Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For Global Finance, Global Regulation

For Global Finance, Global Regulation. By Gordon Brown and Nick Sarkozy
Proposals that deserve consideration include taxes on financial transactions and 2009 bank bonuses.
WSJ, Nov 12, 2009

Europe led the way last year in facing down the global financial crisis, restructuring our banking system and strengthening the global financial system. The European Union was also at the forefront in calling for a new forum for economic cooperation of G-20 leaders. And from the outset of the crisis, it was Europe that promoted the fiscal stimulus—and sought to coordinate it globally—that has been a major factor in preventing recession becoming a world-wide depression.

Now we need to once again lead the way in forging a new global consensus.

Stable, open and competitive European financial markets are essential to global growth. We recognize the importance to Europe of ensuring that we have globally competitive financial services, and the importance of developing world-class financial centers such as London and Paris.

But the way global financial institutions have operated raises fundamental questions that we must—and can only—address globally.

We have found that a huge and opaque global trading network involving complex products, short-termism and too-often excessive rewards created risks that few people understood. We have also learned that when crises happen, taxpayers have to cover the costs. It is simply not acceptable for them to foot the bill for losses in a deep downturn, while institutions' shareholders and employees enjoy all the gains as the economy recovers.

Better regulation and supervision are the means by which the risk to the taxpayer can be reduced for the longer term.

In regard to regulation, the EU has adopted a comprehensive set of new rules for the financial sector to avoid the repetition of the crisis: control over credit rating agencies, stronger capital requirements on complex products such as securitization, and strengthened deposit guarantee schemes. We have set up strict rules to make sure that compensation systems avoid excessive risk taking. We will also implement stricter capital rules for banks.

We also have agreed on a more efficient system for supervision of the financial sector within Europe to better monitor systemic risks, to ensure that EU regulation is applied consistently, to settle disagreement between national supervisors, and to deal with crisis situations. Banks must now hold sufficient capital, ensure liquidity, and reward only genuine value creation and not short-term risk-taking.

This crisis has made us recognize that we are now in an economy which is no longer national but global, so financial standards must also be global. We must ensure that through proper regulation, the financial sector operates on a level playing field globally.

There is an urgent need for a new compact between global banks and the society they serve:

A compact that recognizes the risks to the taxpayer if banks fail and recognizes the imbalance between risks and rewards in the banking system.

A compact that ensures the benefits of good economic times flow not just to bankers but to the people they serve; that makes sure that the financial sector fosters economic growth.

A compact that ensures financial institutions cannot use offshore tax havens to negate the contribution they justly owe to the citizens of the country in which they operate—and so builds on the progress already made in ending tax and regulatory havens.

Therefore, we propose a long-term global compact that will encapsulate both the responsibilities of the banking system and the risk they pose to the economy as a whole. Various proposals have been put forward and deserve examination. They include resolution funds, insurance premiums, financial transaction levies and a tax on bonuses.

The global nature of the economy today requires global financial standards, say French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, seen above at the G20's London summit in April.

Among these proposals, we agree that a one-off tax in relation to bonuses should be considered a priority, due to the fact that bonuses for 2009 have arisen partly because of government support for the banking system.

However, it is clear the action that must be taken must be at a global level. No one territory can be expected to or be able to act on its own. And if we can find a solution, implemented consistently across the major economies, then we may find a way to ensure that taxpayers do not pay in a systemic crisis for the risks taken on by the banking sector. We might also be able to help the funding of our Millennium Development Goals and address climate change.

To achieve global coordination, we now propose a new process of deliberating and setting macroeconomic strategy, starting with the IMF report on global contributions and leading to a major discussion at the G-20 meetings chaired by South Korea next year. Through this process, we need to correct and prevent the build up of global imbalances. We need to enhance coordination at the global level so that foreign exchange volatility does not create a risk to the recovery. Each country should take its fair share of reducing global imbalances.

