Rethinking U.S. Efforts on Counterterrorism: Toward a Sustainable Plan Two Decades After 9/11

Sept. 11

The development of a counterterrorism enterprise after Sept. 11, 2001, has seen over the course of nearly 20 years both tactical successes and strategic obstacles.

Matthew Levitt frames this overview of counterterrorism policy by observing that the current focus on Great Power and near power competition as US national security priorities reflects the success of Washington’s investment in counterterrorism and homeland security. However, the current environment of growing partisan polarization also reflects the need to rationalize US investment in counterterrorism and adopt a more sustainable posture on the counterterrorism mission.

By building on the role of counterterrorism within interstate conflict, observing the importance of an investment in alliances and partnerships, and assessing the budgeting for counterterrorism programs, Levitt builds a foundation to support his concluding strategic recommendations for a review and reorientation of US counterterrorism.

By Matthew Levitt

Fromer-Wexler Fellow at The Washington Institute and Director of its Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the US Department of the Treasury and Counterterrorism Intelligence Analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Levitt teaches at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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