Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellows Program

Article excerpt

We are creating a coalition to go after terrorism. We are asking the United Nations and every other organization you can think of ... to join us once and for all in a great coalition to conduct a campaign against terrorists who are conducting war against civilized people.

Colin Powell September 2001

The Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program (RDCTF) was established by the U.S. Congress in 2002 to assist our friends and allies in their efforts in the war on terror by providing training and education for counterterrorism activities. The Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program enables the United States Department of Defense to assist key countries in the war on terrorism by providing training and education for counterterrorism activities. The RDCTF program allows the U.S. military through the Assistant Secretary of Defense Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASDSO/LIC) to work with countries of critical importance to the war on terrorism providing non lethal counterterrorism education and training that will have a direct impact on the long term capabilities and the capacity of our friends and allies. Specifically the counter terrorism fellowship will be used to bolster the capacity of friendly foreign nations to detect, monitor, and interdict or disrupt the activities of terrorist networks.

Regional combatant commands recommend (via the Joint Staff) individuals for consideration. ASDSOL/LIC oversees the creation of a mixture of mobile and resident institutional courses tailored to meet defined goals and to the specific need of key countries, and which will advance broader U.S. government counterterrorism objectives. Key senior and mid-level military officials are given the tools to effectively build, manage, and sustain counterterrorism programs. All candidates are thoroughly vetted consistent with legal requirements regarding human rights issues.

Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict looks to the National Defense University (NDU) School for National Security Executive Education (SNSEE) as the centerpiece of its Counterterrorism Fellowship Program. The School for National Security Executive Education's Counterterrorism Fellowship academic program puts international counterterrorism specialists in graduate seminars with American students from throughout the national capital region, representing the military services, Department of Defense agencies, executive departments, and Congressional staffs. Participants in these, multi-service, multi-agency, multi-national classrooms encounter real world obstacles to jointness in a combined policy setting. As they develop strategies and insights to cope with those challenges they develop the leadership skills for a 21st century war that knows no middle ground between parochial failure and joint victory. In keeping with the National Defense University tradition, each SNSEE seminar is oriented from the strategic level where shared purpose gives focus to disparate viewpoints.

The educational experience is further enriched for counterterrorism fellows, who participate in focused week long programs delivered by SNSEE's RDCTF partners from the Defense Institute for International Legal Studies (DIILS), the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), and the National Interagency Civil-Military Institute (NICI). This exposure across the SO/LIC counterterrorism community, paired with SNSEE's joint academic seminars, gives counterterrorism fellows a solid grounding in the practical and well as the intellectual side of the war on terrorism. Students take four courses per semester, one of which is an elective. Successful completion of the program earns an NDU Counterterrorism Fellowship Certificate in National Security Studies. Students whose academic background, English language skills, and academic performance meet NDU standards may also receive up to twenty-four graduate credits. …