If you blinked, you might have missed it. The Obama administration has unofficially rebranded "war on terror" phrase that dominated public discourse throughout the Bush administration. The replacement phrase, carefully chosen, is "CVE" -- Countering Violent Extremism.
Early in the administration, the Office of Management and Budget
changed the wording of the line item under which the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq were funded. They called it "Overseas Contingency
Operations." That phrase was never intended to be for public
consumption (and public ridicule), but burrowed bureaucrats leaked it
to the press, a field day was had.
Countering Violent Extremism is noticeable for two words that aren't there: some
variant of "jihad," which is the preferred predicate for
counter-terrorism-fighting conservatives, and "war," which is because
the administration has put de-radicalization alongside the Predator
drones as a primary instrument of combat. No mention of Islam, of
course. That's because the administration wants to try and decouple the
notion of combating terrorism from the Muslim faith itself. BTW: when I first heard the phrase, I assumed it stood for "combating violent extremism." But no -- the word combat denotes military action only -- Obama's approach combines hard and soft power.
phrase first appears to have been used in public by the director of
national intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair (Ret.), and its utterance was picked up by Newsweek.
Though there hasn't been any formal announcement, folks in the
counteterrorism business are now using CVE in the same way they used
GWOT -- Global War On Terror just five years ago.
Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.