US establishes Bureau of Counter terrorism
"The mission of the new bureau will be to lead the Department in the US Government`s effort to counter terrorism abroad and to secure the United States against foreign terrorist threats," Ambassador-at-Large Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, said at a news briefing at the State Department. "The bureau will have a number of concrete responsibilities," he said, while announcing the establishment of the bureau.
In coordination with Department`s leadership, the National Security Staff and other US government agencies, the new bureau will develop and implement counter-terrorism strategies, policies, operations and programmes to disrupt and defeat the networks that support terrorism. The bureau will lead in supporting US counter-terrorism diplomacy and seek to strengthen homeland security, countering violent extremism and build the capacity of partner nations to deal effectively with terrorism, Benjamin said. The new bureau, he said, will lead the Department in US government efforts to reduce radicalisation and mobilisation abroad.
It will work with the recently-established Center for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communications to de-legitimate the violent extremist narrative and develop positive alternatives for populations that are vulnerable to recruitment. The bureau will also work to partner with governments and civil society in building capacity to counter violent extremism, Benjamin said.
Designations of Foreign Terrorist Organisations is one of the core activities of the office and of the new bureau, and it will continue to be so, he said in response to a question. According to a State Department fact sheet, the US faces a continuing terrorist threat from al-Qaeda and other groups and individuals who subscribe to violent extremism. "While we have made much progress in combating terrorism since the 9/11 attacks, challenges remain," it said.
"Together with defence, intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security, diplomacy and development are critical to keeping America safe. To secure our future, we must continue to strengthen our international coalition against terrorism, build foreign partner capacity to mitigate terrorist threats, reinforce resilience against attacks and counter the ideologies and ideas that fuel violent extremism around the world," the fact sheet said.
The Bureau of Counter-terrorism will focus on the State Department in US government efforts to counter violent extremism. Noting that the security of the US depends on the strength of its partners and allies abroad, the fact sheet said with capable partners who are able to manage the threats within their borders and regions, the likelihood of US forces being called into action is greatly reduced.
The Bureau of Counter-terrorism will work with other bureaux and agency partners in supporting US government work to build international partner counter-terrorism capacity in the civilian sector and will contribute to efforts in the military and defence sectors, it said.