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Prevent and Disrupt Terrorist Attacks

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the United States, together with partners across the globe, has waged an unrelenting War on Terror both to hold the perpetrators accountable and to prevent the recurrence of similar atrocities on any scale, whether at home or abroad.

Preventing WMD Terrorism

The intent of our principal terrorist enemies to inflict catastrophic damage on the United States, coupled with their demonstrated contempt for human life, has fueled their desire to acquire WMD. Among our most important missions in denying entry to terrorists, their weapons, and other implements of terror is to detect, disrupt, and interdict the movement of WMD-related materials into the Homeland. This is one objective in our comprehensive strategy to prevent WMD terrorism,which is fully discussed in the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. By integrating the operationaland intelligence efforts of all levels of government,the private sector, and our foreign partners, and enabled by an international framework and domestic institutions supporting its implementation, our strategy involves simultaneous action to:

WMD in the hands of terrorists is one of the gravest threats we face, and we cannot permit the world's most dangerous terrorists to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

The updated National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, released in September 2006, articulates our strategy for winning the War on Terror. Over the short term we are working to prevent attacks by terrorist networks, deny weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to rogue states and terrorists who seek to use them, deny terrorists the support and sanctuary of rogue states, and deny terrorists control of any nation they would use as a base and launching pad for terror. From the beginning, however, we recognized that the War on Terror is a different kind of war – not only a battle of arms but also a battle of ideas. Accordingly, we are advancing effective democracy as the antidote to the ideology of our terrorist enemies and the long-term solution for winning the War on Terror.

This National Strategy for Homeland Security is a companion to the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, and the sections in both on preventing and disrupting terrorist attacks are complementary and mutually reinforcing. In order to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks in the United States, we are working to deny terrorists and terrorist- related weapons and materials entry into our country and across all international borders, disrupt their ability to operate within our borders, and prevent the emergence of violent Islamic radicalization in order to deny terrorists future recruits and defeat homegrown extremism.

Deny Terrorists, Their Weapons, and Other Terror-Related Materials Entry to the Homeland

Denying our terrorist enemies the ability to travel internationally and, particularly, across and within our borders, severely inhibits their effectiveness. By preventing terrorists and their implements of destruction from entering the United States, we hinder their ability to identify and surveil possible targets, conduct planning, and launch an attack within our Homeland. Our National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel, National Strategy for Maritime Security, and National Strategy for Aviation Security are helping to guide our efforts. While we have strengthened travel and document security, improved information sharing with our domestic and international partners, and enhanced the screening of all visitors and cargo to the United States, our principal terrorist enemies are determined to infiltrate operatives and attack us on our soil. They also remain adaptive, exploiting perceived weaknesses in our dynamic travel system and using illicit means to circumvent our border and transportation security. We will defeat terrorists' efforts to infiltrate our Homeland while continuing to promote the reliable and efficient flow of people, goods, and services across our borders that is essential to American openness and economic prosperity.

Border Security and Interior Enforcement

As part of our broader effort for comprehensive immigration reform, we will work to further secure the Homeland and disrupt terrorist and other criminal activity in the United States. This includes improving our ability to detain and remove criminal and fugitive aliens and visa violators. We will continue to hire, train, and deploy additional Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection officers, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, as well as to build on the substantial improvements to the infrastructure and technology deployed at our borders. Additionally, we will expand detention bed space for aliens subject to detention and removal.

At the same time, we will enhance interior enforcement efforts, including worksite enforcement programs. Employers should be required to verify the work eligibility of all employees, preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining jobs through fraud or the use of stolen identification, including Social Security numbers. In order to accomplish this, we must expand the use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system that is timely, accurate, and easy for employers to use. We also will continue to crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants by applying criminal penalties to those who circumvent the law. In addition, we will continue to step up efforts to verify the status of non-immigrants studying in the United States through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and have appropriate follow-up where there may be violations. Taken together, these efforts will reinforce significantly enhanced border and interior security and help deny employment to those who are present in our country illegally, including criminals and potential terrorists.

Disrupt Terrorists and Their Capacity to Operate in the United States

The United States and our partners and allies are attacking terrorists and their networks in a campaign of direct and continuous action to deny them what they need to operate and survive overseas. We are on the offense at home, too – taking the fight to an enemy that exploits our open and diverse society, hides among us, and tries to attack us from within. Leveraging our Nation's foundation of homeland security partnerships, as well as our relationships with committed friends across the globe, we will work to uncover terrorists and terrorist activity within our borders and take swift and effective action to preempt and disrupt their activities and enterprises. The Federal Government must ensure that we have the necessary and appropriate legal tools to accomplish these objectives while at the same time preserving the rights and civil liberties of all Americans.

Prevent Violent Islamic Extremist Radicalization in the United States

The arrest and prosecution inside the United States of a small number of violent Islamic extremists demonstrates that we are not immune to the emergence of homegrown violent Islamic extremism. Potential catalysts for radicalization within Muslim American communities include feelings or perceptions of social discrimination that generate a sense of alienation from society and distrust of the government; perceptions of political and economic inequalities; and dissatisfaction with foreign and domestic U.S. policies viewed as hostile to Muslims. Preventing and disrupting radicalization requires concerted, focused action in the near term. While our Strategy focuses on preventing homegrown violent Islamic extremism – the ideology underpinning the principal terrorist threat confronting the United States today – we recognize that terrorists and violent extremists can arise in many other faiths, communities, or persuasions. Accordingly, our Strategy can be appropriately tailored to address a variety of domestic communities and groups whose members may be susceptible to radicalization.

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