A New Counterterrorism Strategy

July 1, 2011 By Mikenna Maroney

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released the new U.S Counterterrorism (CT) Strategy, in which it stated that terrorism was still the most significant threat facing the U.S. The strategy emphasized that combating terrorism throughout the world will require the use of all the capabilities and resources of the U.S. government, including our non-military tools of development and diplomacy.

“We are engaged in a broad, sustained, and integrated campaign that harnesses every tool of American power—military, civilian, and the power of our values—together with the concerted efforts of allies, partners, and multilateral institutions,” the strategy stated. “These efforts must also be complemented by broader capabilities, such as diplomacy, development, strategic communications, and the power of the private sector.”

Development and diplomacy are at the heart of U.S. efforts to combat the threats posed by weak and fragile states. The strategy noted, “The United States is working with regional and international partners to advance a number of political and economic development initiatives that address the underlying conditions that allow Yemen to serve as a safe haven for AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula].”

The strategy also outlined how promoting democracy , aside from being necessary for combating the threat of terrorism, were consistent with American values stating, “Promoting representative, responsive governance is a core tenet of U.S. foreign policy and directly contributes to our CT goals.”
The new U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy is a valuable reminder that development and diplomacy are some of the most valuable tools the U.S. possesses to address the most serious threats to its national security. Ensuring that the United States maintains a robust International Affairs Budget to support its development and diplomacy capabilities is not only consistent with American values, but is imperative for its national security.