Stability and confidence requires us to bring financial markets into closer alignment with the values held by families and business owners: Rewarding hard work, responsibility, integrity and fairness.

People rightly want a post-crisis banking system which puts their needs first. To achieve that, nothing less than a global change is required.

Mr. Brown is prime minister of Great Britain. Mr. Sarkozy is the president of France.

Preventing Biological Weapons Proliferation and Bioterrorism

Preventing Biological Weapons Proliferation and Bioterrorism. By Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security

Address to the Annual Meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention
Geneva, Switzerland,December 9, 2009

Photos | Video: Part 1; Part 2

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, thank you for your warm welcome.

Before I begin, I want to recognize our Chairman, Ambassador Grinius, for his personal commitment to this issue. His skill in bringing ideas and expertise together to explore opportunities, and to improve international disease surveillance under the BWC umbrella have been invaluable.

The United States is confident that with your leadership, progress made this year on disease surveillance can translate into sustainable commitments.

I also want to acknowledge the quiet but solid behind-the-scenes work of the Implementation Support Unit. Thank you.

I have come here today to share with you President Obama’s strategy for preventing biological weapons proliferation and bioterrorism.

The United States intends to implement this strategy through renewed cooperation and more thorough consultations with our international counterparts in order to prevent the misuse and abuse of science while working together to strengthen health security around the world.

When it comes to the proliferation of bio weapons and the risk of an attack, the world community faces a greater threat based on a new calculus. President Obama fully recognizes that a major biological weapons attack on one of the world’s major cities could cause as much death and economic and psychological damage as a nuclear attack.

And while the United States remains concerned about state-sponsored biological warfare and proliferation, we are equally, if not MORE concerned, about an act of bioterrorism, due to the increased access to advances in the life sciences.

Around the world, we are experiencing an unparalleled period of scientific advancement and innovation in biology.

Techniques that once were cutting edge innovations are now commonplace. Capabilities once found only in a few advanced laboratories are increasingly wide-spread.

We ALL hope that this science is used for good, but we cannot ignore that it also can be used for ill.

Neither I, nor anyone else in the Obama Administration, need any further evidence of the terrible nature and consequences of a bioterrorism attack. I have, unfortunately, seen the dangers of bioterrorism up close. I served as a Member of Congress when a small amount of anthrax was mailed to the United States Senate in October 2001, just weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A few envelopes containing anthrax spores paralyzed the Congress. The office buildings of both the House and the Senate were closed down almost immediately. My offices in the Longworth Building were closed for 8 weeks to be sanitized. Five people who came into contact with spores from the letters were killed and hundreds more were put on antibiotics. Years later, no one has been brought to justice and it appears that a single person may have perpetrated these attacks.

This underscores the fact that significant capabilities for harm are already available to small groups and individuals and the prospect of bioterrorism represents a growing risk for the global community. Already we have seen terrorist groups like Al Qa’ida seek biological materials and expertise in order to conduct a biological attack.

That is why we in the United States are calling for all of you to join us in bolstering the Biological Weapons Convention, the premier forum for dealing with biological threats.

The Obama administration’s new strategy for countering biological threats—both natural and man-made—rests upon the main principle of the Biological Weapons Convention: that the use of biological weapons is “repugnant to the conscience of mankind.”

That’s why we believe we have developed an approach that strikes a balance between supporting scientific progress and curbing and stopping the potential for abuse.

Over the last several months, the Obama administration has engaged in a thorough review of our approach with scientists, academics, NGO’s and government officials.

We have determined that we have made considerable progress in recognizing and responding to a potential biological attack or outbreak of disease, although we can do more.

More importantly, the Administration concluded that there was no comprehensive strategy to address gaps in our efforts to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons and scientific abuse.

So just last week President Obama approved a new National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats.

Our new strategy has a clear, overarching goal … to protect against the misuse of science to develop or use biological agents to cause harm.

