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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism > Releases > Fact Sheets > 2002
Fact Sheet
Office of Counterterrorism
Washington, DC
July 23, 2002

International Counterterrorism Policy Workshops

The Threat: The threat from international terrorism is increasing and becoming more dangerous for all nations. Potential terrorist use of large explosives, nuclear, radiological, chemical, or biological Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), used separately or in combination, multiplies the threat and increases the need for an integrated, sophisticated response between all nations.

The Challenge: Emergency response personnel in many nations are not adequately prepared or trained to deal with terrorist incidents, often lacking adequate and effective equipment, experience, and procedures. The U.S. Government is ready and willing to work with interested nations to address these concerns. An integrated, effective response depends on close cooperation between responsible U.S. agencies and the affected country (Host Nation), recognizing that responsibility ultimately rests with the Host Nation.

The Response: As part of its overall counterterrorism strategy, the United States Government is seeking to cooperate with its close friends and allies to improve mutual ability to respond to terrorist incidents involving WMD. An effective tool to achieve this goal is the Counterterrorism Policy Workshop.

What is a Counterterrorism Policy Workshop? Who participates? What is discussed?

What are the intent and specific goals of the Workshop?

How does the workshop proceed? Where does it take place? How long does it take?

Why should I participate?

Whatís the actual workshop like?

What does it cost?

How do I learn more?

What is a Counterterrorism Policy Workshop? Who participates? What is discussed?

The Counterterrorism Policy Workshop is a Presidential-directed and Congressionally-mandated initiative to provide policy engagement at the highest interagency levels between the U.S. and other countries. Taking place in the Host Nation, it brings together a team of U.S. and Host Nation experts and senior-level officials to discuss terrorism incident scenarios and responses. Discussion focuses on actions that should be taken to deal WMD terrorist incidents, allowing Host Nation participants to improve their planning and coordination of WMD terrorism national response capabilities. They also will allow the U.S. to better organize its capabilities of providing a more effective response to requests for assistance by the Host Nation.

U.S. Interagency Representatives:

  • Workshop Moderator
  • Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
  • Department of Defense
  • Regional U.S. Military Combatant Commander Representative
  • U.S. Public Health Services

Recommended Embassy Representatives:

  • Ambassador and/or Deputy Chief of Mission
  • Political Officer
  • Administration Officer
  • Regional Security Officer
  • Defense Attachť

Typical Host Nation Participants:

  • Minister/Deputy Minister of Defense (or equivalent)
  • Minister/Deputy Minister of Energy (or equivalent)
  • Minister/Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (or equivalent)
  • Minister/Deputy Minister of the Interior (or equivalent)
  • Minister/Deputy Minister of Health (or equivalent)
  • Minister/Deputy Minister of Security (or equivalent)
  • Selected Technical Specialists

Support from Embassy Representatives:

  • Facilitates identifying Host Nation Ministry to sponsor the workshop
  • Assists in scenario selection in conjunction with Host Nation
  • Coordinates and issues the invitations to Host Nation participants
  • Coordinates and assists in identifying site location for the workshop
  • Assists in transportation for U.S. Interagency Team
  • Facilitates identification and procurement of Interpreters for the workshop
  • Facilitate fund sites or reimbursement of costs as provided by Department of State


What are the intent and specific goals of these workshop?

Intent: The intent of the Workshop is to provide a framework for an exchange of ideas and theories, and to formulate viable policy options addressing the issues of a terrorist incident. Discussions are practical and straightforward. The Workshop aims to help participants learn management of policy in crisis situations with the goal of promoting joint situation awareness and team building. The Workshop explores new avenues of response in a penalty-free environment, which can strengthen the cooperation interface among various departments within the Host Nation.

Workshop Objectives: The Workshop is a policy engagement tool. Its mission is to:

  • Strengthen the working relationship between Host Nation and U.S. Government in responding to terrorist threats or like incidents.
  • Provides a deterrent to international terrorism by limiting the terroristís abilities to achieve political objectives from an attack.
  • Provide Host Nation & U.S. Government with an opportunity to:
    1. assess notification procedures;
    2. assess crisis/consequence management capabilities/plans;
    3. refine procedural issues concerning the request for and acceptance of U.S. emergency response assistance.
  • Engage neighbors and allies to share lessons learned and information regarding counterterrorism, and develop technology and procedures to deter and respond to terrorist incidents.
  • Conduct a needs assessment and follow-on training for a cadre of Host Nation first responders to attend the WMD First Responder Training Program.


