In fiscal year 2005, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) was established to eliminate terrorist safe havens in northwest Africa by strengthening countries' counterterrorism capabilities and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology. Funds obligated for TSCTP in fiscal years 2005 through 2007 and committed for fiscal year 2008 by the Department of State (State), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DOD) have amounted to about $353 million for activities in nine partner countries. In this report, GAO examines (1) the distribution of funds for TSCTP and the types of activities supported and (2) the program's implementation, including the extent to which it is guided by a comprehensive, integrated strategy. GAO has reported previously on the need for a strategy that includes priorities and milestones that can help agencies collaborate in combating terrorism. GAO analyzed TSCTP-related documents and conducted work in Mali, Morocco, and Mauritania.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||1. To enhance U.S. agencies' ability to collaborate in strengthening country and regional counterterrorism capabilities and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology in northwest Africa, the Secretary of State should work through the Director of Foreign Assistance, who serves concurrently as USAID Administrator, to develop a comprehensive strategy for the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership in conjunction with the Secretaries of Defense and the Treasury, the U.S. Attorney General, and the heads of any other partner agencies. The strategy should include clear goals, objectives, and milestones, including output and outcome indicators, and identify resources needed to achieve the program's goals.|
|Department of State||2. The Secretaries of State and Defense should develop and issue joint guidance with regard to DOD personnel temporarily assigned to conduct TSCTP activities in the partner countries.|
|Department of Defense||3. The Secretaries of State and Defense should develop and issue joint guidance with regard to DOD personnel temporarily assigned to conduct TSCTP activities in the partner countries.|