In fiscal year 2005, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership was established to eliminate terrorist safe havens in northwest Africa by strengthening countries' counterterrorism capabilities and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology.
Funds obligated for TSCTP in fiscal years 2005 through 2007 and committed for fiscal year 2008 by the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense have amounted to about $353 million for activities in nine partner countries.
In fiscal years 2005 through 2007, State, USAID, and DOD distributed about 74 percent of their obligations for TSCTP to Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger; about 3 percent to Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia; and about 8 percent to Nigeria and Senegal.
The remaining 15 percent was distributed through regional assistance, such as military exercises in multiple partner countries. The agencies expected to distribute about half of total funds committed for TSCTP for fiscal year 2008 to Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger and the remainder among the other countries. The State Department, USAID, and DOD have supported a wide range of diplomacy, development assistance, and military activities aimed at strengthening partner countries' counterterrorism capacity and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology.
For example, the State Department -- the lead agency for TSCTP -- has hosted educational programs intended to marginalize violent extremists; USAID supported efforts to improve education and health; and DOD has provided counterterrorism training in marksmanship and border patrol to the militaries of partner countries.
Several factors have hampered the key agencies' implementation of TSCTP activities, in some cases limiting their ability to collaborate in working to combat terrorism.
First, the agencies lack a comprehensive, integrated strategy for their TSCTP activities, and the documents used in planning the activities do not prioritize proposed activities or identify milestones needed to measure progress or make improvements.
Second, disagreements about whether the State Department should have authority over Defense Department personnel temporarily assigned to conduct TSCTP activities in partner countries have led to DOD's suspending some activities, for example, in Niger.
Third, fluctuation in State's and USAID's distribution of funds for TSCTP resulted in suspension of a peace-building program in Mali.
Fourth, although the agencies measure activities' outputs, such as the number of foreign military personnel trained, they do not measure their activities' outcomes in combating terrorism -- for instance, any decrease in extremism in the targeted countries.
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.