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H.R. 5471 (114th): Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act

H.R. 5471, the Terrorism Radicalization Act, was introduced on Monday and passed the House 402–15 on Thursday, a speedy turnaround virtually unprecedented in Congress. The bill would have the Department of Homeland Security train local and state officials on how to more quickly identify and handle terrorism threats, create a new Counterterrorism Advisory Board in the federal government, and increase governmental communications techniques intended to counter the message of groups like ISIS and combat the spread of violent extremists.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX10), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS2), the top Democrat on the committee, said that “Although there is little to object to” in the bill, it may not do enough and that Republicans were largely blocking measures that he — and most Democrats — consider more substantive. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Last updated Jun 20, 2016. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 16, 2016.

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act


(Sec. 101) This bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide training at state and major urban area fusion centers for the purpose of administering community awareness briefings and related activities in furtherance of its efforts to counter violent extremism, identify and report suspicious activities, and increase awareness of and more quickly identify terrorism threats, including the travel or attempted travel of individuals from the United States to support a foreign terrorist organization abroad. (A "fusion center" serves as a focal point within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between the federal government and state, local, tribal, territorial and private sector partners.)

(Sec. 102) The bill directs DHS to assess its efforts to support countering violent extremism at the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels. Such assessment shall:

catalog such efforts; review cooperative agreements between DHS and such governments relating to countering violent extremism; and evaluate DHS plans and any potential opportunities to better support such governments that are in furtherance of DHS's countering violent extremism objectives and consistent with all relevant constitutional, legal, and privacy protections. (Sec. 103) DHS shall notify Congress of the number of employees of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments with security clearances sponsored by DHS, including a detailed list of the agencies that employ such employees, the level of clearance held, and whether such employees are assigned as representatives to fusion centers.


(Sec. 201) DHS shall incorporate the public testimonials of former extremists into its efforts to combat terrorist recruitment. Such efforts may include: (1) counter-messaging of foreign terrorist organization communications, and (2) related community engagement and public education efforts.


(Sec. 301) This title amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish in DHS a board to coordinate and integrate DHS's intelligence, activities, and policy related to its counterterrorism mission and functions. The board shall: (1) meet on a regular basis to discuss intelligence and coordinate ongoing threat mitigation efforts and departmental activities, and (2) advise the Secretary of DHS on the issuance of terrorism alerts. The Secretary shall appoint a Coordinator for Counterterrorism within DHS to serve as the chair of the board.


(Sec. 401) No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this bill.