Date of Graduation

Spring 2016


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Kerry Kartchner


Militant Islamist ideology and the level of attention and reaction it merits from the United States government has been the point of much contention and debate within both the academic and policy communities. The purpose of this thesis is to discuss the relevance of militant Islamist ideology in crafting and implementing the emerging United States policy of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). Militant Islamist ideology provides its adherents with a strong sense of identity, motivation towards a seemingly worthy cause, and an all-encompassing and simplistic worldview. This ultimately points to the importance of engaging with the Muslim community, careful and tactful use of law enforcement, and efforts to minimize Islamophobia in the implementation of the U.S. CVE policy. Chapter One provides a brief overview of militant Islamist ideology, with particular emphasis on how it facilitates identity and what that means in a broader, socio-psychological sense. Chapter Two describes existing CVE programs in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the emerging programs in the U.S as well as the challenges recognized by each program. These programs are then assessed according to the lessons learned in Chapter One in order to advise ways in which U.S. CVE policy can effectively address militant Islamist ideology. To date, there is little certain or validated about how to effectively carry out these programs, due to the fact that they are all the first of their kind.


countering violent extremism, CVE, ideology, Islam, identity

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Leena Almeda Carmenates

Open Access