2013/Morocco/The Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program

This publication was produced at the request of the United States Department of State. It was prepared independently by Development & Training Services, Inc. (dTS)

Executive Summary

A. Introduction

This report presents the findings from the evaluation of the Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) Program provided to Moroccan law enforcement officials. The Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT) has employed a new results-based management approach to programming over the past year, and conducting evaluations is one piece of that equation, allowing for course corrections and better strategic management. CT/ATA chose Morocco for its first evaluation.

B. Purpose of the Evaluation

The purpose of the evaluation was to ascertain the degree to which Morocco meets the tentatively established criteria for graduation[1] from ATA and is building sustainable counterterrorism capacities within the law enforcement community. The evaluation of the program’s effectiveness and Morocco’s fulfillment of graduation criteria will inform future ATA partner- nation graduation procedures.

The major research questions addressed in this study were:

Program Effectiveness

  • Were new skills, knowledge, and capacities developed as a result of participation in ATA training?
  • Have the new skills, knowledge and capacities been applied, and if so, in what way(s)?


  • How has the Government of Morocco (GOM) expressed political will through participation in the ATA program?
  • How have ATA interventions enhanced the GOM's capacity to assess counterterrorism needs and plan appropriate actions?
  • How has ATA assistance supported the creation of a GOM policy and regulatory framework for prioritizing counterterrorism?
  • How has the GOM allocated its own resources to institutionalize ATA training?

Sustainability and Graduation

  • How has ATA helped the GOM make its cyber-security and cyber-forensic capacities more sustainable?
  • How has the GOM demonstrated its capacity to become a regional center for counterterrorism training and coordination?

C. Evaluation Methodology

Two evaluators, Dr. Frederick Huxley (Team Leader) and Mr. Jeffery Lusk (Law-Enforcement Specialist) conducted the evaluation with assistance from dTS staff and DOS personnel. The theoretical framework for the evaluation is the Kirkpatrick Model,[2] which examines four levels of learning: how satisfied are former trainees with the training; did trainees learn what they were supposed to learn; how did trainees apply/use what they learned; and what result(s) stemmed from the learning, both for individual trainees and the organizations to which they belong.

The evaluation was conducted from May to July, 2013. The evaluators reviewed program documents in May, interviewed DOS officials in Washington, D.C. from June 8-12, and travelled to Morocco to conduct the fieldwork from June 19-July 3. Preliminary results of the field work were presented to the Deputy Chief of Mission and Regional Security Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, on July 2, 2013.

The data sources were:

  • An anonymous survey, with a 76% response rate (98 responses from 129 individuals trained)
  • 7 individual or group interviews with officials from DOS/Washington
  • 5 individual or group interviews with U.S. Embassy officials in Rabat
  • 14 guided group discussions with Moroccan Law Enforcement Officials
  • 2 individual interviews with Moroccan civil society organizations (CSO)
  • 2 individual interviews with Law Enforcement officials at foreign embassies in Morocco
  • 6 visits to national or regional cyber labs

During the data analysis phase, the information from the three sources, focus groups, interviews with key informants and the trainee survey was compared and contrasted to identify findings and derive the conclusions and recommendations.

D. Project Design and Activities

ATA is the U.S. Government’s (USG) counterterrorism program to enhance the capacities of law enforcement agencies of selected partner nations. ATA’s goal is to enhance the host country’s ability to detect, deter, and apprehend terrorists, and to respond to terrorist incidents. ATA encourages respect for human rights, and builds productive bilateral counterterrorism relationships with the United States. The ATA program meets its mandate by providing counterterrorism training and related equipment as well as follow-on mentoring.

Over the last five years—the period covered by the evaluation—17 courses were taught in Morocco to 129 participants from the two leading law enforcement agencies, the Royal Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Royale—GR), and the General Directorate for National Security (Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale—DGSN). ATA also provided equipment and follow-up monitoring visits. One ATA assessment was completed in this period (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Number of Activities by Type



Cyber Forensic


Cyber Security


Cyber Forensic/Security


Crime Scene


K9 Leadership








K9 Monitoring Checks


Cyber Awareness


ATA Assessment




E. Evaluation Findings

The evaluation findings indicate that the intended goals of the ATA program have either been or are on track to being met. While the report provides a detailed description of the findings for all the evaluation questions, the key findings follow:

Findings on Program Effectiveness

Nearly All Trainees Reported Learning New Skills and Using the Training

  • 98% of the respondents said the training provided skills and knowledge they lacked prior to training.
  • 47% (8/17) of the courses measured learning through pre-posttests.
  • 96% said their current job is related to the training they received.
  • 89% of respondents are using the training in their current jobs (27% “nearly all of it;” 63% “a great deal”).
  • 11% are not using the training for a variety of reasons, including the observation -“the curriculum was too basic.”

An Enabling Environment Existed for a Large Majority of Trainees to Apply the Training

  • 80% of respondents’ said their supervisors thought the training was very important.
  • 19% said their supervisors thought the training was of some importance.

Changes in Individuals’ Responsibilities Were Reported

  • 68% of the trainees reported increased responsibilities as a result of the training.
  • 15% of the trainees were reassigned to a new position as a result of the training.
  • 3% reported an increase in salary as a result of the training.

Changes in Organizations Were Observed

  • Effectiveness of local police work has improved.
  • Faster, more efficient, and better investigations are being conducted at local levels.
  • Moroccan officials are ready for more advanced training.

Overall, nearly all trainees expressed satisfaction with the training

  • 98% of the respondents were satisfied with the training programs provided by ATA (20% were “very satisfied;” 77% were “somewhat satisfied”).
  • 95% of the trainees reported they would “recommend the training to other people;” 5% said “maybe.”

