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The Structure, Organization, Functions, and Effectiveness of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center

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The U.S. Intelligence Community is an alliance of 17 government agencies that improve national security by collecting, analyzing, disseminating, and acting on intelligence information. Examples of these agencies include Air Force Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence, Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, National Security Agency, Marine Corps Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration.

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NCTC is a center for producing CT analysis, maintaining the authoritative database of known and suspected terrorists, and sharing information, as well as strategic operational planning. NCTC is staffed by more than 1,000 personnel from across the IC, the Federal government, and Federal contractors. Forty percent of the NCTC workforce represents approximately 20 different departments and agencies—a symbol of NCTC’s role in protecting the Nation against terrorist threats. Given NCTC’s unique authority to access both domestic and foreign terrorism information, NCTC analysts are singularly positioned within the IC to make independent assessments and judgments, particularly on sensitive issues. Unencumbered by the pressures and considerations that accompany the intelligence collection process, NCTC analysts are perceived by other USG partners as “honest brokers.” These analysts are trained and expected to reinforce the strong working relationships and collaboration that NCTC promotes with all IC CT partners. While using the tools necessary for information gathering, the Center also ensures security procedures are aligned to protect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens.

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An attempt by the US military to trace the origins of terrorism in the counterterrorism efforts was be viewed as an end state operational approach since the efforts aimed at addressing the root causes of terrorism, such as marginalization, discrimination, poverty, and hopelessness. Through the strategy, the military won the support of the population, as well as the support of the Philippine government. The use of non-combat operations proved effective to an extent that the US government promised to employ an 80/20 approach whereby 80% of all operations would be technical in nature while only 20% would be dedicated to combat operations to deal with extremists who were unwilling to surrender (Sewall, & Lambert, 2011). Center of gravity in combat operations refers to the source of power that offers a moral support to fighting soldiers. This implies that soldiers should be given adequate training in order to deal with any threat that the enemy might pose in the battlefield. Center of gravity dictates that the military should be in a position to evaluate the strength of the enemy before engaging in war. The population had no option, but to support all efforts aimed at flushing out illegal groups (Maxwell, 2008). Geopolitics is an attempt to evaluate the relationship between political authority and the physical space. The United States is endowed with natural resources, such as the sea and inland waterways, which are used in distributing goods to its neighbors, including Philippine.

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Usually, the respective roles of DHS and the FBI in dealing with domestic counterparts on cyber threats should be clarified. The failure to do so in the counterterrorism area contributed to the prolonged rivalry between DHS fusion centers and FBI joint terrorism task forces concerning primary relationships with state, local, and tribal entities. In turn, CTIIC can serve as the single authorized source of threat warnings to be shared (by DHS or FBI) outside the U.S. government, thereby protecting against charges of inconsistency, favoritism, or conferring unfair commercial advantage.

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Maxwell, C. D. (2008). Considerations for Organizing and Preparing for Security Force Assistance Operations. Small Wars Journal, 2(3), 28-53.

Sewall, S., & Lambert, G. (2011). Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines: The Salience of Civilian Casualties and the Indirect Approach. SOCOM, 1(1), 1-11.

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The Structure, Organization, Functions, and Effectiveness of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center
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