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Connecting Scholars and Practitioners: Reflections on the Development of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Dr. James Forest, Director of Terrorism.

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Presentation on theme: "Connecting Scholars and Practitioners: Reflections on the Development of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Dr. James Forest, Director of Terrorism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Connecting Scholars and Practitioners: Reflections on the Development of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Dr. James Forest, Director of Terrorism Studies

2 Agenda Introduction 1 – Establishing the CTC 2 – Pursuing Three Core Mission Areas 3 – Achievements, Years 1 Thru 6 4 – Challenges, Years 1 Thru 6 5 – Lessons Learned

3 Establishing the CTC The Context, Post-9/11 Increasing demand for courses & informed analysis Sources of Funding USMA Alumni Private sector Govt. projects Additions The Founders, Mr. Viola, COL Howard, CPT Sawyer, GEN Downing

4 3 Core Mission Areas 1)Teaching Develop and teach courses at West Point Contribute to the development of intellectual capacity for organizations in the military, law enforcement and intelligence communities 2)Research Contribute meaningfully to the expansion of the Terrorism Studies field Connect scholars with practitioners Examine issues that enhance the understanding of al-Qaida and others targeting the U.S. Provide insights that are relevant and accessible to operators and the general public 3)Policy/Strategy Advice Contribute to new strategic thinking about counterterrorism policies and strategies Offer informed analysis of existing and proposed policies and strategies for counterterrorism

5 Achievements, Years 1 thru 6 1)Teaching 5 courses developed, incorporated into West Point curriculum Minor in Terrorism Studies External education programs (FBI, FDNY, NYPD) 2)Research 12 edited volumes, 4 authored books, 25 articles, etc. Research reports (Harmony series, Iraq, Militant Ideology Atlas, etc.) The Sentinel (monthly journal), 10,000+ subscribers 3)Policy/Strategy Advice Congressional Testimony Defense Science Board, Army Science Board, military briefings, etc. 4)Other Academic conferences (Internet radicalization, AfPak, SE Asia, etc. Funding source diversification

6 Indicators of Success

7 Challenges, Years 1 thru 6 Internal hurdles to establishing a new academic unit at West Point: 13 academic departments, divided over budget, curricular priorities, cadet time Whos in charge? Accountability issues and personality clashes Security concerns: physical protection? antagonizing a lethal enemy? Office space, support staff, and computer network support Personnel (are they qualified to teach other courses in the department? Will they relocate to West Point for short-term, funding-dependent contracts?) Establishing a website (logistics, regulations, technical control and security issues, design and appearance considerations, content control issues, bureaucratic resistance, lack of a dedicated webmaster or technical expert... ) External challenges: Army concerns: Is a CTC really necessary? Why at West Point? Ensuring academic integrity, ideological neutrality (critical for bridge-building) Funding issues: perceptions, military regulations, logistics (AOG)

8 Lessons Learned Establish Purpose and Relevance Must contribute in multiple, meaningful ways (our emphasis on education and scholarly-policy bridge-building has been a key to our relevance and success) Define a lane, stay in it, but dont be afraid to take risks Establish boundaries; dont be too opportunistic, even if this constrains funding opportunities; maintain academic integrity, ideological neutrality Assemble and Lead the Right Herd of Cats Build a Cloud Network of multi-disciplinary collaboration Establish a Robust Communications Effort Work with institutional public affairs office on media relations Give briefings to whomever asks (from Rotary clubs to Congressional staff) Diversify funding sources Establish a long-term endowment


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