Countering Violent Extremism Locally

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In 2011, the Obama administration announced a national countering violent extremism(CVE) strategy, which tasked local communities to work together to design and implement their own CVE programs to help prevent the threat of violent extremism. Seven years later, the majority of Americans do not know what "CVE" is and few programs exist at the local level. This project examines the U.S. approach to CVE and the challenges local stakeholders faced while attempting to design and implement "community-led" CVE programming. In examining these challenges, I explore why only some communities have responded to the federal government's call for action to design and implement CVE programming and created what I term CVE governance networks. I find that three factors -community stakeholder interest in CVE, capacity to mobilize and facilitation-explain the variation in mobilization at the local level in the United States. However, the creation of a CVE governance network does not necessarily mean that the network will develop and implement CVE programs. Local community stakeholders face numerous challenges throughout the policymaking process, which ultimately hinders implementation efforts. Often, governance networks succumb to internal political conflicts that are fueled by stakeholder disagreements over how CVE programming should be implemented within their communities. Given this, I find that networks with a local leader who is able to both facilitate coordination and make final implementation decisions tend to be more successful in implementing collaborative programming. Evidence from interviews and surveys of stakeholders involved in the CVE policymaking process lends support for my theory of local level collaborative policymaking and reveals the intricacies of the CVE policymaking process.

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International relations; Countering Violent Extremism; Counterterrorism


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Pepinsky, Thomas

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Roberts, Kenneth
Way, Christopher Robert
Kreps, Sarah E.

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Ph. D., Government

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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Attribution 4.0 International


dissertation or thesis

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