Antiterrorism Assistance Program: State Should Improve Data Collection and Participant Oversight, Statement of Jason Bair, Acting Director, International Affairs and Trade, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives [open pdf - 238KB]
"I am pleased to be here to discuss our work regarding the Department of State's (State) management of its Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. Building partner capacity is a central focus of U.S. counterterrorism strategy, and the ATA program is among State's mechanisms for accomplishing that goal. ATA's primary mission is to enhance foreign partners' capabilities to prevent acts of terrorism, address terrorism incidents when they do occur, and apprehend and prosecute those involved in such acts. In fiscal years 2012 through 2016, State allocated about $715 million to the ATA program, which it reports to have used to train about 56,000 security force officials from more than 34 partner nations. At least 2,700 of those participants were trained at facilities in the United States. In December 2015, media reports alleged potential security vulnerabilities at a subcontracted training facility used by ATA in the United States and suggested possible weaknesses in State's management of the ATA program, including the vetting of potential participants, the security of training facilities, and the unauthorized departure of participants from ATA training. My testimony today summarizes the findings from our September 2017 report, which is being released today, on State's ATA program management. This testimony addresses for fiscal years 2012 through 2016, (1) the steps State has taken to ensure that facilities used for domestic ATA training align with applicable facility and equipment security requirements, (2) State's vetting of domestic ATA participants for human rights concerns and terrorist activity screening, and (3) State's ability to oversee ATA participants, including those trained in the United States."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/