|Combating Terrorism Center at West Point|
|Established:||February 20, 2003|
|Affiliation:||United States Military Academy|
|Chair:||General (Retired) John P. Abizaid|
|Director:||Major (P) Reid Sawyer|
|Location:||Lincoln Hall, West Point, NY|
At the time of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, West Point's counterterrorism curriculum consisted of a single elective class. In order to fill this gap and provide greater educational resources in terrorism-related issues, the Academy welcomed the creation of the Combating Terrorism Center and included it in its Department of Social Sciences on February 20, 2003. Though thus a part of the United States Military Academy, the CTC was established with private funding and is an independent research group. Primary funding for the founding of the CTC was contributed by Vincent Viola, a 1977 graduate of the United States Military Academy and former chaiman of the New York Mercantile Exchange; significant initial support was also provided by Ross Perot, George Gilmore Jr. and Major (ret.) George Gilmore Sr. The Center's first Distinguished Chair was General (Retired) Wayne Downing until his death in 2007. General (Retired) John P. Abizaid, the former commander of Central Command, presently holds the Distinguished Chair. The current director, Major (P) Reid Sawyer, a founding member of the Center, returned to the Center in June 2008.
The Militant Ideology Atlas, under the general and editorial direction of CTC Fellow Dr. William McCants, used citation analysis to provide the first systematic mapping of the ideologues most influential in the global jihadi movement. Analyzing the most downloaded jihadi literature from one of al-Qa'ida's online libraries and cataloging more than 11,000 citations from these texts, the Militant Ideology Atlas found that the most influential living jihadi thinkers are not - as is commonly supposed - senior leaders of al-Qa'ida itself, but rather a handful of primarily Saudi and Jordanian clerics; the most widely-cited writer is the Palestinian-Jordanian Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. The Atlas was published in November 2006.
Harmony Database Reports are works of analysis and policy recommendation produced by the CTC on the basis of documents declassified for this purpose by the Defense Department from the latter's Harmony Database, which houses al-Qa'ida-related documents captured throughout the world in the course of the War on Terror. The CTC's first Harmony report, Harmony and Disharmony: Exploiting al-Qa'ida's Organizational Vulnerabilities, was published in February 2006 and, along with extensive analysis, made primary source documents from the Harmony Database available to the public for the first time. According to the CTC, Harmony and Disharmony "includes a theoretically informed analysis of potential opportunities to exploit al-Qa’ida’s network vulnerabilities, a case study of jihadi operational failure, and specific recommendations for effectively addressing the evolving al-Qa’ida threat. The CTC's second major Harmony report focussed on the Horn of Africa. Released in May 2007, al-Qa'ida's (Mis)Adventures in the Horn of Africa provides a detailed picture of al-Qa'ida's efforts to establish itself in East Africa, what its successes and failures were in the region, and how conditions in weak and failed states affect the ability of jihadi groups to function. The report also included a second batch of declassified documents from the Harmony Database, with full English translations, and in-depth profiles of key figures and groups. The entire report can be downloaded here The third Harmony report explores al-Qa'ida's internal conflicts over the course of its history. Released in October 2007, Cracks in the Foundation: Leadership Schisms in al-Qa'ida from 1989-2006, written by CTC Research Associate Vahid Brown, analyzes a new set of declassified Harmony documents to tease out the issues that have divided al-Qa'ida's leadership and details the factions that have struggled for control of the organization.
CTC Sentinel, a monthly journal covering research and news. Available in pdf here: http://www.ctc.usma.edu/sentinel/