Secure Families Initiative will testify during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee investigative hearing entitled: “Helping Veterans Thrive: The Importance of Peer Support In Preventing Domestic Violent Extremism.”
SFI Executive Director Sarah Streyder will share how the partners and family members of veterans are some of the most directly impacted stakeholders when veterans resort to political violence, as well as the first line of defense in preventing extremism from taking hold.
“The topic of this HVAC hearing has profound importance for our military family community. When a service member or veteran adopts extremist views and resorts to political violence, it is us – their immediate loved ones – who are impacted first,” Streyder says. “We deeply appreciate this committee including our voices in these deliberations, as no one is more personally invested in identifying solutions to this real and pressing problem than we are.”
Ahead of the Committee hearing, the majority released a staff report based on a prior hearing called “Report On Domestic Violent Extremist Groups And The Recruitment Of Veterans.” This Thursday’s hearing will build off those findings: “Members will examine various risk factors that place a small but growing number of veterans at risk for extremist violence, and identify and evaluate civil society efforts to combat domestic violent extremism.”
SFI’s Key Points
Streyder’s testimony includes four points of emphasis:
- The wartime operational tempo of the last twenty years has contributed to this problem. Understanding this context is crucial to understanding risk factors related to political violence.
- Veterans’ interpersonal support networks are the first line of defense against violent extremism. The partners, family members, and neighbors of veterans are uniquely influential stakeholders who must be incorporated into any prevention or rehabilitation strategies this Committee devises.
- Voting and other forms of civic engagement provide peaceful alternatives to political violence. This Committee should support efforts that train and inspire veterans to exercise their rights.
- SFI stands ready to partner on this issue. Our work and the work of other non-governmental partners should continue to inform this Committee’s strategies.
Read SFI’s full written testimony.
Watch the House Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing
To watch all the spoken testimony and committee questions and panelists’ answers, watch the entire hearing live Thursday beginning at 10 AM Eastern.