Key Issues > Countering Overseas Threats
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Countering Overseas Threats

The U.S. National Security Strategy calls for a “whole of government” approach—including diplomacy and development as well as defense and intelligence capabilities—to counter overseas threats to the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests.

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The United States has invested tens of billions of dollars in efforts to counter overseas threats over the past decade. These efforts, led by the Departments of State and Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies, have included providing assistance to enhance the capability of foreign partners to combat terrorist networks, counter violent extremism, and confront transnational criminal organizations. For example, GAO has recently issued reports that examined and, where appropriate, made recommendations on the following:

  • Transparency and sustainability of billions of dollars in U.S. funds focused on securing and stabilizing Afghanistan and preventing the return of al Qaeda and other extremist groups.
  • The use of security and civilian assistance to counter terrorist threats emanating from outside the United States.
  • Oversight and accountability of U.S. security assistance.
  • Vetting of recipients of U.S. security assistance.
  • Counternarcotics and related security efforts in Central America and the Caribbean.
     

Reported Terrorist Attacks by al Qaeda and al Shabaab in Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) Countries, 1998-2012

Reported Terrorist Attacks by al Qaeda and al Shabaab in Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) Countries, 1998-2012

Notes: Terrorist events conducted by al Qaeda and al Shabaab are included in the graphic. This graphic only includes events that the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism identified as events (1) aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal; (2) occurring where there was evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey a message beyond the immediate victims; (3) falling outside legitimate warfare activities and the parameters of international humanitarian law; and, (4) that are not ambiguous as to their nature as terrorist incidents. Successful and unsuccessful attacks are included. Terrorist event information is drawn entirely from publicly available materials and reflects what is reported in those sources. (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism). (2012). Global Terrorism Database, Incidents Over Time. Retrieved from http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd on May 6, 2014.)

Key Terrorist Groups in Northwest Africa and Their Regions of Operation, 2009-2014

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	<strong>Key Terrorist Groups in Northwest Africa and Their Regions of Operation, 2009-2014

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.
Afghanistan: Oversight and Accountability of U.S. Assistance
http://gao.gov/products/GAO-14-680T

GAO-14-680T: Published: Jun 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2014.
Afghanistan: Key Oversight Issues for USAID Development Efforts
http://gao.gov/products/GAO-14-448T

GAO-14-448T: Published: Mar 13, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2014.
Afghanistan: Key Oversight Issues
http://gao.gov/products/GAO-13-218SP

GAO-13-218SP: Published: Feb 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 2013.

Videos

Example of Saudi Government Sponsored TV Advertisement Countering Terrorism
GAO Visit to a Saudi Government Operated Rehabilitation Center
Smuggling of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Materials from Pakistan to Afghanistan
  • portrait of Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    • Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    • Director, International Affairs and Trade
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    • (202) 512-7331