Thursday, June 10, 2010

Antiterrorism Assistance Program 2009 Year In Review

Diplomatic Security's Antiterrorism Assistance Program "2009 Year in Review" is online.

The Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program trains foreign law enforcement personnel to protect their national borders and critical infrastructure and national leadership, respond to terrorist incidents, investigate and prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts, respond to weapons of mass destruction attacks, manage kidnapping for ransom crimes, and respond to terrorist incidents resulting in mass casualties.


ATA does all kinds of great work, and training foreign police is no easy thing, especially when you bring them over to training facilities in the U.S. and run the risk of trans-cultural mishaps. So it would be a gratuitous cheap joke if I were to mention the "Yum Yum Tree" incident. Forget I said anything about that.


Anonymous said...

It is a great program but they waste a lot of money flying excess people to post to conduct reviews. Why do i as a taxpayer have to pay for people to come to post and have a vacation?

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the contractors in ATA knew something about DS. I attended a training course and the two instructors did not know anything about DS or their agents.

I guess they would have to admit they were contractors then instead as required but no one in DS or DOS holds them to that either.

TSB said...


Thanks for your comments. My own experience with ATA has been overall positive. I supported a course ATA - meaning, its contractors - taught to a foreign security agency, and have participated in two country needs assessments.

The training course surprised me. The material was amazingly out of date (which is why my office, from another part of DS, was supplementing it), and the contractors were a mixed bag; one was very effective and also foreigner-friendly, the others, uh, not so much. I recommended ATA do a complete re-write of that course's curriculum and materials.

The country assessments, however, were extremely well done. In both cases ATA used people from several specialized USG agencies and offices, assessed the training needs of every security and criminal justice sector in the target country, and made recommendations to the embassy and to local officials, in about one week.

There was no slack time in either of the country assessment visits, but I know what you mean about flying people in for vacations. Personally, almost all my official travel is to places like Pakistan, so vacations aren't a possibility (unless you like that kind of thing, which some do). But there always seems to be a disproportionate need to travel to the nicer places, and I have no doubt that afflicts ATA at least as much as any other office. The only good solution to that is for post management to be more skeptical when granting country clearance.