Washington, D.C. – Over the past four years, white supremacist violence has spread across the United States at an alarming rate, emerging as a top national security threat that must be confronted and stopped in its tracks.
Today, the Center for American Progress and the McCain Institute for International Leadership are releasing a bipartisan policy blueprint that outlines a comprehensive strategy to curb the violence and address the root causes that fuel these purveyors of extremism and hate.
“It’s time to get serious about dealing with the long-term threat of white supremacist violence,” said Katrina Mulligan, acting vice president for National Security and International Policy at CAP. “This blueprint offers policy solutions that both sides of the aisle can support, aimed at ending the violence and addressing its root causes.”
“White supremacist violence is a pervasive and alarming threat to our national security that requires a coordinated and comprehensive response,” said Brette Steele, senior director for Preventing Targeted Violence at the McCain Institute. “By identifying common ground among a diverse group of stakeholders who all share the same end-goal, this blueprint delivers timely opportunities for the executive branch and Congress to take action.”
The recommendations are the byproduct of a yearlong project that consulted more than 150 leaders from the communities most affected by white supremacist violence, along with civil rights advocates and experts in law enforcement, counterterrorism, and national security. The result is a blueprint that reflects a broad consensus on policies to tackle this issue while also respecting civil liberties and protecting vulnerable communities.
“CAP and the McCain Institute have done our country a great service by drafting a blueprint of excellent consensus proposals to neutralize the nation’s worst domestic security threat, white supremacist violence,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). “For years, I have pressed the federal government to develop a comprehensive plan to counter domestic violent extremism. While we have made some progress, including finally getting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to identify white supremacist extremists as ‘the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland,’ the U.S. government has failed to organize itself to counter and defeat the threat. This blueprint charts a serious step-by-step path to vanquishing domestic violent extremism, the gateway to destruction of our peace and our democracy.”
Among the report’s key recommendations:
- Drive more resources across federal agencies to meet the demands of the problem and to raise awareness and show leadership in addressing the threat.
- Create new standards to prevent white supremacists from infiltrating—or recruiting from—the military, law enforcement, and the federal workforce.
- Improve data collection, research, and reporting on white supremacist tactics and actors to develop more reliable information to guide action.
- Review gaps in federal and state hate crime reporting tools and create federal incentives to improve reporting accuracy by state and local law enforcement.
- Employ the latest financial and technological tools and authorities to probe the finances of violent white supremacists and crack down on foreign financiers supporting them.
- Invest in programs and initiatives that protect against violence and build resilience and trust at the state and local levels.
- Provide additional resources to the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI to pursue investigations and criminal prosecutions against hate groups, private militias, and individuals that carry out white supremacist violence.
- Pursue legislation to allow more effective prosecution of hate crimes, prohibit racial and religious profiling, and prevent white supremacists from arming themselves.
“I thank the Center for American Progress and the McCain Institute for their thoughtful and timely blueprint to end white supremacist violence in the United States,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). “I’m particularly grateful that the report acknowledges the need to address social media platforms’ algorithmic amplification of radicalizing content that leads to offline violence—an issue on which I’ve been intensely focused since coming to Congress. Addressing the rising threat of domestic extremism is among the most pressing challenges we face as a country, and it will take a comprehensive approach—like the one laid out in this report—if we are to do it effectively.”
“Guns are increasingly the weapon of choice for white supremacists and other extremists who use them to intimidate and commit acts of violence,” said Nick Suplina, managing director for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Now, we need the political will to recognize the threat of white supremacy and invest in these critical reforms to protect our communities.”
“White supremacist violence is a crucial problem needing discussions and ideas across society and government to solve,” said Nicholas Rasmussen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “That’s what this work seeks to begin, and I hope it prompts further conversations about the best actions policymakers can take.”
“This policy blueprint outlines steps that are necessary to confront the ever-increasing threat of violent white supremacy and the systemic racism that is so deeply embedded in our society,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. “The recommendations in this blueprint should be implemented with careful consideration to protecting the civil and human rights of all communities.”
Read the report: “A National Policy Blueprint To End White Supremacist Violence” by the Center for American Progress and the McCain Institute for International Leadership
Read a summary of the report’s recommendations here.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at gro.ssergorpnacirema@lenanahs or 202-478-6327.
Inspired by the character-driven leadership of Sen. John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership implements programs and initiatives to make a difference in people’s lives across a range of critical areas: leadership development, human rights, rule of law, national security, preventing targeted violence and combating human trafficking.