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 Yemen.
  • Counternarcotics and related security efforts in Central America and the Caribbean
  • Sharing of relevant and timely intelligence information among U.S. agencies to help prevent the spread of U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
  • Alignment of the Department of Homeland Security’s overseas resources with priorities.

U.S. Strategic Goals for Yemen and Agencies Providing Assistance in Support of the Goals
U.S. Strategic Goals for Yemen and Agencies Providing Assistance in Support of the Goals

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Combating Terrorism:

DHS Should Take Action to Better Ensure Resources Abroad Align with Priorities
Published: Sep 25, 2013. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 2013.

Central America:

U.S. Assistance to Yemen:

Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Emergency Food Aid and Assess Security Assistance
Published: Mar 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2013.


Key Oversight Issues
Published: Feb 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 2013.


Agencies Could Improve Information Sharing and End-Use Monitoring on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exports
Published: Jul 30, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 2012.

More Reports

Countering Overseas Threats:

Gaps in State Department Management of Security Training May Increase Risk to U.S. Personnel
Published: Mar 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2014.


Reporting on Visa Delays That Disrupt U.S. Assistance Could Be Improved
Published: May 7, 2013. Publicly Released: May 7, 2013.

International Affairs:

Status of Funding, Equipment, and Training for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative
Published: Mar 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 2013.

Security Assistance:

Evaluations Needed to Determine Effectiveness of U.S. Aid to Lebanon's Security Forces
Published: Mar 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2013.

Building Partner Capacity:

Key Practices to Effectively Manage Department of Defense Efforts to Promote Security Cooperation
Published: Feb 14, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 2013.

Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations:

DOD Decision Makers Need Additional Analyses to Determine Costs and Benefits of Returning Excess Equipment
Published: Dec 19, 2012. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 2012.

Security Assistance:

Afghanistan Development:

Agencies Could Benefit from a Shared and More Comprehensive Database on U.S. Efforts
Published: Nov 7, 2012. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 2012.

Afghanistan Security:

Long-standing Challenges May Affect Progress and Sustainment of Afghan National Security Forces
Published: Jul 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2012.

Counternarcotics Assistance:

U.S. Agencies Have Allotted Billions in Andean Countries, but DOD Should Improve Its Reporting of Results
Published: Jul 10, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 2012.


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
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