“‘How do you know it’s going to work?’ That is a question Nick Rasmussen hears a lot, often from Members of Congress. Like Munter, Rasmussen spent most of his working life in government, most recently as director of the National Counterterrorism Center. When he left the public sector and went to work at the McCain Institute in 2017, he was inspired by a vision to address ‘gaps’ in national security that government can’t fill. As part of that, he now leads a small team at McCain zeroed in on preventing extremist violence in the United States.
“Working in this area requires a ‘tolerance for messiness,’ Rasmussen warns. It’s very difficult to measure the impact of prevention programs, for instance. ‘When you stop something from happening, how do you document a success?’ he asks…”