Annual Report on Assistance Related to International Terrorism Fiscal Year 2015
This report is submitted to fulfill the requirement for an annual report on the assistance related to international terrorism under section 502(b) of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 2349aa-7(b)). It describes how the Department of State (State) has used various programs during FY 2015 to strengthen non-military efforts, partnerships, and capacity around the world to address evolving terrorism challenges.
The terrorist threat continued to evolve rapidly in 2015 as weak or failed governance provided an enabling environment for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its affiliates. In addition, there is still a threat posed by the remnants of al-Qa’ida, including al-Nusrah Front, al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula. U.S. and Coalition partner military efforts continue to focus on disrupting and degrading these groups, but effective counterterrorism cannot solely be addressed through military means. The United States is committed to assisting our partners to build civilian counterterrorism capabilities and to counter violent extremism (CVE).
State’s priorities for U.S. assistance include addressing foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) activity, preventing and countering terrorist safe havens and terrorist recruitment, and countering Iranian-sponsored terrorism. The State Department seeks to prioritize counterterrorism assistance to countries and regions based on the extent of the terrorist threat and risk to U.S. interests, opportunities for expanded and enduring counterterrorism partnerships, and potential for impact and sustainability. State seeks to undertake monitoring and evaluation to ensure programs are having the intended effect.
Addressing the Threat Posed by Foreign Terrorist Fighters
Globally: In line with UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014), State seeks to build the capacity and cooperation of foreign partners to stem the flow and mitigate the threat of FTFs traveling to and from Iraq, Syria, and other conflict zones. Assistance is focused on strengthening legal frameworks and building justice sector capacity, enhancing traveler screening and aviation security procedures, promoting information-sharing and watchlisting capabilities, and countering ISIL-related radicalization and recruitment, including in prisons. State’s assistance in this regard has focused on major FTF source and transit regions, such as North Africa and the Western Balkans. State is funding the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide increased technical assistance to Western Balkan countries on prosecuting FTF cases. State is also providing funds for multilateral initiatives to address the FTF problem, including INTERPOL’s Foreign Fighter Fusion Cell and training courses provided by the International Institute of Justice.
Countering and Preventing Terrorist Safe Havens and Recruitment
Arabian Peninsula: State has focused counterterrorism assistance in the Arabian Peninsula on strengthening regional cooperation to isolate terrorists groups, enhancing border security, and countering regional terrorist financing networks. State is expanding training and equipment for law enforcement units working to secure borders with Yemen and enhance its crisis response capabilities. State is funding two DOJ Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) in the region to engage governments on issues related to combatting terrorism financing, building sanctions and designations regimes, strengthening prosecutorial and judicial capacity, and implementing rule of law-based counterterrorism policies and procedures. State also funds technical assistance and training for financial intelligence units and law enforcement officials.
Horn of Africa: In line with the goals of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT), assistance in the Horn of Africa focuses on building the capacity of law enforcement and civilian justice sector actors to detect and respond to attacks by al-Shabaab, investigate and prosecute terrorism cases, and counter violent extremism. State provides training to law enforcement officials from the region on border security, critical incident response and management, and investigations. State has also developed an annual 24-hour, multi-national exercise for law enforcement simulating real-life threats and evolving scenarios. State also provides technology to help countries in the region conduct screening of travelers at major ports of entry. State funds two DOJ RLAs in the region to strengthen legal frameworks and build justice sector capacity to investigate and prosecute complex terrorism cases.
Iraq, Syria, and the Levant: State counterterrorism efforts in the Levant are focused on countering-ISIL, al-Nusrah Front, and other violent extremist groups destabilizing the region. Assistance is focused on building border security capacity to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, illicit goods, and weapons; and IEDs and their precursors. State also continues to support the Department of Labor’s efforts to increase the capacity of Iraq’s electricity police as part of a joint U.S.-Iraq commitment to ensure the security and resilience of critical energy infrastructure. The State-funded DOJ RLA in the Arabian Peninsula engaged in regional CTF initiatives focused on Anti-Money Laundering information sharing with Jordanian and Lebanese interlocutors.
Sahel-Maghreb: State has focused counterterrorism assistance in the Sahel and Maghreb regions of Africa on building capacity and cooperation across law enforcement and justice actors to counter terrorist groups, in line with the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). State has focused assistance in North Africa on mitigating the threats posed by large numbers of FTFs originating from the region and violent extremist groups operating in Libya. State is funding several programs to build law enforcement crisis response and investigative capabilities. In Morocco, assistance has focused on preparing law enforcement to train third countries in counterterrorism skills. In the Sahel region, State has expanded training for law enforcement units involved with border security and detecting and countering explosives, largely to respond to the threat posed by Boko Haram. State continues to fund bilateral DOJ RLAs to provide counterterrorism justice sector and corrections assistance.
