From the Editor
It has been 20 years since 9/11. In the wake of the attacks, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC) was established to provide cadets and policymakers with best-in-class research so that they could better understand and confront the threat. With the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan, with Africa emerging as the new epicenter of global jihadi terror, and with it likely becoming more difficult for the intelligence community to track threats in jihadi conflict zones from which the United States has withdrawn militarily, objective and rigorous open-source research is more critical than ever.
To mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, this special issue of CTC Sentinel, supported by the Recrudescence Project, features interviews with five former officials who have made immense contributions to the counterterrorism enterprise: former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell, former CENTCOM Commander Joseph Votel, former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Dell Dailey, former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan, and former Chief of the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Sir Alex Younger. Their reflections on 9/11 and their lessons learned across key parts of the counterterrorism spectrum—intelligence; military; diplomacy; law enforcement—and across the Atlantic are essential reading. Video highlights of several of the interviews are available on the CTC website: Michael Morell, Joseph Votel, Dell Dailey, and Ali Soufan. (Please right-click and open new tab to view.)
The special issue also features five articles by leading scholars on the evolving global terror threat landscape. Asfandyar Mir focuses on Afghanistan. Charles Lister examines Syria. Tricia Bacon and Jason Warner look at Africa. Elisabeth Kendall surveys Yemen and Saudi Arabia. And Colin Clarke evaluates the future of the global jihadi movement.
On this anniversary, our deepest sympathies are with those who have lost loved ones to terrorism. Responding to this threat, as General Votel puts it, has been a noble undertaking. We deeply appreciate those who have served. Their sacrifices have saved countless lives.
Paul Cruickshank, Editor in Chief