Findings on Institutionalization of the Training

The government, organizations, and citizens of Morocco have expressed political will in supporting the ATA program.

  • Law-enforcement officials at national and regional levels are using the training and equipment received, and they request more.
  • Cyber-investigations at regional levels are faster, and the DGSN has doubled its rate of organizational growth for cyber-investigative capacity.
  • CSOs affirm their support for the kind of counterterrorism training provided by ATA.
  • ATA interventions have enhanced the GOM's capacity to assess counterterrorism needs and conduct appropriate actions. Improved GR cyber-forensic capacities have benefited investigations into drug and weapons trafficking as well as counterterrorism.
  • GR staff have combined enhanced cyber-forensic capabilities with database analysis to develop a new approach that they credit with producing a downturn in criminal activity.

ATA assistance is consistent with, or supportive of, a new GOM policy and regulatory framework for promoting counterterrorism.

  • Changes in the Penal Code are allowing more opportunity for law-enforcement officials to conduct investigations.
  • ATA-enabled changes have been made in the curriculum and practice of instruction at the Royal Police Institute.

GOM is allocating resources to institutionalize ATA training.

  • The GOM is contributing resources it controls – facilities, training, and equipment – to supplement ATA donations.

Findings on Sustainability[3]

As it maintains political will, enhances capacities, and institutionalizes the benefits of participating in the ATA program, the GOM is making its cyber-security and cyber-forensic capacities more sustainable.

  • ATA has offered one course on cyber-security; nine courses (plus two repeats) in cyber-forensics, and one course in cyber-unit management.
  • Trainees report high satisfaction with all these courses, are using what they learned, and show results from what they learned on both individual and organizational levels.

Findings on Regional Center

  • Morocco shows strong potential for becoming a regional center for training and coordination on counterterrorism.
  • GOM has the capacity to become a regional center for counterterrorism training and coordination.
  • Officials at DGSN are enthusiastic in their support of Morocco as such a regional center, seeing it as consistent with their own plans for development of capacities and organization.
  • GR officials are more reserved about the prospect, awaiting political direction from the GOM.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Liaison Officer is already conducting training for interviewing/interrogating suspects, using Moroccan facilities and trainers, with law-enforcement officials from the Sahel region. He supports coordination with others, such as ATA, who could expand this activity into more high-level capacities, such as cyber-security and forensics.
  • DGSN is already supplying training to several other countries’ police departments.
  • DGSN has the facilities and billeting area at the academy in Kenitra to allow increased numbers of students to attend classes at that facility.

F. Recommendations

Program Effectiveness

  • ATA should change its record-keeping system to track the actual people trained as a more accurate indicator of the outcomes and reach of the program. Current reporting tracks the “expected attendance” levels based on the course capacity and nominated individuals. ATA does not track the actual enrolment, nor distinguish cases where individuals take more than one course.
  • ATA and the Bureau could consider two alternatives, both dependent upon instructors submitting the list of actual attendees upon returning from teaching a course. The names could be entered into the DRL database which tracks nominees’ clearance status, by requesting a new field be added, or ATA could add a new field to its existing tracking system.
  • ATA should encourage the GOM to complete the highest level of training and certifications available internationally.
  • ATA should encourage the GOM to utilize international professional seminars and advanced training for technical managers and budget decision makers so the newest and most up-to-date equipment and methods for digital, electronic and cyber monitoring using investigative techniques and equipment are in place.
  • ATA should encourage the GOM and Police leadership to keep training as a top priority. Trends in criminality change with the changes in technology, so it is imperative that police remain ahead of the curve.

Institutionalization and Sustainability

  • ATA should encourage the GOM to certify as many technicians and investigators as possible through the ATA Train-the Trainer (TTT) course.
  • ATA should encourage the GOM to certify the labs, as was recommended by ATA.
  • ATA should advise the GOM to budget for the maintenance and upkeep of all electronic equipment.
  • ATA should advise the GOM to plan for the replacement of at least part of all technical electronic equipment on an annual basis.
  • ATA should encourage the GOM to keep several officers trained and updated on all new equipment available and allow them to be decision-makers on whether or not to acquire the equipment for GOM.
  • ATA should advise the GOM that updating and maintenance of equipment is essential to combating crime and terrorism. Budgeting and scheduling maintenance for all equipment is essential to have the equipment available at all times and to be able to depend on it for proper and complete analysis. Leasing or renting equipment from suppliers or manufactures with the agreement that they supply routine maintenance and emergency repairs are also advisable.

Graduation to Regional Center

  • ATA should continue some support–e.g., more courses and equipment–for further GOM development of cyber-security and cyber-forensic capacities.
  • ATA should graduate the GOM from support where it has already developed sustainable capacities (e.g., the K9 program) and to a role as a regional center for Sahelian countries regarding training and coordination in CT, especially with regard to cyber-capacities.
  • ATA should advise the GOM to consider hosting an international conference annually, inviting all area nations to attend, to increase their awareness and capacity in digital, cyber and electronic equipment and training in the same.

[1] CT only recently tentatively defined the criteria for graduation as “the partner nation’s attainment of ATA’s Strategic Objectives (SO), which the CT Bureau has deemed to be in the interest of the U.S.” No country has yet formally graduated from the ATA program.

[2] Kirkpatrick, J. and W. K. The Kirkpatrick Four LevelsTM: A Fresh Look after 50 Years 1959-2009.

[3] Sustainability for the purposes of this study is the result of maintaining political will to achieve the goals, enhancing capacities to carry out the activities, and institutionalizing the benefits of participating in the program beyond the presence of the trainers.