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Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on “The Future of Counterterrorism Strategy”

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Hearing: “The Future of Counterterrorism Strategy”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman

Opening Statement

I want to thank our witnesses for testifying today.

Both of you have had long careers working to defend our country against terrorists, and today is a great opportunity for us to learn from your experiences and hear your insights about the future.

As the Mosul operation continues and the Raqqa campaign begins, ISIS could soon lose the most important territory it has held.

As ISIS changes from an organization intent on retaining territory to one focused more on inspiring and directing violence and spreading radical ideology, the next administration is going to face a new and perhaps even more diverse set of problems.

We have already seen ISIS and other groups employ multiple different tactics – from organized, external networks directing coordinated attacks in Europe to huge suicide bombings in the Arab world, to inspired attacks by lone wolves in the United States–like those that occurred in my own home town of Chattanooga, Orlando, San Bernardino and this week at Ohio State University.

I hope you can help us think about the evolving nature of terrorist organizations and what tools the United States needs most to counter them.

ISIS and Al Qaeda have proved to be resilient in the face of extreme pressures, reinventing themselves and taking advantage of conflicts around the globe to root into local populations.

With the world now focused on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, what can we do to best prepare for the next iteration of ISIS or Al Qaeda?

How can we recognize where radical ideology is taking root and ways to best combat it?

And finally, both of you have served in different administrations that created new structures and positions to combat terrorism–I think we could appreciate your views on what could be done going forward to better coordinate a whole-of-government approach to combatting terrorism.

Again, I would like to thank you both for being here, and I want to turn to our distinguished ranking member, my friend, Ben Cardin.