State Department Elevates Office of Counterterrorism to Full Bureau

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced the elevation of its counterterrorism office to a full-scale bureau in accordance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call last year for a global effort "that is as nimble and adaptive" as the violent extremists it seeks to defeat (see GSN, Jan. 9, 2009).

Establishing the Counterterrorism Bureau was one of the central suggestions in the department's December 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. The new bureau will take over all of the duties of the present Counterterrorism Coordinator's Office, according to a press release.

The new bureau will be responsible for devising and putting in place antiterrorism postures, plans and programs, among several duties. It will also represent the State Department in intragovernment dealings with the Homeland Security Department on counterterrorism initiatives and postures (U.S. State Department release I, Jan. 4).

The bureau will fulfill its duties with "existing resources" in light of the current fiscal climate,  Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, who heads the existing counterterrorism office, told journalists at a press briefing.

"The establishment of the bureau in many ways is a confirmation or ratification of the things that we have been doing increasingly in recent years. So the fundamental tasks remain the same, but what we have now is an infrastructure to continue doing them more effectively and building on those successes in the future," Benjamin said.

"So we now are in a position where we can continue to innovate our programming to counter violent extremism, to enhance partner capacity around the world, to do the bilateral diplomacy that we do with other countries to discuss the threats," he added.
 
The ambassador said the counterterror office had outgrown its initial organizational structure.
 
"The new bureau will lead the department in U.S. government efforts to reduce radicalization and mobilization abroad. It will work with the recently established Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications to de-legitimate the violent extremist narrative, to develop positive alternatives for populations that are vulnerable to recruitment, and it will work to partner with governments and civil society in building capacity to counter violent extremism," he said (U.S. State Department release II, Jan. 4).
Jan. 5, 2012
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The U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced the elevation of its counterterrorism office to a full-scale bureau in accordance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call last year for a global effort "that is as nimble and adaptive" as the violent extremists it seeks to defeat.

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