At last week’s meeting of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism And Responses to Terrorism (START) in downtown Washington DC, DHS S&T Undersecretary Reggie Brothers’ opening comments focused on how DHS was addressing the issue of radicalization and violent extremism and the value of research performed by START academics, some of which was showcased on posters scattered around the conference meeting room. Summaries of some of the research are available on the START website, Executive Director Bill Braniff told attendees.

Dr. Brothers said that the DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson had made Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) one of his highest priorities and that the Department had just completed work on a department-wide strategy document. Dr. Brothers said the document had not been made public and did not disclose whether it would be. Still, it was the first time most people in the audience had heard that the strategy document had been completed and there was considerable “buzz” generated by Dr. Brothers’ comments.

One wonders whether the topic will come up this Wednesday when Secretary Johnson testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee, along with FBI Director James Comey and NCTC Director Nick Rasmussen on “Worldwide Threats and Homeland Security Challenges.” It would be a good topic to discuss and would distinguish this House hearing from the one with the same witnesses held on October 8 by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Moreover, the hearing comes two days after news reports that Secretary Johnson’s personal e-mail was hacked, as was that of CIA Director John Brennan. I imagine this will be an issue for committee questions that the Senate did not have an opportunity to address.

It should be an interesting hearing.