What do we do?
The remits of CUTA in a nutshell.
The Common Database (CDB)
Our democratic rule of law defends itself against terrorism and extremism. Threats are continuously identified by the security services and monitored as a matter of priority.
The Common Database (CDB) contains the names of all known extremists and terrorist of Belgium. It is the tool to ceaselessly share relevant information between the partner services. Extremism manifests itself in various ways. We identify five categories of extremists with strong links to Belgium.
- Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs): persons who have travelled to a conflict zone in order to join a terrorist group or have returned from a terrorist conflict zone, who have been prevented of leaving or who intended to leave.
- Homegrown Terrorist Fighters (HTFs): persons who do not intend to travel to a terrorist organisation abroad. They choose to commit or support terrorist acts here.
- Hate propagandists (HPs): persons who want to justify the use of violence for ideological purposes. With their influence, they aim to radicalise their environment and undermine the rule of law.
- Potentially Violent Extremists (PVEs): persons with extremist sympathies who intend to convert these into actions through violence, but who have not yet taken concrete steps to do so.
- Persons Convicted of Terrorism (PCTs): persons who are convicted of terrorism, interned or placed under specific protective measures for terrorism in Belgium or abroad
The Action Plan against Radicalism (Plan R) tackles extremism and the radicalisation process in our society. The objective of Plan R is to prevent problems that could eventually lead to a security crisis. By means of Plan R, CUTA coordinates this approach.
Initially, Plan R focused on a mere repressive approach. However, over time awareness grew that this approach was insufficient. Ever since Plan R has been evolving into a multidisciplinary approach based on the expertise of all policy levels in our country.
Punctual and strategic threat assessments
Based on the information and intelligence of its partners, CUTA draws up punctual as well as strategic threat assessments.
The punctual assessments specifically determine the level of a threat. These are drawn up for specific events such as Christmas markets, festivals and EU summits. Punctual threat assessments are also made for threats against certain individuals such as VIPs and politicians. A third type of assessment is made for the threat posed by a particular person or group.
These analyses are concluded with a threat level 1, 2, 3 or 4. The lowest level is allocated if it appears that the situation is not under a threat. The highest level is applied if the threat is very serious and imminent. Determining the threat level is based on a strict methodology.
It is on the basis of these analyses that other services take security measures. These threat assessments are drawn up at the request of our partner services or on CUTA’s owns initiative. The most common threat assessment is the one for Belgium in general: the general threat assessment.
The strategic assessments focus on a particular trend or problem in our society related to CUTA’s fields of competence. The analyses point out possible developments in the longer term and create a broader framework on the threat posed by, for example, Salafist jihadism, right-wing extremism and anarchism. Strategic analyses can be drawn up at the request of the authorities or on CUTA’s own initiative.
Critical infrastructures are the subject of a specific type of strategic analysis. The National Crisis Centre (NCCN) identifies a Belgian or European infrastructure as critical.
Click here to read the public analyses. (link to publications, summary analyses for general distribution, only available in French and Dutch).
The individual administrative measures are preventive restrictions that make it more difficult to plan terrorist acts. These include:
- withdrawing, invalidating, or not renewing identity cards
- withdrawing, invalidating, or not renewing passports
- freezing financial and economic assets
In consultation and discussion with its partners, CUTA provides reasoned opinions to the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the National Security Council, respectively.
CUTA is under the aegis of the Ministers of Justice and the Interior and reports to the government through the National Security Council. The bodies supervising CUTA are the Standing Committee P (Supervisory Body of the Police Services), the Standing Committee I (Supervisory Body for the Intelligence Services) and the COC (Supervisory Body for Police Information). In addition, CUTA works closely with the National Crisis Centre, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and, of course, all its partners.
The last element in the chain is the contacts with partners abroad, with whom a smooth flow of information is also important.
Our support services determined by law
- Integrated Police services
- Belgian State Security (VSSE)
- Military Intelligence Service (SGRS)
- FPS Mobility & Transport
- FPS Interior
- Immigration Office
- National Crisis Centre
- FPS Foreign Affairs
- FPS Finance
- Customs & Excise
- FPS Justice
- Department of Religions and Humanism
- Directorate General for Prison Facilities
Our other partner services
- Belgian Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CTIF-CFI)
- Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office
- Regions & Communities
- Local Partners
- municipalities, prevention & deradicalisation officers
International exchange of information
Terrorism and extremism transcend national borders. CUTA therefore calls for more European and international cooperation. The office maintains close contacts with partner services abroad.
The Coordination Unit for Threat Assessment is a strong advocate of multidisciplinary cooperation to tackle the root causes of terrorism and extremism. With this in mind, CUTA provides as much information and advice as possible to various levels of government, academia and civil society. This is always in accordance with the rules on the classification of the information and intelligence.