Detailed Information on the
FBI Counterterrorism Program Assessment

Program Code 10003802
Program Title FBI Counterterrorism Program
Department Name Department of Justice
Agency/Bureau Name Federal Bureau of Investigation
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2005
Assessment Rating Adequate
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 86%
Program Management 86%
Program Results/Accountability 33%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $1,464
FY2008 $1,713
FY2009 $1,755

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Ensuring human intelligence sources provide reliable information and increasing training opportunities for counterterrorism personnel.

Action taken, but not completed The CT program is closely monitoring achievements in both of these areas to improve performance in FY 2008. For example, the Counterterrorism Program??s two most sensitive human intelligence sources from each field office in the intelligence Counterterrorism are sent to the Directorate of Intelligence for validation; the Directorate of Intelligence began validation in August FY 2006. Counterterrorism Division expects the completion of the first phase of source validation by March 2008.

Strengthening the links between budget requests and performance levels.

Action taken, but not completed FBI's Resource Planning Office (RPO) will continue to work with Counterterrorism Division and Finance Division to strengthen the links between budget requests and performance results. RPO is working on strategic planning initiatives that will be incorporated into the FY 2010 budget process.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Terrorist acts commited by foreign nationals against U.S. interests within U.S. borders

Explanation:The Counterterrorism program disrupts terrorists' ability to conduct an act by preventing terrorists from entering the country, using intelligence to monitor terrorists, and hardening potential targets.

Year Target Actual
2003 0 0
2012 0 0
Annual Output

Measure: Positive encounters with subjects through screening process.

Explanation:Identifying terrorists and preventing their entry into the U.S. is the function of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). The TSC consolidates the government's approach to screening for individual terrorists by creating a single comprehensive database of known or appropriately suspected terrorists. A positive encounter is one in which a subject's name appears in the database.

Year Target Actual
2004 Baseline 5396
2005 11824 15730
2006 14780 19967
2007 22400 21041
2008 20000
2009 20500
Annual Output

Measure: Number of participants in Joint Terrorism Task Forces

Explanation:The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) serve as the "operational arm" of the US Government's domestic Counterterrorism strategy, and partner FBI personnel with hundreds of investigators from various federal, state, and local agencies in field offices across the country.

Year Target Actual
2003 N/A 2394
2004 Baseline 3163
2005 3714 3714
2006 3900 3540
2007 3600 3641
2008 3625
2009 3630
Annual Output

Measure: Percentage of Counterterrorism program personnel who have completed the training of the competency profile.

Explanation:The Counterterrorism program, in conjunction with the FBI's Training Division, has developed a competency profile for Special Agents and JTTF members assigned to the Counterterrorism program, with plans to expand the competency profile to analysts under Counterterrorism program management as well.

Year Target Actual
2003 N/A 3%
2004 Baseline 10%
2005 20% 15%
2006 40% 74%
2007 77% 77%
2008 80%
2009 85%
Annual Output

Measure: Percentage of Counterterrorism program human sources validated.

Explanation:The Counterterrorism program will ensure the validity, reliability, and productivity of human sources.

Year Target Actual
2003 N/A 3%
2004 Baseline 10%
2005 25% 0%
2006 50% 0%
2007 100% 60%
2008 100%
2009 100%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Percentage of human sources reporting on Tier 1 groups.

Explanation:In December 2002 the Coutnerterrorism program completed a comprehensive national assessment of the terrorist threat to the US homeland and identified priority groups. The groups were prioritized by their intent to harm the US homeland, their links to al-Qa'ida, and their capabilities. Those prioritized in the first tier have high intentions to harm the homeland, moderate or strong links with al-Qa'ida, and high capabilities to inflict harm. The Counterterrorism program will increase human source reporting on Tier 1 threat groups by focusing collection, analytical and intelligence/investigative resources on groups listed in Tier 1.

Year Target Actual
2003 N/A 15%
2004 Baseline 35%
2005 45% 34%
2006 50% 33%
2007 38% 33%
2008 42%
2009 45%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The FBI's Counterterrorism (CT) Program purpose is to protect the United States and its interests from terrorist attacks. Methods to achieve this purpose include: prevent, disrupt, and defeat terrorist operations before attacks occur; pursue appropriate sanctions against those who have conducted, or aided and abetted those engaged in, terrorist acts; and provide incident response and investigative capability following acts of terrorism against U.S. interests.