Copies of that strategy have been supplied to all of you. I would like to request that the strategy document be circulated as an official conference room paper.

Let me outline the broad goals of the strategy:

First, we will work with the international community to promote the peaceful and beneficial use of life sciences, in accordance with the BWC’s Article Ten, to combat infectious diseases regardless of their cause. We will work to promote global health security by increasing the availability of and access to knowledge and products of the life sciences to help reduce the impact from outbreaks of infectious disease whether of natural, accidental or deliberate origin.

Second, we will work toward establishing and reinforcing norms against the misuse of the life sciences. We need to ensure a culture of responsibility, awareness, and vigilance among all who use and benefit from the life sciences to ensure that they are not diverted to harmful purpose.

Third, we will implement a coordinated approach to influence, identify, inhibit, and interdict those who seek to misuse scientific progress to harm innocent people. We will seek to obtain timely and accurate information on the full spectrum of threats and challenges. This information will allow us to take appropriate actions to manage the evolving risk.

Finally, and most relevant to this body, we want to reinvigorate the Biological Weapons Convention as the premier forum for global outreach and coordination. The Biological Weapons Convention embodies the international community’s determination to prevent the misuse of biological materials as weapons. But it takes the active efforts of its States Parties – individually, and collectively – to uphold these commitments that continue to bolster the BWC as a key international norm.

The United States wants to work to ensure that this is the principal forum dedicated to these issues. We appreciate and applaud this forum’s past efforts, and commit to engaging fully as we work together towards our common goals.

Before describing our proposals to reinvigorate the BWC, let me reiterate that the Obama Administration’s commitment to the Biological Weapons Convention is steadfast. The United States will continue to meet its Article One commitments not to develop, acquire, produce or possess biological weapons.

But I want to be clear and forthcoming and I hope this will not be a surprise to anyone. The Obama Administration will not seek to revive negotiations on a verification protocol to the Convention. We have carefully reviewed previous efforts to develop a verification protocol and have determined that a legally binding protocol would not achieve meaningful verification or greater security.

It is extraordinarily difficult to verify compliance. The ease with which a biological weapons program could be disguised within legitimate activities and the rapid advances in biological research make it very difficult to detect violations. We believe that a protocol would not be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of the biological weapons threat.

Instead, we believe that confidence in BWC compliance should be promoted by enhanced transparency about activities and pursuing compliance diplomacy to address concerns.

I know there are some that may disagree with this decision. Instead, I would urge you to join us in implementing the more robust BWC activities already underway.

We want to develop a rigorous, comprehensive program of cooperation, information exchange, and coordination that builds on and modifies as necessary the existing Work Program approach.

As we look toward the 2011 Review Conference, the United States believes that a reinvigorated, comprehensive Work Program is the best way to strengthen the Convention. So I would ask you to demonstrate your good faith and commitment to the BWC by joining us in increasing transparency, improving confidence building measures and engaging in more robust bilateral compliance discussions.

To highlight our three areas of emphasis in this area, let me provide a bit more detail about our goals.

First, we seek to promote confidence in effective treaty implementation:

A key consideration related to any treaty is the ongoing need to promote confidence in compliance. We believe that greater emphasis should be placed on voluntary measures to provide increased confidence. We must also increase participation in the existing Confidence-Building Measures. We should work together to review the Confidence Building Measures forms to assess their effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. States Parties, in conjunction with the Implementation Support Unit, should provide appropriate assistance to meet these goals.

In a gesture of our transparency, I want to announce that the United States will

  • Invite the 2010 Chairman to visit our National Interagency Biodefense Campus in Maryland. The facilities there include the high containment laboratories of three different U.S. government agencies and provide an excellent opportunity to highlight the steps we are taking to ensure safe and secure research for the benefit of public health, and;

  • Work toward posting future annual CBM submissions on the public access side of the Implementation Support Unit website and we will encourage other Parties to follow suit.
As part of this effort, we must seek to make membership in the BWC universal. We will be looking to work with you on outreach efforts to countries that have not yet joined the Convention.

