homeland security

How Events Are Impacting NJ & US Security Threats

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) released its 2020-2021 Supplemental Threat Assessment, which details how the convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and 2020 Presidential election is influencing the national threat landscape. The analysis highlights how evolving security threats will continue to impact New Jersey and the United States for the remainder of 2020 and through 2021.

“This has been an unprecedented year for New Jersey and communities across the world. We have adjusted our strategies to account for these events that have already impacted our nation along with those we anticipate in the future,” said Jared M. Maples, NJOHSP director. “As the threat landscape continues to evolve, we will continue to update and share the latest intelligence while using the findings in this supplement to support counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and preparedness efforts in New Jersey.”

In his analysis of the report, Maples writes:

For the remainder of 2020 and through 2021, national security threats evolving both at home and abroad will impact communities in New Jersey and across the United States. Numerous threats from domestic extremists and foreign adversaries have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-government sentiment, nationwide civil unrest, and various forms of disinformation. These threats will begin to converge with the Presidential election in November in a manner not previously experienced by our nation. 

Disinformation has played a vital role in the spread of inaccurate information regarding COVID-19, along with ongoing riots and alleged police brutality that have contributed to the civil unrest. Since before the pandemic, the spread of falsehoods over the Internet has grown globally. Several near-peer competitor countries engage in these types of disinformation operations to undermine the United States’ credibility on a global front, as well as to induce political contention. This includes nation-state actors such as China, Iran, and Russia, which are attempting to sow anti-US sentiments. 

The sheer volume of content is one crucial factor enabling disinformation. In response, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has increased its efforts to combat these inaccuracies. Especially in the wake of events in 2020, providing up-to-date knowledge and guidance from trusted authorities is imperative to help navigate all these details and separate fact from fiction. 

For that reason, my Office has forecasted and considered a variety of potential scenarios in this 2020-2021 Supplemental Threat Assessment that could impact the future of our nation based on the convergence of these threats this November. 

The supplement serves as a companion to NJOHSP’s 2020 Terrorism Threat Assessment released in February. It analyzes various events since March and the use of disinformation campaigns by both domestic extremists and foreign adversaries to take advantage of societal tensions and cause further instability. Considering these situations and their influences on each other, NJOHSP outlined potential scenarios to determine their effects into 2021.

For more information and to view the 2020-2021 Supplemental Threat Assessment, visit NJOHSP’s website at https://www.njhomelandsecurity.gov/analysis/2020-2021-supplemental-threat-assessment.

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