During a Senate hearing in September, the FBI director described what the agency sees as the top four threats facing the United States.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that foreign terrorist organizations, homegrown violent extremists, cyberattacks, and malign foreign influence present the biggest threats to the United States.

In addition to the four threats the FBI has identified, the wider intelligence community and the Department of Defense have also highlighted that supply-chain vulnerabilities pose an additional threat to U.S. national security and private industry.

The threats come from both state and non-state actors, with China and Russia behind some of the challenges.


Homegrown Violent Extremists

Police car vandalized
An Oklahoma City police car near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, April 24, 1995. (Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP)

Domestic terrorists are high on the FBI’s threat list.

The FBI categorizes Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) as individuals who commit violent criminal acts to further socio-political goals and who have been influenced by domestic factors, including racial, ethnic, anti-government, or anti-authority views.

On the other hand, individuals who believe themselves to be participating in a global jihad — or holy war — but aren’t members of a foreign terrorist organization, such as Al Qaeda or ISIS, fall under the Homegrown Violent Extremist (HVE) category.