Second, we will seek to enhance cooperation through the BWC on natural and deliberate disease threats to complement the work being done by the World Health Organization and other international bodies. In order to implement our Article Ten commitments, it is critical that we work together to achieve, sustain and improve international capacity to detect, report, and respond to outbreaks of disease, whether deliberate, accidental or natural. This includes implementation of the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations.

Fundamentally, if we improve a country’s ability to respond to natural outbreaks, we have improved their capability to deal with bioterrorism.

In this respect, the United States is dedicated to continuing our substantial assistance and we want to work closely with other BWC States Parties to enhance and coordinate these efforts - including through the G-8 Global Partnership, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and other mechanisms.

The BWC should be fully utilized as a forum to inform States Parties of related bilateral and regional activities, to consult on new avenues of multilateral engagement, and to promote the support of the international community.

Greater cooperation and technical assistance are key to achieving and sustaining the capabilities we need to prevent biological weapons use and to combat infectious diseases.

To this end:
  • The Center for Disease Control will soon become the world’s first World Health Organization Collaborating Center for implementing International Health Regulations. It will assist the WHO and other international partners to help build the necessary global infrastructure to fully implement the IHRs in all six WHO Regions.

  • In May, we propose a two-day meeting to share information on offers to support IHR implementation, hear from those receiving assistance about their experiences and to make specific suggestions for improvement.

  • We will follow up with a meeting in August that builds upon the May discussion and looks at new technologies and new approaches to build the core capacities on disease surveillance needed under the IHRs.
As the final piece of our strategy to enhance this forum, we want to make the BWC the premier forum for discussion of the full range of biological threats – including bioterrorism – and mutually agreeable steps States can take for risk management.

The BWC should provide an international forum for advancing the dialogue on pathogen security and laboratory biosafety practices, and for promoting legislation, guidelines and standards through cooperation and partnership.

We must work here to develop international standards and practices for these important elements that advance our mutual security. To this end, we would like to announce that:
  • Our FBI and CDC have developed best practices and guides on the conduct of joint criminal and epidemiological investigations of suspected intentional biological threats or incidents. We will bring our experts to discuss this in more detail at the August Experts Meeting.

  • We also propose a workshop just after the August Experts Meeting where all interested countries can share information on bio risk management training, standards, and needs.
The threat of a bio attack is much like other transnational threats and challenges that we face today: climate change, nuclear proliferation, and food security. We’re all in the same boat and none of us, no matter how big, can afford to go it alone.

The United States takes biological weapons threats very seriously and that’s why we have adopted an energetic new approach that is tailored to counter today’s threats.

In closing, I want to thank you for this opportunity to reaffirm the Obama Administration’s support for revitalizing the BWC. I hope to join you once again at the 2011 Review Conference as we continue to move forward together on the critical work of countering biological threats.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

International Counterterrorism Policy in the Obama Administration

International Counterterrorism Policy in the Obama Administration. By Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism

Jamestown Conference, Washington, DC December 9, 2009

Good morning. It is a great pleasure to be here. I’ve been a devoted reader of Jamestown publications since you first stepped up to the challenge of the radically changed post-9/11 security environment, with the introduction of the Terrorism Monitor. I can still recall being interviewed by Jamestown for the third issue of volume one of the Monitor, and I had the pleasure of having this same speaking slot two years ago in a somewhat less official capacity. As you can imagine, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to speak to you today about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policy.

If memory serves, when I spoke to you two years ago, my view was that the United States had developed great skills at what I called tactical counterterrorism–taking individual terrorists off the street, and disrupting cells and operations. On the strategic side, I thought we were losing ground. Now, I believe the administration is redressing that gap. In my roughly six months in office, my view of our tactical capabilities in the areas of intelligence, the military, and law enforcement have more than amply been confirmed. One of the great rewards of government service is the chance to work with colleagues in all of these areas, and I must say that their level of competence and professionalism is really extraordinary. When I consider how far we have come since my days at the NSC in the late 90s, I think it is quite remarkable.

