State Department Launches Counter-Terror Bureau For Threats Abroad

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If the definition of terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce for political or other reasons, then awareness is critical to counterterrorism.

We know you are in risk overload, but the fact that the federal government has created a Bureau of Counterterrorism beginning January 4, 2012, tells you that the threat is so great that the government is forced to take action. This announcement highlights the threat of terrorism. If the definition of terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce for political or other reasons, then awareness is critical to counterterrorism. Terrorism is just one of many risks that companies face in a global economy, and it depends on each of us to be educated and reinforce the importance of awareness and reporting.

State Department launches counter-terror bureau for threats abroad

GSN Magazine
By: Mark Rockwell

The U.S. Department of State officially established a Bureau of Counterterrorism on Jan. 4 that will support U.S. Government efforts to counter terrorism abroad.

In a fact sheet posted on the State Department’s Website, the agency said the new bureau will be the principal State Department link with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on counterterrorism strategy and operations. It will work in partnership with DHS, as well as other agencies and bureaus, to strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of homeland security issues, including transportation security, the interdiction of terrorist travel and critical infrastructure protection.

“We believe that this change will strengthen the State Department’s ability to carry out its counterterrorism mission around the world,” said Daniel Benjamin, coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in a Jan. 4 briefing on the announcement. “My office and the Department have been taking on a growing role in counterterrorism in recent years, moving well beyond coordination,” he said.

“The mission of the new bureau will be to lead the Department in the U.S. Government’s effort to counter terrorism abroad and to secure the United States against foreign terrorist threats,” said Benjamin. “The bureau will have a number of concrete responsibilities. In coordination with Department leadership, the National Security Staff, and U.S. Government agencies, other U.S. Government agencies, it will develop and implement counterterrorism strategies, policies, operations, and programs to disrupt and defeat the networks that support terrorism,” he said. “The bureau will lead in supporting U.S. counterterrorism diplomacy and seek to strengthen homeland security, countering violent extremism, and build the capacity of partner nations to deal effectively with terrorism.”

The new bureau will assume the responsibilities of the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. That office had coordinated all U.S. government efforts to improve counter-terrorism cooperation with foreign governments and participates in the development, coordination, and implementation of American counterterrorism policy.

Benjamin said the new bureau has a unique set of tools for bilateral diplomacy and for training in a range of counter-terror activities, including staunching fundraising, border security and regional laws

He noted that some countries who see terror as a legitimate tool — like Iran — present “serious challenges,” but added since 9/11 countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, Qatar, and others have stepped up with greater cooperation. “There have just been tremendous strides, and frankly, we’re hoping that this Global Counterterrorism Forum will build on those strides and that terrorist – counterterrorism experts will be able to exchange best practices and identify problems and design solutions in a way that we haven’t been able to before on a multilateral basis,” he said.

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