Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States established a strong and sophisticated counterterrorism enterprise to reduce the threat of large-scale terrorist attacks on the homeland. More than 20 years later, the terrorist threats we currently face are more ideologically and geographically diffuse. At the same time, the United States is confronting a diverse and dynamic range of other national security challenges, including strategic competition, cybersecurity threats, and climate change. To tackle evolving and emerging terrorist threats within the context of broader national security priorities, the United States inaugurated a new counterterrorism policy, shifting from a U.S.-led, military-centric approach to one that prioritizes diplomacy, partner capacity building, and prevention. Striking a new balance between military and civilian counterterrorism efforts recognizes the need to deploy the full range of counterterrorism (CT) tools and ensures a more sustainable whole-of-government and whole-of-society CT approach with allies and partners around the world.
In 2022, under this new framework, the United States and its partners continued to succeed against terrorist organizations, bolstering diplomatic and multilateral engagements and partner capacity building efforts. Through U.S. leadership, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Defeat-ISIS) raised more than $440 million in stabilization pledges – including a U.S. pledge of $107 million – to support infrastructure and other critical projects in Iraq and northeastern Syria. In November the United States and the United Kingdom co-hosted a donors’ conference with 14 governments, and with numerous UN and humanitarian organizations, to discuss steps to improve the security and humanitarian conditions at the al-Hol displaced persons camp in northeast Syria.
The Department of State led Defeat-ISIS’s renewed focus on countering ISIS branches across Africa. In 2022 the Coalition welcomed Benin as its 85th member and 13th member from sub-Saharan Africa. In March, Defeat-ISIS’s Africa Focus Group (AFFG), established in 2021 to address the growing ISIS threat in sub-Saharan Africa, convened its first working-level meeting in Rome and met again in May on the margins of the Defeat-ISIS ministerial. In October the AFFG co-chairs of Morocco, Niger, Italy, and the United States met in Niamey to identify programmatic gaps and deconflict existing partner efforts in the region. The AFFG will continue to utilize existing coordination mechanisms and enhance African members’ counterterrorism capacities.
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