The NDU Counterterrorism Fellows Program began when the US Congress authorized direct funding to the Department of Defense for a Counterterrorism program for international officers and civilians following 9/11. The engagement policies of the Department of State had left the United States with little or no contact with countries with large Muslim populations. The funding given directly to the DoD’s office of Assistant Secretary of Defense, Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC)instead of the Department of State was the first such Congressional authorization in history. ASD SO/LIC established the Counterterrorism Fellowship (CTF) Program and approached Mr John Charlton, Senior Director, ISMO, NDU requesting a new program to be organized to directly support the Congressional authorization. In March 2003, an existing organization at NDU, the School of National Security Executive Education (SNSEE), undertook the CTFP mission. Ten international officers arrived for the first course followed by 36 more in 2003. The SNSEE program subsequently became the flagship ICTF Program for senior military and civilian internationals.
The SNSEE course was initially organized as a year round program with three 8 month certificate courses starting each year. Each course was composed of 18 senior international officers; a total of 54 officers each year. One of the unique aspects of the ICTFP was the inclusion of civilians and police officers engaged in combating terrorism-something not present in current Security Assistance programs. In 2007, the program was revamped to support a 10 month long Masters degree program similar to the National War College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. At the same time, SNSEE was re-established as the College of International Security Affairs. The current program provides the graduates with a Masters of Arts Degree in Strategic Studies with a focus on combating terrorism.
In the 8 year history of the CT Fellowship has produced an alumni base of over 400 individuals who serve in positions of importance in regard to combating terrorism and fighting extremists around the world. The NDU CT Fellows alumni represent over 80 countries from all areas of the world who are actively engaged with US organizations in a worldwide effort against terrorism.