How does the workshop proceed? Where does it take place? How long does it take?

Embassy Visit: Preparation includes an initial, or planning, visit to the U.S. Embassy in the Host Nation by representatives from the Department of Stateís Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (S/CT.) This visit allows Embassy staff to meet with S/CT representatives to clearly review and understand Workshop content and the overall program. A Workshop Briefing Booklet is provided to the Embassy outlining the agenda for the Workshop, possible hypothetical scenarios to be addressed by the participants, and key questions used to assist and guide discussions on how the Host Nation would respond to the selected scenario(s).

Host Nation Approval: This session also serves to invite Host Nation approval for the convening of a Workshop in their country, integration and partnership of Embassy staff, and arrangements for a meeting with appropriate Host Nation senior officials. At that meeting, S/CT representatives explain and schedule the Workshop. A translated Executive Briefing and a Workshop Booklet is provided to Host Nation officials. These guides help Host Nation participants review and prepare for the Workshop, for example, by gathering data on Host Nation capabilities and organizations which would respond to a terrorist incident.

Duration: The Workshop can be conducted over a 2-to-4 day period, depending on the needs of the Host Nation.

Why should I participate?

Benefits to Host Nation:

  • Enhances Host Nationís ability to reduce vulnerabilities that affect the security of Host Nation citizens and facilities and resident U.S. citizens.
  • Improves the readiness posture and interagency coordination of Host Nationís response elements to deal with terrorism.
  • Pinpoints unidentified response assets/expertise/capabilities within Host Nationís borders.
  • Strengthens Host Nation & U.S. government capabilities in a cohesive and coherent response to terrorist incidents.
  • Opens lines of communication among attending Host Nation Ministries that had not previously existed.

Benefits to U.S. Embassy:

  • Enhances the ability of Chiefs of Mission to reduce vulnerabilities that affect the security of U.S. personnel and facilities abroad.
  • Supports U.S. contingency plans to respond to respond to terrorist incidents.
  • Provides insight into Host Nationís perceptions regarding regional terrorism.
  • Improves understanding of Host Nationís crisis/consequence management assets and capabilities, and organizational structure.
  • Increases access to Host Nationís response authorities and ties between Host Nation, U.S. Embassy, and Regional Combatant Commanders.

Benefit to Both Nations:

Provides a deterrent to international terrorism by limiting the terroristís abilities to achieve political objectives from an attack.

Whatís the actual workshop like?

Format: Proceedings are informal, with interaction among participants encouraged in order to promote sharing of lessons learned. A U.S. moderator introduces a series of scenario situations designed to stimulate analysis and discussion. As each event unfolds, participants are asked to address key questions concerning governmental interagency processes and how the developing situations would be handled. The questions are designed to guide and focus the discussion based on the Policy Workshop objectives.

As the participants work through the planning and execution of the operations to resolve the incident, issues requiring further consideration are noted. Issues remaining outstanding are summarized in the wrap-up session and further consultations could continue at a future time, for example during a subsequent sustainment visit.

Structure: The first session reviews the purpose and objectives of the Workshop, Terms of Reference, lessons learned, and presents the general scenario situation to Host Nation and U.S. participants. During the second session, the moderator solicits explanations from U.S. representatives on how the U.S. Government would respond and mitigate a terrorist incident, demonstrating the U.S. interagency process of crisis response and consequence management. In the third session, Host Nation officials are invited to deliberate among themselves a country-specific scenario and formulate a theoretical Response Plan for presentation during a joint session, illustrating the Host Nationís crisis management organizational structure and how they would mitigate a terrorist incident.

Conduct of Workshop:

  • Moderator-led workshop discussion consisting of 3 joint sessions over 2-to-4 days.
    1. Scenario driven, exploratory, question and answer sessions designed to discuss terrorism threats.
      • As each event unfolds, the U.S. Delegation is asked to address key questions concerning how the developing situations will be handled, how the U.S. interagency operates, and what assets and expertise might be available in the event of a terrorist incident.
    2. Country-specific scenario session designed to be analyzed by Host Nation and from which a hypothetical Host Nation Response Plan is developed.
    3. Summary session designed to discuss Host Nation response policies/procedures, assets, and capabilities.


What does it cost?

The only cost involved for the Host Nation and U.S. Embassies is the time of participants.

How do I learn more?

To learn more about a Senior Policy Workshop email us at: SCTWorkshop@state.gov

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