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 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. GAO has ongoing work and recently issued reports that examined and, where appropriate, made recommendations on the following:

  • The use of security cooperation and security assistance, as well as development and other assistance, to counter terrorist and other transnational threats emanating from outside the United States;
  • Oversight and accountability of billions of dollars in U.S. funds allocated for countering terrorist and other violent extremist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or Da’esh), Boko Haram, and al Qaeda and its affiliates al-Nusrah Front, al Shabaab, and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula;
  • Vetting recipients of U.S. security assistance for human rights concerns and terrorist affiliations;
  • Counternarcotics and other transnational security efforts in Central America and the Caribbean; and
  • U.S. efforts to mitigate against terrorist and other threats to U.S. personnel overseas.

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

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

Examples of Military Systems Purchased by Egypt Using U.S. Security Assistance

Examples of Military Systems Purchased by Egypt Using U.S. Security Assistance

Security Assistance Intended to Counter Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula That Was Never Shipped after Transfer to Yemeni Government

Security Assistance Intended to Counter Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula That Was Never Shipped after Transfer to Yemeni Government

Source: Department of Defense. | GAO-15-685R

We have also issued restricted reports on a number of related subjects including the following:

  • Syria: Results of U.S. Efforts to Vet Recruits to Form a New Syrian Force to Counter ISIS. GAO-16-277C. Published: March 31, 2016
  • Security Assistance: U.S. Government Should Strengthen End-Use Monitoring and Human Rights Vetting for Egypt. GAO-16-244SU. Published: February 18, 2016
  • Combating Terrorism: Steps Taken to Mitigate Threats to Locally Hired Staff, but State Department Could Improve Reporting on Terrorist Threats. GAO-15-458SU. Published: June 17, 2015
  • Combating Terrorism: State Should Review How It Addresses Holds Placed During the Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation Process. GAO-15-439SU. Published: April 21, 2015
  • Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty: State Informs Congress of Russian Compliance through Reports and Briefings. GAO-15-318RSU. Published: February 25, 2015

Members of Congress, congressional staff, and federal government employees who have the appropriate clearances and an official need-to-know may request access to these reports at http://www.gao.gov/restricted/request-form. Members of the press or public should submit a Freedom of Information Act request.

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://www.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://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-448T

GAO-14-448T: Published: Mar 13, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2014.

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
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