Terrorist groups need significant amounts of money to organize, recruit, train, and equip adherents and recruits. The disruption of terrorist financing by the United States can raise the costs and risks and impede their success.
US efforts to combat terrorist financing abroad include a number of interdependent activities--terrorist designations, intelligence and law enforcement, standard setting, and training and technical assistance.
First, the US government designates terrorists and blocks their assets and financial transactions and supports similar efforts of other countries. Second, intelligence and law enforcement efforts include operations, investigations, and exchanging information and evidence with foreign counterparts. Third, U.S. agencies work through the United Nations and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering to help set international standards to counter terrorist financing. Fourth, the U.S. government provides training and technical assistance directly to vulnerable countries and works with its allies to leverage resources.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government lacks an integrated strategy to coordinate the delivery of counter-terrorism financing training and technical assistance to countries vulnerable to terrorist financing. Specifically, the effort does not have key stakeholder acceptance of roles and procedures, a strategic alignment of resources with needs, or a process to measure performance.
First, the Department of Treasury does not accept the Department of State leadership or the State-led Terrorist Financing Working Group's (TFWG) procedures for the delivery of training and technical assistance abroad. While supportive of the Department of State's role as coordinator of TFWG efforts, the Department of Justice officials confirmed that roles and procedures were a matter of disagreement.
Second, the U.S. government does not have a clear presentation and objective assessment of its resources and has not strategically aligned them with its needs for counter-terrorist financing training and technical assistance. Third, the U.S. government, including TFWG, lacks a system for measuring performance and incorporating results into its planning efforts.
The Treasury faces two accountability issues related to its terrorist asset blocking efforts. First, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reports on the nature and extent of terrorists' U.S. assets do not provide Congress the ability to assess OFAC's achievements. Second, Treasury lacks meaningful performance measures to assess its terrorist designation and asset blocking efforts.
OFAC is in the process of developing more meaningful performance measures aided by its early efforts to develop a strategic plan. Officials stated that OFAC's new performance measures will be completed by December 1, 2005, and its strategic plan will be completed by January 1, 2006; however, they did not provide the General Accounting Office with documentation of milestones or completion dates.
Sources: General Accounting Office, US Treasury Department, US Department of State, National Security Institute
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.