The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs to do a better job collecting necessary data from its Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program – which funds efforts to reduce and prevent extremist violence in the United States – the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report that found that DHS didn’t obtain data on the performance of grantees for 2017-2019.

According to the report, DHS requires grant organizations to develop, collect, and submit output and outcome-related information to enable DHS to evaluate individual grantees and the overall grant program. After reviewing four grant projects, DHS concluded that grantees didn’t collect the type of performance information DHS needs to determine the CVE’s effectiveness, including “data at various time intervals to assess change in attitudinal behavior.”

GAO’s review of the program also “found that after DHS announced intended grantees for 2017-2019, it revised its selection criteria and didn’t document reasons for its selections, making it harder to ensure grantees are selected equitably.”

“From 2010 through 2019, data collected through the Extremist Crime Database show that 205 deaths resulted from 59 violent extremist attacks in the United States,” said GAO. “DHS received funding in 2016 to establish a new CVE Grant Program to support efforts by state and local governments and nongovernmental organizations to reduce risk factors associated with violent extremism.”

GAO made two recommendations in the report, both of which DHS concurred with:

  1. Developing a “policy to document the rationale for award decisions;” and
  2. Taking steps that “ensure grantees collect and submit data on project performance that enable evaluation of individual grants and the overall grant program toward intended outcomes.”
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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