In recognition of the fact that traditional warfare cannot totally combat the threat of terrorism, there is a movement termed “countering violent extremism” (CVE), that aims to create institutions dedicated to finding a working strategy to combat the rise of terrorist threats.
The approach, while decidedly a military strategy, is radically different from past strategies that relied on the use of overwhelming force or precision tactics.
CVE would, instead of troops and bombs, utilize civil society over local government and law enforcement in order to identify what is driving extremism in the community. Civil society is also better suited to identify and deflect the causes of extremism in communities.
CVE acknowledges there must be a security and community component for success, and in so doing illustrates the disconnect that is currently present between developmental agencies and NGOs, and the military and police forces.
In past efforts of the war on terror community-building goals have often been subject to security concerns, a divide that in part comes from skepticism of CVE’s effectiveness.
Military solutions often provide much quicker results to problems, and this also leads to impatience with the long-term nature of CVE that is essential to its success.
CVE recognizes that security interventions often focus on regions where violence is already in action, and developmental agencies on regions that are poor. This approach fails to account for vulnerable populations including refugees, transit migrants, and others that do not fall into these two categories.
Youth that are susceptible to extremism must be provided with opportunities for education, sports, and vocational training as part of a comprehensive strategy rather than as an afterthought.
In order to pursue these approaches in a productive way, there must also be a means of determining what works and what doesn’t. Towards that end, a dedicated organization to lead CVE efforts is needed where this data can be collected and analyzed in order to make future recommendations on strategy.
With a new multilateral body dedicated to CVE, it may be possible to pave the way for an era of success against the problem of violent extremism.