Annual Security Review Conference Working Session I: Transnational Threats & Challenges – Strengthening the OSCE’s Response, Consolidating P

As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Ian Kelly
June 26, 2012

The OSCE’s comprehensive notion of security is one of its greatest comparative advantages in addressing transnational threats (TNTs), which are not only transnational but also cross-dimensional.  We greatly appreciate the Chairmanship’s leadership on TNT issues, particularly in the establishment of the cyber security informal working group and its ongoing efforts to help us reach consensus on the various other OSCE TNT mandates.  We look forward to the continued focus on TNT efforts under Ukraine’s Chairmanship in 2013.  We also welcome the establishment of the OSCE’s new TNT Department and strongly support its coordination and programmatic efforts.

Entrenching the Rule of Law, Combating Violent Extremism

In addressing the threat of terrorism, promoting the rule of law and countering violent extremism and radicalization are two areas of particular interest to the United States.  The OSCE has demonstrated that it can strengthen counterterrorism capacities by conducting training programs that promote norms and standards of responsible state behavior and by sharing best practices.  The OSCE’s ability to engage closely with civil society leaders enables it to leverage the efforts of NGOs that have more regular access to local community leaders, victims of terrorism, and at-risk individuals.  The OSCE’s field missions and executive structures also have a pivotal role in developing local, community-based counterterrorism initiatives, including counter-narrative proposals.

We welcome the Irish Chairmanship’s vision in hosting a high-level rule-of-law counterterrorism event here in Vienna later this fall.  Promoting the rule of law is a core competence of the OSCE, and we look forward to helping make the planned event successful.  To remain relevant, however, the OSCE must actively engage in ongoing international counterterrorism efforts, such as by deepening its collaboration with the recently launched Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) that held its second ministerial-level plenary meeting in Istanbul earlier in June, which Secretary Clinton co-chaired.  At this meeting, the GCTF ministers adopted good practices for the criminal justice sector and on the rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders.  The OSCE can and should become a pivotal GCTF implementing partner supporting training and otherwise promoting the implementation of these good practices throughout the OSCE region, while also providing assistance to Partner States, upon request.

Developing Cybersecurity Trust, Accountability and Confidence

We are thankful delegations agreed that the OSCE has a role in helping to address the growing international threats in cyber space.  In our view, the informal working group on cyber security confidence-building measures (CBMs) will add immeasurably to the promotion of international stability in cyberspace.  The OSCE is uniquely suited to help us carry forward the work of building trust and confidence regarding states’ cyberspace interactions and intentions.  The OSCE could also explore the engagement of the private sector and civil society on cyber issues.

In our view, CBMs should be developed to reduce the risk that anomalous cyber events could be misinterpreted as hostile actions, thus decreasing the likelihood of increased tension or escalation to open conflict.  The OSCE should elaborate a list of CBMs to support a multilateral framework upon which we collectively build enhanced trust, accountability and transparency, in other words – international cyberspace stability.  Over time we hope to make concrete progress on cooperative measures to address state and non-state cyber threats.  Ultimately our objective is to advance a common understanding of responsible state behavior in cyberspace through enhanced international cooperation and collaboration.

Strengthening Border Security, Implementing Nonproliferation Principles

Efforts to promote more secure borders remain a principal component of the OSCE’s TNT work, and we strongly support the OSCE’s activities in this area.  By strengthening efforts such as the Border Management Staff College (BMSC) in Dushanbe, hands-on training programs, and Economic Resource Centers along critical borders, the OSCE can combat transnational threats while helping create conditions for economic development.  The Unites States recently donated $1.7 million to six projects for Afghanistan and the broader region.  We urge those here today to likewise make concrete commitments to projects earmarked for the benefit of Afghanistan and regional stability and security.  We strongly support the OSCE’s contributions to improving the implementation of UNSCR 1540.  The OSCE has an important role to play in helping participating States develop national action plans while making full use of the OSCE’s field missions and training facilities, including the BMSC, where we recently supported several regional WMD interdiction training seminars.  We also encourage other OSCE participating States to promote the development of the BMSC as a regional training platform and capacity-building hub.

Promoting Police Reform

We are strong supporters of the OSCE’s efforts to entrench the rule of law and promote police reform.  For example, our contributions to the OSCE’s Community Security Initiative (CSI) demonstrate our deep commitment to the people of Kyrgyzstan and our confidence that long-term stability, economic vigor, and lasting democracy will flourish when Kyrgyzstan actively addresses underlying ethnic tensions and socio-economic inequalities.  We encourage the Government of Kyrgyzstan, and in particular the Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior, to hire, train and integrate minorities into Kyrgyzstan’s police services and address human rights violations by law enforcement authorities.  The creation of a national human rights mechanism to investigate reported cases of abuse, arbitrary arrests, extortion, or other human rights violations is a good first step that should be implemented as quickly as feasible.


Evolving transnational threats challenge security and stability within the OSCE space and beyond.  Combating transnational threats requires a coordinated, preventive effort.  A sound collective response compels us to build local, national and international capacities, while enhancing societal resilience.  It also obliges us to improve our tools to evaluate the effectiveness of our OSCE capacity-building efforts to best leverage our capacity to optimize the use of our limited resources.

Thank you, Mister Chairman.