The Trump administration has proposed sharp cuts to programmes that seek to prevent domestic terrorism and prepare localities to respond.
This is a move that has come under increased scrutiny by critics in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history- the Las Vegas lone shooter attack that left 59 dead.
The Department of Homeland Security says, however, that it is merely re-working the administration’s efforts, and promises more effective measures to come.
While the motives remain unknown in Sunday night’s Las Vegas shooting that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500, the event immediately raised questions about domestic terrorism and whether it is a case of home-grown extremism.
President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal included steep cuts to a number of grant programs run by the Department of Homeland Security that go toward terrorism and violent extremism preparedness and prevention. More than $300 million is slated to be cut from such programmes.
The administration has also folded two counter-terror grant programmes altogether and is in the process of rebranding the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism office.
A senior DHS official disputed the notion that the administration is retreating from the effort, though, saying a new strategy is forthcoming.
“We really intend to elevate and amplify our terrorism prevention efforts in a big way, because the threat environment is serious, we’re taking it seriously and we’re doing a full end-to-end review of what we do on terrorism prevention to make sure that our efforts are effective,” the official told CNN.
“We do not intend to focus our terrorism prevention efforts exclusively on one ideology. DHS is committed to combating both domestic terrorism and international terrorism and bolstering efforts for both.”