The State Department's Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) has trained over 25,000 foreign police and security forces from 117 different countries in measures designed to combat, deter, and solve terrorist crimes in their countries. ATA Director Alan O. Bigler says that "in the process the program is improving both bilateral and international cooperation in the fight against terrorism." The assessment team considers five basic areas, which are seen as fundamental in any nation's defense against terrorism. Collectively they establish the framework for determining a country's ability to deter and respond to terrorist threats. In general terms, this framework involves the government's ability to: enforce the law, preserve the peace, and protect life and property; protect its national leadership, the seat and functions of government, and its resident diplomatic corps, including that of the United States; control its international borders; protect its critical infrastructure; and manage crises that have national implications. A major new area of training for ATA addresses the problems of managing the effects of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological, or radioactive materials, which are referred to as WMD. Such attacks present significant problems that are new, different, and of much greater scope than terrorist incidents involving conventional weapons. In addition to providing individual students with enhanced training, there are numerous examples where ATA training has directly thwarted or solved several major terrorist incidents or major crimes. To learn more about ATA, the program office operates its own Internet Web site, which can be found at http://www.diplomaticsecurity.org.
Terrorism: Threat Assessment, Countermeasures and Policy: U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda: An Electronic Journal of the U.S.Department of State, v.6, no.3, p. 18-21