Scope of the Position:
The Under Secretary for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) leads the Treasury Department's efforts to disrupt and eliminate monetary lines of support to various criminal and terrorist organizations. This includes activities such as drug trafficking, terrorist arms deals, and general weapons trafficking. The Under Secretary directs the OTFI in the implementation of Titles I and II of the Bank Secrecy Act and oversees economic sanction programs, as well as security functions and programs for the Treasury Department. The position also provides strategic and operational analysis to the Treasury on counterterrorism efforts. The Financial Crime Enforcement Network reports to the Under Secretary.
Illustrative Management Challenges:
The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence is a relatively new office in the Treasury Department. In the 12 years since its implementation, the Agency has struggled to initiate various strategic objectives and workplace planning.1 Following reports on OTFI's inability to produce effective performance measures, officials have acknowledged the need for improvement and have worked since 2007 to develop one overall performance measure to assess the organization's impact. Other past challenges include the Agency's coordinating efforts across international lines to prevent terrorist financiers. The OTFI has encountered difficulties in galvanizing global political will to best deter terrorist financiers more consistently and effectively.2 The ability to hold financiers accountable has proven even more challenging when a rogue regime supports a group (Ibid).
Enhancing Treasury's Anti-Terror Tools Act
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5607, the Enhancing Treasury's Anti-Terror Tools Act. This would require the Treasury Department to conduct several studies to outline the implications of turning the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence into a standalone bureau, which would undoubtedly present a bevy of management challenges for the agency.3 The OTFI will have to keep this legislation in mind during the next administration and begin to prepare for a possible conversion to a standalone, independent agency.
1Combatting Illicit Financing: Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Could Manage More Effectively to Achieve Its Mission; www.gao.gov;
September 24, 2009.
2Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey Testimony; treasury.gov; April 1, 2008.
3US House of Representatives Passes Three Bills Aimed at Combatting Terrorist Financing; lexology.com; September 29, 2016.
Under Secretaries for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence:
Under Secretaries for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence come primarily from legal backgrounds and exhibit a combination of private and public sector experience. Because the office is relatively new, the characteristics of an ideal candidate have yet to be determined, but it appears that a strong legal background is necessary.
Adam Szubin (Acting) (2015-Present): Prior to serving as the Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Szubin served as Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) with the Treasury Department, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at DOJ, and as a trial attorney with the Terrorism and Litigation Task Force in DOJ's Civil Division. He received his JD from Harvard Law School.
Previous Under Secretaries:
David S. Cohen (2011-2015): Cohen currently serves as the Deputy Director of the CIA. Prior to his appointment as Under Secretary, he left the public sector to work at the Washington, D.C., law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Cohen previously worked for the Treasury Department as Senior Counsel to General Counsel. Before that, he worked at the law firm of Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin. Cohen began as a law clerk for the United States District Judge in the District of Maryland.
Stuart A. Levey (2004-2011): Levey currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer for HSBC Holdings. Preceding his appointment as Under Secretary, he worked as a litigation attorney with the Washington, D.C., law firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca, & Lewin. In 2001, Levey joined DOJ as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. He also worked as Chief of Staff for the Deputy Attorney General. Levey holds a JD from Harvard Law School.