And we are now working to match their proficiency by formulating the kind of policies that seek to shape the environment that terrorists operate in so that they find their efforts more constrained. We are rebuilding and reinvigorating old partnerships to combat terror and establishing new ones with others who have been on the sidelines. As we look at the problem of transnational terror, we are putting at the core of our actions a recognition of the phenomenon of radicalization—that is, we are asking ourselves time and again: Are our actions going to result in the removal of one terrorist and the creation of ten more? What can we do to attack the drivers of radicalization, so that al- Qaida and its affiliates have a shrinking pool of recruits? And finally– and vitally–are we hewing to our values in this struggle? Because as President Obama has said from the outset, there should be no tradeoff between our security and our values. Indeed, in light of what we know about radicalization, it is clear that navigating by our values is an essential part of a successful counterterrorism effort. Thus, we have moved to rectify the excesses of the past few years by working to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, forbidding enhanced interrogation techniques, and developing a more systematic method of dealing with detainees. We are also demonstrating our commitment to the rule of law by trying Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and other al-Qaida operatives in our court system.

Finally, we have a strategy for success in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The President has put forward a clear plan to constrain the Taliban and destroy the al-Qaida core, and the administration is putting up the resources necessary to achieve that goal. Moreover, we are working with Pakistan to establish the kind of relationship, based on trust and mutual interests, that will lead to the defeat of radicalism in that country, which has in recent months seen so much violence. We understand the trust deficit, built up over decades that created the current situation. We know that challenges in the region will not be overcome overnight. But we believe we are now firmly on the right track.

Before going any further, we need to consider the threat today: On any given day, al-Qaida remains the foremost security threat the nation faces. Yet having said that, it is clear that for al-Qaida, it has been a difficult period. The group is under severe pressure in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the U.S. and its allies have succeeded in severely degrading its operational leadership. The coming troop increase in Afghanistan will further reduce al-Qaida’s capabilities and those of other extremist organizations. The Pakistani military has been working to eliminate militant strongholds in its territory. As a result, al-Qaida is finding it tougher to raise money, train recruits, and plan attacks outside of the region.

In addition to these operational setbacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaida has not been successful in carrying out the attacks that would shake governments in the Arab world, which continues to be a primary long-term focus. It has failed to mobilize the masses–and this is a key point–which they have repeatedly said is their means of establishing Islamic emirates in the region.

Finally, there has been a decline of support for al-Qaida’s political program and there are several reasons for this: indiscriminate targeting of Muslim civilians in Iraq and Pakistan alienated many who were previously sympathetic to al-Qaida’s larger aspirations. The result has been both popular disaffection and a backlash from clerics in Muslim countries who have issued fatwas against the killing of other Muslims, notably in Iraq, although I note that this has yet to happen on a large scale in Afghanistan.

Second, al-Qaida’s ideological hard line has alienated more pragmatic organizations and individuals in the wider militant community. It has also created confusion over who carries the true banner of Islamic resistance to Western imperialism.

Third, denunciations of al-Qaida by extremist clerics have damaged the religious legitimacy of the group and raised questions about the proper use of violence in countries where there is no overt military action.

Fourth, al-Qaida and similar groups are becoming increasingly vague about who the primary enemy is, creating confusion in the militant community about the fundamentals of its strategic direction.

