The United States faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. While the United States has made much progress since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, dangers remain. To help meet this ongoing threat, the U.S. State Department has announced the establishment of the Bureau of Counterterrorism.
The new bureau will coordinate with the National Security Staff, and other U.S. government agencies to develop and implement counterterrorism strategies, policies, and programs to disrupt and defeat the networks that support terrorism. It will also support U.S. counterterrorism diplomacy and strengthen homeland security, counter violent extremism, and build the capacity of partner nations to deal with terrorism. At the same time, the bureau will promote American values, including support for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
The new counterterrorism bureau will lead efforts to reduce radicalization and mobilization abroad by developing positive alternatives for populations that are vulnerable to recruitment, and working with partner governments and civil society organizations to build the capacity to counter violent extremism. It will also work with the recently established Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications to de-legitimate violent extremist teachings.
The Bureau of Counterterrorism will be the principal State Department link with the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, on counterterrorism strategy and operations. The bureau will work in partnership with DHS to strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of homeland security issues, including transportation security, the interdiction of terrorist travel, and critical infrastructure protection.
The United States depends on the strength of its partners and allies abroad in the fight against terrorism. With partners who are able to manage the threats within their borders and regions, the likelihood of U.S. forces being called into action is greatly reduced. The Bureau of Counterterrorism will work with other bureaus and agency partners to build international partner counterterrorism capacity in the civilian sector and will contribute to efforts in the military and defense sectors.
Protecting the United States, the American people, and U.S. interests abroad will remain a challenge in the 21st century. New terrorist threats will require innovative strategies, creative diplomacy, and stronger partnerships. The establishment of the new Bureau of Counterterrorism will help the U.S. to meet this challenge.