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Treasury Goal: Safeguard the financial system and use financial measures to counter national security threats

Updated on April 25, 2015


Security threats have become almost a routine event for our country and around the world. This government entity has a critical responsibility in protecting our financial system from security threats. This entity is not alone in this endeavor as it works with other agencies including state and local governments, regulators, foreign governments and international bodies along with private financial institutions.

Treasury works to protect the integrity of the financial system and advance key national security and foreign policy objectives through regulation, enforcement, financial intelligence analysis, outreach, and targeted financial measures. We carry out this work with other U.S. federal agencies, state and local governments and regulators, foreign governments, international bodies, and private financial institutions around the world.

The objectives for this goal are necessary if we are to continue to keep this nation and its people safe. The first sub element and the activities involved with it are completed with a number of partners. These are: the U.S. intelligence community, the Department of Justice, Department of State, State and local law enforcement, U.S. financial regulators and private industry must work together to achieve the security of our financial system.

Priority threats and determining what they are is the key to protecting our financial system across the country. Evaluating this aspect requires using intelligence analysis and outreach to the financial sector. It is important to connect with private industry as they can provide significant input to protecting their financial system and that of our country. Part of the activity of the treasury department in this aspect involves providing timely and accurate data along with focused intelligence support to critical decision-makers and partners in this activity. This includes a full range of economic, political, and security issues.

Additionally activity such as developing and supporting effective technology to collect intelligence associated without financial system from private industry and sharing it with domestic and foreign government partners is good only to a point. Too much sharing can potentially lead to problems such an opening up methods that those who want to cause havoc in our financial system can work to get around the technology being shared.

Contributing treasury programs include terrorism and financial intelligence together with financial crimes enforcement network another activity I did not know existed. With the support of these programs research, analysis and advance analytics in an effort to safeguard our financial system, combating money laundering and countering terrorist financial are the methods employed in this sub element.

The second sub element targets terrorist networks, narcotics traffickers and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. The goal of this element is to develop, implement and enforce sanctions and other targeted financial measures. Other activity includes imposing civil penalties against those who violate U.S. sanctions. Sharing again is part of the overall goal identified in this sub element and again we need to be careful as to what information is shared. Details with regards to the methods being developed or utilized in protecting our financial system can lead to the information being accessed by hackers or terrorists to use against us by developing ways around the technology. .

Supporting activities included in the overall goal and the details of this element contributing programs such as terrorism and financial intelligence, financial crimes enforcement network and treasury executive office for asset forfeiture. With regards to asset forfeiture it is important to point out that while the decisions to seize assets of individuals or organizations whether or not they are involved in terrorist activity decision must not be made lightly. Measuring the progress of these activities under this sub element include denying illicit actors access to our financial system or disrupting their networks using targeted financial measures.

Including the cyber security of country not just the financial sector is a critical aspect. While the focus of the treasury department is on the financial sector other departments and agencies need to focus on increasing cyber security across all sectors of the country. Tracking and targeting cyber threats is important but as the actions under this sub element identify it is important to develop the infrastructure and establish requirements and standards. This is not only important from a government standpoint it is important to convey this information by sharing it with the financial sector. It is also important that any government entity have the capability to respond to physical and cyber threats to critical infrastructure.

There are three distinct programs within this department that support this goal regarding cyber security. They include Domestic Finance, terrorism and financial intelligence and office of the Comptroller of the currency. Examples of progress include the numbers of outreach activities in partnership with the financial sector along with indicators such as threats and attacks that are identified and mitigated.

The last sub element of this goal involves protecting the integrity of the financial system involving anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financial standards. Part of the activity involves adopting strong anti-money laundering and counterterrorism by creating regulator safeguards. Regulations in this respect to protect our financial system are well within the authority and responsibility of the treasury department and as such this department should never be eliminated as some have proposed. Contributing programs include Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Evaluating this aspect of the treasury is not necessarily an easy task but examples of potential measures include evidence of compliance by covered financial institutions. This evidence is included through reports by financing supervisors. Financial institutions must realize the importance of protecting the integrity of our financial system and should cooperate with any government entity to protect the integrity of the system. Engaging with foreign governments is also a measure which can be used to evaluate the success of protecting financial systems across the world. Protecting the integrity of financial infrastructures is not limited to our country as any impact to the financial integrity of one country can and would impact the security of others.


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