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Research Report

REMODELING PARTNER CAPACITY: Maximizing the Effectiveness of U.S. Counterterrorism Security Assistance

Ilan Goldenberg
Alice Hunt Friend
Stephen Tankel
Nicholas A. Heras
Copyright Date: Nov. 1, 2016
Pages: 42

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. 1-1)
  3. (pp. 2-4)
  4. (pp. 5-10)

    International cooperation has always been a critical element of counterterrorism, but it became considerably more important after 9/11. Security assistance is a central component of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy to incentivize cooperation and build the capacity of partner nations to conduct their own operations against terrorist groups. Building partner capacity (BPC) became the catchall term for a wide array of security assistance programs developed for this purpose. The nucleus of the BPC effort began in Iraq, where the escalating insurgency led the Bush administration to devise a military plan that would train the Iraqi army to assume responsibility for security...

  5. (pp. 11-18)

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been a U.S. security partner since 1951, receiving more than $15 billion in total military and economic assistance during that time, and the governments of both countries consider the U.S.-Jordanian relationship to be strategic and vital.16 Designated a major non-NATO ally by the United States, Jordan plays a proactive role in a range of issues, including the global counterterrorism campaign against ISIS and al Qaeda, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and international peacekeeping missions such as in Afghanistan. But Jordan’s real strategic value to the United States is due not so much to any specific...

  6. (pp. 19-27)

    Terrorism in Kenya is rooted in its historically poor relations with Somalia and with its own minority Muslim population. Pressure on Islamists in Somalia has prompted attacks inside Kenya, while some Muslims marginalized within Kenyan society have aided militants in Somalia and conducted their own attacks. Nairobi’s long-standing suspicion of Somali-Kenyan communities’ loyalty to the state, combined with a steady increase in al-Shabaab-related terrorist violence, fuels a tendency for security forces to use repressive tactics against Muslim citizens and refugees alike. This interrelationship between Kenyan domestic politics and foreign extremism complicates joint U.S.-Kenyan efforts to counter terrorism on the Horn...

  7. (pp. 28-33)

    Our field research in Kenya and Jordan as well as our consultations and policy roundtables with experts in Washington have led to three central conclusions. First, U.S. counterterrorism security assistance is too focused on external threats to partners and thereby shortchanges support to law enforcement and local counterterrorism efforts. This is partly a function of current U.S. priorities, but also the result of uneven capabilities across the USG. More emphasis should be put on increasing the capacity of U.S. agencies to develop programs designed to improve the capacity, capabilities, and professionalism of domestic security services and on relevant CVE programs...

  8. (pp. 34-38)
  9. (pp. 39-40)