal, and territorial personnel that have security clearances sponsored by DHS. This notice would include information about the level of clearance held by the employee, the agency employing them, and whether they’re assigned to DHS fusion centers.

Within 150 days of this bill’s enactment, an assessment of DHS’ performance in supporting efforts to counter violent extremism with non-federal partners would be provided to relevant congressional committees. The assessment would include:

  • A cataloging of departmental efforts to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in countering violent extremism;

  • A review of cooperative agreements between DHS and such governments related to countering violent extremism;

  • An evaluation of DHS plans or potential opportunities to better support such governments.

No additional funds are authorized to carry out this legislation, so all activities must be completed using funds that were otherwise made available to DHS.

Impact

State, local, tribal, and territorial personnel that would be trained at fusion centers; state and major urban area fusion centers; Congress; and DHS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4401

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) introduced this bill to ensure that law enforcement personnel at the community level receive access to DHS training in countering violent extremism:

“Our local enforcement is crucial to our national security, and they are too often overlooked as a valuable asset in fighting against acts of terrorism. That’s why I introduced the ALERT Act, to provide training, improve coordination, and increase community awareness of the foreign fighter threat… As the threats against America by radical Islamists increases, fighting terrorism cannot be a singular effort, conducted by one element of our federal government; it requires the cooperation and coordination of multiple levels of all governments, and local community participation. My legislation will not, in itself, end the threat of terrorism against our nation, but it will add to the critical resources already in our communities.”

This legislation was passed by the House Homeland Security Committee on a voice vote, and currently has the support of 11 bipartisan cosponsors — including five Democrats and six Republicans.


Of Note: In November 2015, the Daily Mail reported that at least 65 people in the U.S. had been charged with conspiring to join the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) in the preceding 18 months. Since then, there have been multiple arrests made on people attempting to travel from the U.S. to Iraq or Syria with the intention of joining ISIS.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user WEBN-TV)

AKA

ALERT Act of 2016

Official Title

To authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide countering violent extremism training to Department of Homeland Security representatives at State and local fusion centers, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed February 29th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 1st, 2016

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    So long as the focus is extremism in general and not just Muslims this sounds reasonable.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    No! I do not like the sounds of DHS backdooring into local law enforcement agencies and deciding who might have the proper security clearance to work with them. All 50 states, or 57 if you prefer the Presidents count, have established procedures to handle civil disturbances. We DO NOT need a federal police force.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    Just another way for the Feds to increase their police force. There are ample private security organizations that can do the training. The Federal Government keeps the yelling "More money equals better security.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to crack down on domestic terrorism.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Who bloody cares? I am tired of politicians trying to scare me to death! I refuse to acquiesce to the taking of every freedom for the illusion of safety!!
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Not every jurisdiction has to face such threats on a consistent basis so they don't regularly train for it. Being prepared hurts no one, being unprepared can be tragic.
    Like (3)
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    Share
    Homeland security has failed and is no longer a useful entity. It needs to be done away with
    Like (2)
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    So we're going to take money away from the Department of Homeland Security to train states and provide security level clearances local officers. I'd like to know what programs are going to be underfunded because we're involving ourselves in local law enforcement instead of the objective of the department. let's let the states request this training where they feel it's needed.
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    This just seems like a no brainer. The DEA is a federal agency specialized in drugs however hat doesn't stop us from training all the local agencies and players to identify and deal with drugs.... Why should it be any different with anti terrorism?
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    Yeah. I say this often but if we just try to help other countries out with their problems and not try and enforce our own ideas, cooperation could be encouraged world wide.
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    Same movie different scene! All I can think at this point is why people continually get scared of everything! When did American society become such a nation of such weak minded, blind, and so prone to propagandist rhetoric. This is the home of the brave, not the home of slaves! Grow up and stop watching tv. Do some research for yourself. Besides we all be gone from this earth, I refuse to live in fear! Stop listening to everything to the propaganda and demand your representatives tell us all the truth in detail. All of it not some of the truth. You politicians work for us
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    I don't really trust cops so I can't condone training them MORE to counter "violent extremists" if they're just gonna end up killing more brown people in the name of the law.
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    Violent extremism is fairly easily recognized by most, the last thing we need to do is further militarize the police force in this country.
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    No. Less government here people. 1984 anyone?
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    The DHS has not shown its an effective organization.
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    Police abuse is already a big problem; giving local police more power and more space to abuse would only lead to more problems.
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    Someone needs to train DHS before DHS trains anyone.
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    Why expand a program that encroaches enough on local and state and often is ineffective in its own mandate
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    I wonder where the funds would come for this training. Isn't DHS required to share available info with local law enforcement any way? Do we really believe that incidents like the tragedy in San Bernadino could be prevented by training locals to spot terrorists? Spotting cells of terrorists is the purview of the Feds. Locals already have full time jobs.
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    Being preemptive is key to stopping terrorism. Calling out homeland security after the fact isn't as efficient as resolving the situation before a terrorist attack happens, which is easier if local police have the ability to do so.
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