Yet despite these setbacks, al-Qaida has proven to be adaptable and resilient in two arenas. The first is in ungoverned or under-governed areas, often where there are tribal conflicts in which it can attach itself to the different parties. Thus in Yemen, al-Qaida operatives are marrying into the local tribes, and taking up their grievances against the government. In the sparsely populated Sahel, al-Qaida operatives, sometimes operating with individual local tribesmen and nomads, kidnap foreigners. In the FATA, operatives are marrying into local Pashtun tribes and are serving the larger interests of the Taliban insurgency by providing technical know-how and disseminating propaganda. And in Somalia, al-Qaida’s allies in al-Shabaab now control significant tracts of territory. These weakly-governed or entirely ungoverned areas are a major safe haven for al-Qaida and its allies and to dismiss their significance is to misunderstand their historical importance for training, recruitment, and operational planning. Quite frankly, the problem of un- and under-governed spaces is one of the toughest ones this and future administrations will face.

The second arena where Sunni radicals continue to succeed is in persuading religious extremists to adopt their cause, even in the United States. A bus driver, Najibullah Zazi, was trained in Pakistan and now faces charges in federal court for planning to set off a series of bombs in the United States. An indictment that was unsealed Monday in Chicago portrays an American citizen–David Headley–playing a pivotal role in last year’s attack in Mumbai, which killed more than 170 people and dramatically raised tensions in South Asia. So even if this radical movement is not mobilizing the masses, it is still galvanizing enough people to take to violence and poses a continuing, powerful threat. The importance of these two cases should not be glossed over–the conspiracies these men were engaged in had roots in the FATA, and eight years after 9/11, should give us all pause. The threat to the U.S. remains substantial and enduring despite the operational constraints on al-Qaida central.

It is also multifaceted as we have seen in the movement of young men, many of them motivated by a sense of ethnic duty, who have left their communities in Minnesota, been radicalized in Somalia, and fought and died for al-Shabaab.

As the example of David Headley indicates, al-Qaida is not the only group with global ambitions that we have to worry about. Lashkar e-Taiba has made it clear that it is willing to undertake bold, mass-casualty operations with a target set that would please al-Qaida planners. The group’s more recent thwarted conspiracy to attack the US embassy in Bangladesh should only deepen concern that it could evolve into a genuinely global terrorist threat. And let me say as an aside, very few things worry me as much as the strength and ambition of LeT, a truly malign presence in South Asia. We are working closely with allies in the region and elsewhere to reduce the threat from this very dangerous group.

As you know, I worked on terrorism in the White House when al-Qaida first surfaced in the late 1990s and I can tell you now, after having access to the intelligence again, that the threat has become far more complicated due to the proliferation of groups and the cross-pollination of networks. The global radical milieu has become thicker. There is so much more that we have to keep tabs on than there was in 1999.

So what are we doing to meet this challenge? Faced with this continuing and evolving threat, President Obama has articulated a clear policy – to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its allies. That is our overriding objective, and to achieve it we are using all the tools at our disposal. In weakly-governed areas we are collaborating with the relevant local authorities to bolster their security forces to prevent al-Qaida safe havens. Moreover, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies and those of our allies continue to disrupt terrorist plots at home and abroad–as we have here in Denver and New York, in London, and in other countries around the world. We are working with the international financial community to deny resources to al-Qaida and its supporters. Now, as al-Qaida affiliates turn to kidnapping for ransom to raise funds, we are urging our partners around the world to adopt a no-concessions policy toward hostage-takers so we can diminish this alternative funding stream in regions like the Sahel, the FATA, and Yemen.

But this is not enough, as the continuing flow of recruits–and the lengthening roll call of conspiracies testifies. As President Obama succinctly put it, “A campaign against extremism will not succeed with bullets or bombs alone.” We need to look to look to what my colleague Deputy National Security John Brennan has called the upstream factors. We need to confront the political, social, and economic conditions that our enemies exploit to win over the new recruits…the funders…and those whose tacit support enables the militants to carry forward their plans.

The threat is global and our enemies latch on to grievances on behalf of the entire Muslim world, so we must work to resolve the long-standing problems that fuel those grievances. At the top of the list is the Arab-Israeli conflict, and, as you know, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Special Envoy George Mitchell are working very hard to resolve it.

