DiploNews Presents an Insider's Perspective of the Current U.S. Counterterrorism Machine
In collaboration with Michael B. Kraft, a former senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, DiploNews presents an insider's perspective of the current state of the U.S. counterterrorism machine along with the concerns for the future of counterterrorism programs and funding
PARIS, March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The State Department's top counterterrorism official, Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, told DiploNews that the administration continues to give priority to countering terrorism and emphasizing international cooperation. The U.S. originally held annual bilateral discussions with only a handful of countries, most consistently with Canada and the United Kingdom. In contrast, the U.S. now holds bilateral meetings with about 20 countries annually and holds secure communications with a handful of foreign counterparts weekly. This effort was bolstered by the 2011 launching of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. With 29 member countries plus the EU, the Global Counterterrorism Forum works to improve coordination and to share information and resources in the fight against terrorism.
According to the DiploNews report, compared with the past, tactical capabilities are at their peak, though the phenomenon of violent extremism is still out there. As a result, strategic approaches to countering terrorism have received greater focus through the U.S. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs both domestically and abroad. These programs aim to counter the radicalization of persons who may be moving onto the next phase of engaging in terrorist violence or knowingly providing material support for the shooters and bombers. Additional strategy-oriented programs focus on addressing the increasingly decentralized nature of terrorism and the impact of the Internet. The variety and scope of the various training and equipment programs by the U.S. and other agencies have had an impact in improving the global counterterrorism capability and have proven to be successful.
As the international terrorism threat continued to evolve in recent years, so have U.S. government programs and budget allocations, outlines the report. As a result, the U.S. government's counterterrorism program has become so large and complicated that many federal officials do not know all the components, let alone state and local government officials. Additionally, frequent resource and budget realignments serve as evidence of the challenge of planning and budgeting in advance to counter threats that might develop in unpredictable ways.
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