By Vincent Picard
The Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT) directs foreign assistance efficiently and effectively to protect the United States, American citizens, and other partner countries against terrorist threats worldwide.
In late October and early November, CT convened hundreds of experts from across the U.S. government—including virtually from U.S. embassies around the world—for a comprehensive review of global counterterrorism and capacity building efforts. A major focus of this annual CT Sync and Counterterrorism Assistance Planning Event (CAPE), was determining where to target CT’s more than $320 million in foreign assistance funding to combat terrorism around the world and protect the U.S. homeland.
Hot topics in this year’s sessions included addressing the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Syria, the shifting counterterrorism strategy in Africa, and the possible resurgence of terrorist threats in Afghanistan. During the opening plenary, White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Joshua Geltzer offered perspectives on the current administration’s approach to counterterrorism, including highlights from the recently approved Counterterrorism Strategy, which prioritizes diplomacy, multilateral partnerships, and building partner capacity.
CAPE helps CT align programming with policy, ensuring that competing priorities, budget constraints, and emerging threats are identified and addressed appropriately. Since 2017, CT has used the event to drive the allocation of more than $3 billion in counterterrorism capacity building programs in dozens of countries around the world.
“With the terrorist threats to America becoming more diverse, we are refocusing our counterterrorism efforts with a renewed emphasis on civilian-led, non-military approaches to terrorism,” said Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Timothy Betts. “CAPE serves as an ideal vehicle for agencies from across the federal government to come together to enhance our international partnerships, build the capacity of foreign partners to combat terrorism within their borders, and proactively address the drivers of radicalization to violence and terrorist recruitment.”
Vincent Picard is the senior public affairs officer for the Bureau of Counterterrorism.