GAO audits Counterterrorism Bureau coordination

In early June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism. In their report, GAO notes that they found that the Counterterrorism Bureau and other bureaus within the State Department were generally consistent with key practices for interagency collaboration.

GAO found that when working with other U.S. government agencies, the Counterterrorism Bureau generally has laid out the intended outcomes of coordination efforts in interagency agreements. GAO also identified accountability mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results or outcomes of counterterrorism programming. GAO’s analysis also shows that there was frequent communication among collaborating agencies, and that officials at State and other U.S. government agencies were generally aware of the agency or individual with leadership responsibility for counterterrorism programs. Their analysis also revealed that there was general clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the participants collaborating on counterterrorism programs with the Counterterrorism Bureau.

Funding mechanisms for Counterterrorism Bureau-funded programing were clear and laid out in interagency agreements, and many of the agencies GAO spoke with had formal interagency agreements with the Counterterrorism Bureau on counterterrorism programming or activities. While GAO found that most of the State bureaus they spoke with that coordinate with the Counterterrorism Bureau did not have written agreements laying out the terms of the collaboration, several State officials said that formalized agreements were not necessary because collaboration between bureaus within State is routine and the Counterterrorism Bureau has been effective in sharing information.

The report also examined staffing concerns and foreign assistance-related goals within the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau.


For more information on GAO-15-655T, please follow the link below.
GAO-15-655T, State Department: Preliminary Observations on the Bureau of Counterterrorism’s Resources, Performance, and Coordination, Government Accountability Office

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