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The Case for Defining CVE and PVE

How the NSCITF Model Can Provide a General Framework for the Counter-Terrorism Field

Will Clifft


The terms “CVE” (countering violent extremism) and “PVE” (preventing violent extremism) have been increasingly used over the past decade to refer to a variety of programs, mostly in the counterterrorism field. However, the specific types of programs these terms refer to are still unclear. Both the CVE and PVE label have been applied to programs ranging from armed state intervention in the workings of extremist cells to relatively abstract community development programs. Because this lack of clarity has led to widespread misunderstanding and the occasional condemnation of CVE and PVE programs at large, this paper aims to provide a better understanding of the differences between what constitutes CVE programs and PVE programs respectively, to provide a basis for clearer definitions in future research, and to explain how narrowing the scope of these terms can increase the effectuality of a variety of counterterrorism programs.

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