Home News Stories 2008 August National Joint Terrorism Task Force

National Joint Terrorism Task Force

Protecting America
National Task Force Wages War on Terror

08/19/08

njttf_wseals.jpgThere are 104 FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country, where local, state, and federal agencies work together to combat terrorism on a regional scale.

Coordinating the efforts of all those regional task forces is the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, a fusion of local, state, and federal agencies acting as an integrated force to combat terrorism on a national and international scale.

The National Joint Terrorism Task Force, or NJTTF, was established in 2002 to manage the burgeoning Joint Terrorism Task Force program—the number of task forces almost doubled overnight, from 35 pre-9/11 to 56 soon after 9/11 (50 more have been established since then). Of course, JTTFs have been around since the 1980s, starting in New York and Chicago.

Originally located at FBI Headquarters, the NJTTF moved to the multi-agency National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), where it performs its mission while also working with NCTC personnel to exchange information, analyze data, and plan anti-terrorism strategies.

So what exactly is the NJTTF’s mission? Managing the Bureau’s JTTFs around the country is major part of the operation, and it’s a huge job—there are currently more than 4,000 JTTF task force members from over 600 state and local agencies as well as 50 federal agencies.

According to Special Agent Gregory Massa, who heads the NJTTF, “We support each task force in every way imaginable—from sharing intelligence and terrorism threat information to providing big-picture terrorism analysis…from offering guidance and oversight to setting sound program policies…from supplying resources for manpower, equipment, and space to facilitating training.”

Another vital aspect of the NJTTF’s mission is sharing information among its 80 members—officers, agents, and analysts—who then pass the information onto the 48 different agencies they represent. Those agencies—from the law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security, defense, diplomatic, and public safety sectors—include the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military, and federal, state, and local partners. Men and women from the U.S. Secret Service, Federal Air Marshals, New York City Police Department, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Amtrak Police, and dozens of other organizations work together every day in the global war on terrorism.

NJTTF members are also working together on joint initiatives designed to address broader terrorism threats. For example:

  • Operation TRIPWIRE focuses on information and intelligence-sharing operations from the NJTTF’s participating agencies to help identify terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S.
  • Correctional Intelligence Initiative assists JTTFs and correctional facilities to combat prison radicalization and recruitment of prisoners within federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial prisons.
  • Rail Liaison Agent Program works to protect the country’s critical mass transit and freight rail infrastructure by collecting and disseminating rail-related terrorism intelligence info to JTTFs and critical rail partners nationwide.
  • Military Working Group is comprised of 12 Department of Defense agencies who look at military-specific terrorism threats.

The NJTTF and the JTTFs work tirelessly to protect Americans from terrorism, but they can’t do it alone. Says Agent Massa, “Every law enforcement officer, first responder, military member, intelligence analyst, and private citizen has a role to play in the global war on terror.” And he asks that suspicious activity of any kind be reported to your local JTTF or FBI field office.

Resources:
Counterterrorism webpage