WASHINGTON – The end-of-year funding bill passed yesterday by Congress includes bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to strengthen counterterrorism coordination efforts at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bipartisan legislation will authorize the Counterterrorism Advisory Board, which brings together intelligence, operational, and policy-making elements from across the Department, to devise joint strategies to deter and disrupt potential terrorist attacks.
“The Department of Homeland Security is one of the first lines of defense in combating potential terrorist attacks and keeping Americans safe. In order to do its job effectively, the agency must be able to coordinate across all parts of its operations to stop terrorist attacks before they occur,” Senator Hassan said. “Senator Rubio and I pushed to include this national security measure in the final package, and I am glad that our bipartisan efforts to bolster counterterrorism coordination within the federal government were successful.”
“Protecting our nation against terrorist attacks and other threats is a fundamental obligation of government, and I am pleased our bipartisan legislation was included in the funding package,” Senator Rubio said. “It is vital that DHS components and their partners are working in coordination to devise joint strategies to deter and disrupt terrorist operations and other threats to our homeland.”
The Counterterrorism Advisory Board was established in 2010 after the failed “underwear bomber” attack on a Northwest Airlines flight in 2009 revealed a need for better coordination and ongoing situational awareness for senior leadership.
Since its creation, the board has met to make recommendations about whether to issue a National Threat Alert System alert, and has aided in the response to aviation threats, border threats, homegrown violent extremists, and cyber threats. The Senators’ Counter Threats Advisory Board (CTAB) Act codifies the board for two years and ensures that DHS will continue to succeed in its counterterrorism mission.