The 75th Terrorist Plot on the United States

On the morning of December 2, gunfire was reported at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The events of the following five hours resulted in 16 deaths, including the two suspected shooters, and 21 wounded, including two police officers. The FBI has confirmed it will be investigating the events in San Bernardino as an act of terrorism, making this the 75th Islamist-inspired terrorist attack or plot in the U.S. since 9/11.

Congress should develop a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy. Since the inspirational source of domestic radicalization and terrorism often lies overseas, battling violent Islamist extremism abroad should be addressed in concert with the challenges presented by the terrorism at home. Congress should ensure that the Administration has a comprehensive strategy for addressing violent Islamist extremism both at home and abroad.

Congress should also emphasize community outreach. Federal grant funds should be used to create robust community outreach capabilities directed towards higher-risk areas. Such capabilities are key to building trust in local communities. If the United States is to be successful in thwarting lone-wolf terrorist attacks, it should seriously consider community outreach operations.

Finally, Congress should maintain comprehensive information sharing. The Visa Waiver Program has been under attack following the recent terrorist attacks in the Western world. The program is essential for sharing information between 38 countries and the U.S. on potential terrorists, and stopping those who seek to travel to the U.S. with the intent of causing mayhem or radicalizing young Americans. Congress should avoid legislation that may suspend or negatively affect the program. Congress should also work with all nations in collaborating other counterterrorism efforts.

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