Evidence: Title 18, U.S. Code (U.S.C.) Sec 2339; Title 28 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), Sec 0.85; Title 28 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Sec 533; USA PATRIOT Act; Attorney General Guidelines; Model Counterterrorsim Investigative Strategy; FISA Court Order of Review Decisions; National Response Plan; and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Following the attacks of 9/11, Counterterrorism Division's (CTD's) Analytical Branch, in coordination with FBI Field Offices, prepared a National Threat Assessment in December 2002 of the terrorist threat to the US homeland. This assessment has been updated every year based on comprehensive intelligence. Priority threat groups were identified with Al-Qa'ida being identified as the principal terrorist threat to the homeland. The groups were placed in a tiered structure and were designated as being a high, moderate, or low threat to the US homeland, prioritized by their intent to harm the US homeland, their links to al-Qa'ida, and their capabilities. CTD continues to reassess terrorist groups that pose a threat to the US homeland in an attempt to accurately reflect the current threat.

Evidence: CTD Strategic Plan, Terrorist group tiered structure attachment (SECRET).

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The FBI has sole responsibility to investigate all acts of terrorism that occur within the U.S., while the CIA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense all support the counterterrorism efforts assigned to the FBI. The national, multijurisdictional nature of the counterterrorist threat makes it a challenge beyond the scope of state and local law enforcement agencies alone, but the FBI's JTTF Program has enhanced the FBI's ability to promote a coordinated counterterrorism effort among FBI field offices and their respective counterparts in federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The CT Program works closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Counterterrorism preparedness arena to protect the nation's critical infrastructure from attack; to protect major special events that present an operational opportunity for terrorists; & to prepare against the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) material and technology within the United States.

Evidence: Homeland Security Act of 2002. MOUs with DHS, DoD. There are currently 103 Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) throughout the 56 field offices.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The CT program is carried out by the FBI's field offices, with guidance and oversight by FBI Headquarters. There is no evidence that another approach would be more efficient/effective in achieving the intended purpose. Direct federal funding towards CT efforts is the most appropriate program structure, since the highly classified and inherently governmental nature of its activities requires federal employee Special Agents and analysts to be directly involved. This type of funding structure also allows the FBI to most effectively and efficiently allocate its resources towards target areas.

Evidence: CTD Annual Spend Plans, budget requests.

YES 20%

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: CTD utilizes a threat-based assessment which defines priorities to allocate resources. Resource allocations are based on defined performance measures that tie to the FBI's Strategic Plan. In accordance with the Director's Priorities, the FBI substantially reallocated resources and personnel to the CT mission. The FBI increased the number of CT agents, intelligence analysts, and translators and established a number of new operational components based on the priorities.

Evidence: The Counterterrorism Program conducts quarterly reviews where prioritization is required to ensure that limited resources are properly allocated to address the program mission. CTD Funded Staffing Level (FSL) from 2002 - present reflects the increase in positions.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The FBI's ultimate goal is ensure that acts of terrorism are prevented before they occur.

Evidence: 28 C.F.R. § 0.85 defines acts of terrorism. FBI case records document whether any act investigated falls under this definition. FBI & DOJ budget and performance documents report acts of terrorism that fit under these criteria.

YES 14%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: The FBI aims to prevent any terrorist attacks from occurring in the U.S.

Evidence: FBI case records.

YES 14%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: Annual performance measures that demonstrate CTD's progress in meeting its long-term strategic goals have been developed as part of CTD 2005 Strategic Planning efforts. These output measures include, but are not limited to, screening of potential terrorist targets, partnerships with other law enforcement and the Intelligence Community (IC), training, and validation of human sources. The long-term goal of preventing terrorist attacks is nigh-impossible to track via annual outcome measures, since incremental progress towards prevention is not easily proven in terms of the reduction of the terrorist threat. A given year without overt terrorist attacks does not necessarily indicate a lack of covert terrorist activity at the same time. Incremental progress by the CT program is best measured by interventions that undermine the ability of terrorists to engage in covert activity. The FBI's CT program rigorously tracks these interventions through its output measures.

Evidence: Statistics for the CT Program are collected, recorded and maintained by the Budget Unit of CTD. These statistics are used to determine the allocation of resources, as well as progress toward the previously stated long-term goals.

