While West Point has long taught courses on issues of National Security, it rapidly became apparent that new initiative was needed in order to prepare cadets for the complex operating environments that they would be facing after graduation in the post-9/11 era. This unique educational imperative led to the creation of the Combating Terrorism Center thanks to the vision and generous support of Mr. Vincent Viola, former Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and a 1977 graduate of West Point and the vision of General (Retired) Wayne Downing, USMA '62. Since its inception, the CTC has gained international recognition for its teaching and research. The CTC has also developed an innovative Terrorism Studies Program that includes West Point's Terrorism Minor – the only one of its kind in the nation.
The Center is uniquely situated at the nexus of theory and practice, which enables it to serve as a focal point and an independent voice on terrorism and counterterrorism strategy within the government as well as the academic community.
Today, the Center continues to partner with institutions throughout the country, including military, law enforcement,and first responder communities in order to shape the way that these institutions comprehend the terrorist threat so that they may act with confidence. Even if the threat of terrorism wanes from the public consciousness, the Center will remain an enduring institution that will continue to educate current and future leaders on the threat from terrorism, produce academically rigorous and theoretically sound research, and serve as a national resource for national leaders – and the country.