South Asia: South Asia remains a front-line region in the campaign against terrorism recruitment, funding, and operations. State continues to provide counterterrorism capacity-building assistance to partner nations across the region, including training on border security, infrastructure protection, counterterrorism-related investigation and prosecution, crisis response, and counter-messaging. In Afghanistan, for example, our programs build the capacity of key civilian security force units to detect and interdict terrorist operations.
Countering Iranian-Sponsored Terrorism
State supports global programming to encourage and promote law enforcement efforts to prevent fundraising and other illicit activities supporting Lebanese Hizballah (LH) and other Iranian proxies in key regions. In 2014, State helped to establish a new International Law Enforcement Coordination Group on LH, co-chaired by the United States and EUROPOL. In conjunction with this taskforce, State is funding training workshops and programs in key regions around the world to raise awareness and promote law enforcement tools to address LH. Focus regions include the Western Balkans, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.
Appendix: Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR)-Funded Programs Related to International Terrorism
Managed by the Bureau of Counterterrorism:
Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA): In FY 2015, NADR-ATA resources supported 525 courses, workshops, and technical consultations involving 10,455 participants in 50 countries. NADR/ATA-funded efforts help to build critical capabilities of partner law enforcement in the areas of crisis response, border security, and counterterrorism investigations.
Counterterrorism Engagement with Allies (CTE): In FY 2015, NADR-CTE resources supported a range of efforts to build the capacity of multilateral organizations and regional bodies, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum, to promote counterterrorism cooperation and best practices.
Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP): In FY 2015, NADR-TIP resources sustained, upgraded, and expanded Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System technology and associated training capabilities at 210 ports of entry (POEs) in 21 countries, including biometric equipment upgrades at 85 POEs in 16 countries. TIP programs provide partner nations with critical capabilities to identify, disrupt, and deter terrorist travel at airports and other major ports of entry.
Counterterrorism Financing (CTF): In FY 2015, NADR-CTF supported a range of capacity-building programs aimed at our partners’ abilities to monitor, interdict, and prosecute terrorist financiers and to meet international threat finance standards as outlined by the Financial Action Task Force. CTF programs assist partners to build and strengthen effective legal frameworks and regulatory regimes; establish active and capable Financial Intelligence Units; strengthen the investigative skills of law enforcement entities; and bolster prosecutorial and judicial development.
Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): In FY 2015, NADR resources helped to build law enforcement capabilities to identify and counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization through community engagement, partnerships, and strategic communications. NADR-funded CVE programs are integrated with and build upon other CVE programming funded by Economic Support Fund (ESF) resources.
Regional Strategic Initiative (RSI): In FY 2015, NADR resources supported a wide variety of RSI projects focused on promoting regional law enforcement and justice sector capabilities and cooperation against transnational terrorist threats. RSI is critical to enabling flexible civilian responses to rapidly evolving threats, and building the regional capacity, partnerships, and cooperation necessary to counter the most serious threats facing the United States.
Managed by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Threat Reduction: In FY 2015, NADR Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) funds helped to secure or destroy at-risk or illicitly proliferated MANPADS as part of a global program to prevent acquisition of these and other advanced conventional weapons by terrorists, insurgents, or other non-state actors. Since 2003, these efforts have led to the reduction of over 34,000 MANPADS in 38 countries, and improved security and management systems for thousands more MANPADS. NADR-CWD funds also supported efforts to prevent the illicit availability of small arms, helped partner countries improve stockpile management and destroy excess or otherwise at-risk stockpiles.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism (WMDT) Program: In FY 2015, NADR funds supported a range of projects that improved international capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to radiological and nuclear terrorist attacks. Funding supported the U.S. co-chaired Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and Counter Nuclear Smuggling activities. Eight multilateral GICNT activities helped build partnership capacity to address important nuclear security challenges and promoted the exchange of best practices on nuclear detection, forensics, and emergency response.
The Global Threat Reduction (GTR) Program: In FY 2015, NADR funds supports efforts to prevent terrorists and states from acquiring WMD-related expertise, materials, technologies, and equipment. The GTR program implements the only U.S. chemical security program targeting weaponizable chemicals abroad, and specifically seeks to address the threat posed by ISIL’s pursuit of chemical weapons. The GTR program helps strengthen risk management in order to reduce the risk of bioterrorism, and implements pathogen security activities in high threat regions. GTR establishes trustworthiness programs at nuclear facilities to mitigate insider threats, and strengthens security culture practices to prevent a non-state actor from acquiring nuclear material, technology, or expertise.