Even with their efforts, peace in the Middle East will take time, and as we know, it will not eliminate all of the threats. But while the big policy challenges matter in radicalization, local drivers are critical as well. We are developing tailored-approaches to alter them. How do these different elements of our global counterterrorism strategy fit together?

To be sure, terrorism is a common challenge shared by nations across the globe—one that requires diplomacy—and one that the United States cannot solve alone. As Secretary Clinton has said, “Today's security threats cannot be addressed in isolation. Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries, to bolster old alliances and to forge new ones.” The Obama administration has worked hard to reach out and, on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect, to forge international coalitions. The administration has been working at reinvigorating alliances across the board and reengaging in the multilateral fora concerned with counterterrorism—fora that, in all honesty, were neglected for some time at the many UN entities, the G8, and the vast range of regional organizations that are eager to engage on counterterrorism issues.

Building the counterterrorism capacity of our partners at the national level is also a top priority. Consistent diplomatic engagement with counterparts and senior leaders helps build political will for common counterterrorism objectives. When the political will is there, we can address the nuts and bolts aspect of capacity building. We are working to make the counterterrorism training of police, prosecutors, border officials, and members of the judiciary more systematic, more innovative, and far-reaching, and we are doing this through such efforts as the Antiterrorism Assistance Program. In its more than 25-year old history, the ATA program has trained more than 66,000 professionals from 151 countries, providing programs tailored to the needs of each partner nation and to local conditions.

ATA is just one of many programs–on the civilian and the military sides of the house—that is increasing the ability of others to ensure their own security. With this kind of work, we are making real the President’s vision of shared security partnerships as an essential part of US foreign policy. This is both good counterterrorism and good statecraft. We are addressing the state insufficiencies that terrorism lives on, and we are helping invest our partners more effectively in confronting the threat–-rather than looking thousands of miles away for help or simply looking away altogether.

We are also addressing the local drivers of radicalization that still lead large numbers of people to adopt al-Qaida’s ideology, and as I said earlier, we understand the dangers of radicalization, and we are working both to undermine the al-Qaida narrative and to ameliorate the conditions that make it attractive. We know that violent extremism flourishes where there is marginalization, alienation, and perceived–-or real–-relative deprivation. In recognition of this, my first step has been to build a unit focusing on what we in the government call “Countering Violent Extremism” in my office to focus on local communities most prone to radicalization. There is a broad understanding across the government that we have not done nearly enough to address underlying conditions for at-risk populations–-and we have also not done enough to improve the ability of moderates to voice their views and strengthen opposition to violence.

Adopting a tailored-approach to countering violent extremism does not mean we can neglect broader structural problems. There is no denying that when children have no hope for an education, when young people have no hope for a job and feel disconnected from the modern world, when governments fail to provide for the basic needs of their people, when people despair and are aggrieved, they become more susceptible to extremist ideologies. But a tailored-approach to CVE requires identifying which of these problems are driving radicalization and are amenable to change with the help of local governments and leaders who understand the problems best.

Over time, the measures and the methods I have described above will reduce terrorists’ capacity to harm us and our partners. No element can be neglected if we are to succeed since they reinforce one another. Global engagement builds coalitions based on mutual interests and mutual respect. And these coalitions, in turn, help us partner with individual nations to enhance their capacity to counter extremism. This, finally, enables us to work with them to develop tailored-approaches to preventing extremists from becoming violent extremists.

I don’t want to leave you today with the impression that we have figured it all or that there won’t be real setbacks in the future. The contemporary terrorist threat was decades in the making and it will take many more years to unmake it. There is much we still need to learn, especially about how to prevent individuals from choosing the path of violence. But I believe we now have the right framework for our policies, and ultimately, I am confident, this will lead to the decisions and actions that will strengthen security for our nation and the global community.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today.