Congressional Research Service. November 12, 2014.

The Islamic State is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded
its control over areas of parts of Iraq and Syria since 2013. It threatens the governments of both
countries and potentially several other countries in the region, and has drawn a military response
from the international community. There is debate over the degree to which the Islamic State
organization might represent a direct terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. facilities and
personnel in the region. [PDF format, 31 pages].

Congressional Research Service. September 19, 2014.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has assessed that the terrorist group known as the
Islamic State (IS, previously referred to as ISIS or ISIL) currently poses no specific or credible threat to the homeland. The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Matthew G. Olsen, has also noted that, “any threat to the U.S. homeland from these types of extremists is likely to be limited in scope and scale,” perhaps involving individuals acting without specific IS direction. In this vein, policy makers continue to voice concerns about American IS fighters who may leave Syria or Iraq, return to the United States, and strike targets on their own at home. This CRS Insight offers a framework for considering the challenges to domestic security posed by American IS fighters and outlines some of the ways that U.S. law enforcement responds to such challenges. [PDF format, 2 pages].

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The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. September 10, 2014.

In an address from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama speaks to the nation about ISIL — and the United States’ comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group. [HTML format]. [Video format, 14:12]

The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. September 10, 2014.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a clear threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and to the broader Middle East, as well as U.S. persons, allies and interests in the region. Left unchecked, ISIL could pose a growing threat beyond the region, including to the U.S. homeland. [HTML format].

NATO’s Brave New World

On September 3, 2014, in Defense, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, by editor3

Council on Foreign Relations. August 28, 2014.

On the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 26th summit in Wales, CFR’s Janine Davidson says leaders of NATO member countries must prepare to address the rising threat of unconventional warfare: namely, Russia’s “covert, implausibly deniable invasion” of Ukraine and the rampaging ISIS forces in the Middle East. Davidson, who previously served in the Obama administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, says NATO should be assisting Ukraine with more military aid to deter any further Russian aggression. Regarding the Middle East, she adds her voice to those advocating for U.S. air strikes against ISIS targets inside Syria. “They need to be taken out. That may sound hawkish, but you cannot just attack them in one place and let them go someplace else. Now is not the time to stand back,” Davidson says. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [HTML format].