YES 14%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: Results for each identified need have been prioritized, timelined, and tied to performance measures and strategic goals.

Evidence: Statistics from the Budget Unit of the CTD.

YES 14%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: The FBI is the chief domestic agency of the federal government in charge of preventing and investigating terrorist activity within the US. While other government partners contribute towards this mission, the FBI does not have public or private partners that share its mandate in this area.


NA  %

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: During 2004, the FBI's Organizational Program Evaluation and Analysis Unit (OPEAU) restructured the FBI's program evaluation process in compliance with OMB guidance. These evaluations are planned on a five-year schedule, and offer rigorous and objective analyses of the effectiveness of FBI programs. CTD has started an operational review of the FBI's Domestic Terrorism program in summer 2005.

Evidence: OPEAU documents and schedule.

YES 14%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: FBI budget requests do not clearly demonstrate links between budget enhancements and desired performance levels in outcome measures. The nature of the CT program does not lend itself easily to this type of tracking, given the inherent difficulty in proving that results of CT program activity can be predictably attributed to any specific expenditure. Nonetheless, the CT program does document the resource needs that will increase its ability to conduct investigations and utilize specific interventions that ultimately prevent terrorist activity.

Evidence: National Intelligence Program (NIP) Budget Submission, OMB Submission, Congressional Budget Justification Book, Internal budget submission to Finance Division, the Operational Impact Assessment, and the internal 2007 Threat Based Budget worksheet.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The FBI has contracted with the National Academy of Public Administrators (NAPA) to provide regular critique of the CT reengineering effort and efforts to develop a strategic planning model. In addition, the 2004 OPEAU restructuring of the FBI's program evaluation process expanded objective review of FBI strategic planning and policies.

Evidence: During the inspection process of 2004, deficiencies were noted for individuals and programs. Executive management acted to correct problems. Executive management then provided written feedback to the Inspection Division on how each specific issue was addressed.

YES 14%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 86%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: CTD prepares a monthly scorecard for internal distribution to all Section Chiefs, Deputy Asst. Directors (DADs), and the Assistant Director (AD). The scorecard presents CTD intelligence, operational and budget information that is used to measure the effectiveness of the Division. Results are reviewed to ensure CTD resources are adequately distributed. Data collected includes information on case load, staffing levels, operations,and intelliegence matters that pertain to CTD and the Iraq mission.

Evidence: CTD Scorecard, Field Office Scorecards, Semi-annual Progress Review by field offices administered by Inspection Division and validated by CTD.

YES 14%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: On June 30, 2004, the Attorney General transmitted decisions on the Senior Executive Service (SES) Performance-based Pay System to Office of Personnel Mgmt. (OPM) and OMB with the Human Capital report, including a generic work plan for all Departmental SES members, with accompanying Performance "contract" that must explicitly relate to the Department's, the President's or the Attorney General's defined goals. Consistent with the DOJ guidance, FBI Field Office Special-Agents-in-Charge (SACs) and CTD Program Executives are held accountable for performance results via a series of cascading program objectives established in accordance with the Pay for Performance System. FBI HQ executives plans document scoring by their supervisors; SACs have evaluations documented by HQ divisions. Under Pay for Performance, CTD Senior Executives are held accountable based on their performance results which require them to develop and implement workforce strategy and management directives that contribute measureable results to the CTD Mission and improve financial performance.

Evidence: Semi-Annual Performance Appraisals.

YES 14%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: To track personnel expenditures, FBI's Finance Division (FD) uses a compensation and benefits model with current payroll information and projected number of new hires and separations to calculate the expected funding needed for compensation and benefit requirements for the remainder of the fiscal year. The FBI monitors the discretionary spending of its divisions by utilizing a spending plan process developed by FD. Each quarter every FBIHQ Division is required to submit a packet that contains FBI Division's available funding and their detailed plans for spending any remaining funding they may have. Upon receiving the spending plans from each Division and Office, FD reviews these plans to insure the inclusion of all available funding and detailed plans for spending remaining funds. Following FD's review, feedback is given to each division and office along with questions. In 2004, ~6% of CTD's allotted discretionary funds were unobligated.

Evidence: FBI Spend Plans, CTD Financial Status Reports, CTD Budget Performance Report.

