Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs): The Strategic Importance of Defining the Enemy

December 2019 No Comments

“Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs): The Strategic Importance of Defining the Enemy”

Author | Editor: Liebl, V. (Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL)); Canna, S. (NSI, Inc.)

Executive Summary

In this paper, as part of SMA’s Invited Perspectives series, Mr. Vern Liebl indicates that ‘violent extremist organization’ (VEO) may not be an accurate term for describing modern terrorist entities. To illustrate this point, Mr. Liebl first provides a brief history of how the term ‘VEO’ entered US defense, intelligence, and law enforcement officials’ lexicon and became commonly used. He then defines what the term ‘VEO’ means and questions whether it still appropriately applies to the organizations that have been labelled as such (namely Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State). To conclude, Mr. Liebl questions whose viewpoints are taken into consideration when declaring an entity a ‘VEO’ and whether this practice is valid or “mere propaganda by those who may sympathize with it.” He also argues that the definitions of terms such as ‘VEO’ and ‘countering violent extremism’ (CVE) should have a statutory basis and cautions US government officials that assigning labels based on fear and political expediency is unacceptable and could potentially be dangerous.

Download Publication


Submit A Comment