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Combating terrorism : federal agencies' efforts to implement national policy and strategy
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    NTL-LAWS AND REGULATIONS-Federal Standards and Rules
  • Abstract:
    The threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and property both at home and abroad has been an issue of growing national concern. As requested, the General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. This report discusses federal agencies' programs and activities to (1) prevent and deter terrorism; (2) respond to terrorist threats or incidents; and (3) manage the consequences of a terrorist act, especially involving weapons of mass destruction. Briefly, under sponsorship of the National Security Council (NSC), various interagency groups have been formed to coordinate the efforts of the more than 40 federal agencies, bureaus, and offices that combat terrorism. Many programs and activities have been developed or used to carry out the three elements of the U.S. strategy for combating terrorism. Key federal efforts to prevent and deter terrorist acts include gathering, sharing, and disseminating intelligence information on terrorist threats and keeping foreign terrorists and materials from entering the United States. Federal efforts to respond to terrorist incidents and to manage the consequences of terrorist incidents include designating lead agencies for crisis response, establishing interagency quick-reaction support teams, creating special operational teams or units, developing contingency plans, and conducting interagency or single agency training and exercises. For both crisis management and consequence management, federal efforts include special teams and units to deal with weapons of mass destruction, whether they are nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Federal agencies are also involved in programs to assess the capabilities of state and local jurisdictions to immediately respond to and manage the consequences of domestic terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction and provide them training and assistance.

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