YES 14%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: FBI uses enterprise-wide efficiency processes through competitive sourcing and IT project management. FBI prepares an annual FAIR Act inventory list of positions for potential private sector competition. FBI's last competition was finished in FY 2004, and there are competitions currently scheduled for 2006-2008. FBI's Information Technology Investment Management (ITIM) process oversees all FBI IT investments within the enterprise architecture, assesses performance, and baselines a funding priority list based upon the IT strategic plan. Specifically, CTD measures cost-effectiveness by increasing the percentage of human source coverage on its top priority targets. In December 2002 CTD completed a comprehensive national assessment of the terrorist threat to the US homeland based on comprehensive intelligence and priority groups were identified. The groups were prioritized by their intent to harm the US homeland, their links to al-Qa'ida, and their capabilities.

Evidence: CTD Scorecard.

YES 14%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: In support of the Counterterrorism Division's primary goal of protecting the United States from terrorist attack, CTD has established close working relationships with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), DHS, Dept. of Defense (DoD), National Security Agency (NSA), National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and Dept. of State (DOS). All cases/operations initiated in the 103 JTTFs are worked jointly with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies and the information is passed on to the respective agencies.

Evidence: The shared goal of protecting the United States from terrorist attack is shown through MOUs with partner agencies (CIA, DHS, DoD, NSA, NCTS and DOS).

YES 14%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: Although the FBI has received unqualified audit opinions, there are material weaknesses identified in the FBI's financial audit. These material weaknesses do not specifically apply to CTD. The FBI has increased the scope of its review of its financial controls considerably in the past few years, instituting biweekly meetings with independent auditors to address any material weaknesses or reportable conditions. CTD ensures that all of its financial reporting requirements are met. CTD reviews its outstanding obligations to ensure that they are needed and if not they are de-obligated in a timely manner. Spend Plans are developed annually for the Division. They are reviewed on a quarterly basis with the Finance Division and weekly within CTD. CTD follows Federal and FBI regulation, and ensures that all property is documented in a timely manner.

Evidence: FBI Audits, CTD Budget Performance Reports, CTD Financial Summary Status, CTD Audits, Inspection Review, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Audits, Govt. Accountability Office (GAO) Audits, FBI Financial Statements, and Property Management Application (PMA) Reports.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: CTD's quarterly reviews, participation in DOJ's Pay-for-Performance system, and the FBI's increased attention given to improvement of its financial controls mark areas where the program continues to address necessary changes in its management.

Evidence: Internal audits; strategic planning documents and annual performance reviews.

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 86%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The FBI continues to view the absence of major terrorist attacks on US soil as a positive indicator of the interventions taken by the CT program.

Evidence: 28 C.F.R. § 0.85 defines acts of terrorism. FBI case records document whether any act investigated falls under this definition. FBI & DOJ budget and performance documents report acts of terrorism that fit under these criteria.

YES 25%

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Targets for annual measures were set during the latter half of FY 2005. Nevertheless, performance on two of the four annual measures fell short of the targets for FY 2005: percentage of human sources validated, and percentage of Counterterrorism program personnel who completed training. The number of participants in Joint Terrorism Task Forces was precisely the target for FY 2005, because it was at that level when the targets were set. The number of positive encounters with subjects through the screening process exceeded not only the FY 2005 goal but the 2006 and 2007 goals as well, raising questions about the appropriateness of the targets.



Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: The percentage of human sources reporting on Tier 1 groups fell short of the FY 2005 target and actually decreased from FY 2004.


NO 0%

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: The FBI is the chief domestic agency of the federal government in charge of preventing and investigating terrorist activity within the US. While other government partners contribute towards this mission, the FBI does not have public or private partnerships that share its mandate in this area.


NA  %

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: CTD has not had an evaluation completed by OPEAU yet, but the Domestic Terrorism program is undergoing a review in Summer 2005, and the IT program is currently scheduled for 2008. CTD had a complete, and successful three-year inspection in February 2004. In addition, CTD underwent a review as part of the 9/11 and WMD Commissions, and in the Spring of 2005, an OIG inquiry into the treatment of suspected terrorism detainees. The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) is the outside contractor reporting to Congressional Oversight Committee on progress to reengineer CT and Intelligence functions.

Evidence: OPEAU schedule; Inspection Division documents.

NO 0%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 33%

Last updated: 09062008.2005SPR