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Press Releases / 2004 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 26, 2004

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and
USMA Colonel Russ Howard Preside Over
Graduation Ceremony for Combating Terrorism Course

Thirty-four Fire and EMS Officers Graduate from the West Point-Inspired Course

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Colonel Russ Howard of the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), today officiated at the graduation ceremony for the first West Point-inspired Combating Terrorism Course administered at the Fire Department. Thirty-four senior Fire and EMS officers received graduation certificates after participating in the 14-week, graduate level course on terrorism and counterterrorism. The course was adapted for the FDNY from curriculum currently administered at West Point through its Combating Terrorism Center and included group projects focusing on responses to potential terror attack scenarios.

"The Fire Department is always seeking ways to improve our preparedness to meet the ever-changing needs of the City and its residents," said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. "Combating terrorism has become an increasing component of our mission. Our collaboration with West Point will ensure that our members have the most up-to-date information on terrorism issues and the critical analytical skills to identify and mitigate these threats."

"West Point's Combating Terrorism Center is one of the premier resources in the world for intelligence and analysis of terrorism-related issues," said Colonel Howard. "The changing security environment of New York City underscores the importance of sharing this critical information with first responders and policy makers. We're proud to partner with the FDNY to share our knowledge on these topics and help ensure the safety of the American people."

The primary goal of the class was to help students develop a framework to better understand terrorism and its impact on first responders as well as analyze future changes to the City's security environment and the implications it has on the mission of the Fire Department. Participants were selected from a pool of 160 applicants from Fire and EMS operations.

The class addressed four key areas: The New Terrorism; Means and Methods of the New Terrorism; Terrorist Groups of Concern; and Strategies, Policies and Responses. Students developed a greater understanding of the political, economic and social causes of terrorism and were able to adapt these principles to address the growing and changing needs of the Fire Department. Sections of the class also addressed the synergy between federal agencies and local first responders. In addition, each student was assigned to a group project to help develop a comprehensive response plan to a particular terrorist scenario. Final presentations were made to the Fire Commissioner at the end of the course.

This partnership is the first of its kind between the FDNY and the USMA. The Fire Department and USMA plan to develop additional programs and seminars for FDNY and USMA personnel.

The Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Recognizing the immediate need for a first-rate undergraduate education in intelligence and counterterrorism studies, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point was formed in 2003. The events of September 11, 2001 highlighted the changed and dangerous nature of the international security environment. Given these events and the ensuing war on terrorism, it is imperative that current and future leaders of our country be armed with the tools to make sense of new terrorist threats, to lead our nation, and to succeed in a very complex and increasingly hostile world. The center consists of four components: a Distinguished Chair; a Senior Fellows Program; a Research Program for scholars, faculty and cadets; and an Outreach Program. The Center has provided assistance in the policy arena, highlighting areas that need attention and developing effective policies to address the current terrorist threat. Beneficiaries of the Center are far-reaching, including students throughout the country, government agenc ies, non-profit institutions and private enterprise. The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point seeks to apply theoretical study and policy analysis in a manner that is useful to our nation's leaders. Its staff understands the paramount importance of policy-relevant research and education in light of the new security environment. In this way, the Center facilitates educational opportunities and provides policy analysis to enable greater understanding of the threats our nation faces in these troubled times.

About the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
The mission of the U.S. Military Academy is to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country; professional growth throughout a career as an officer in the United States Army; and a lifetime of selfless service to the Nation. The Academy is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City on the west bank of the Hudson River in Orange County, New York. West Point is America's oldest, continuously occupied military installation, first garrisoned on January 20, 1778. The U.S. Military Academy was established by an Act of Congress on March 16, 1802. Originally just 1,800 acres, the Academy has grown to more than 16,000 acres. The 4,000 members of the Corps of Cadets represent every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries. About 1,100 New Cadets enter the Academy on Reception Day each year and approximately 15 percent of the Corps of Cadets are women.

Since its founding two centuries ago, the Military Academy fulfills the same mission as it always has, to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets. It accomplishes this mission by developing cadets in three essential areas: intellectual, physical and military. These developmental paths are balanced and fully integrated into the daily life of each young man and woman at the Academy.

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / David Billig / Virginia Lam (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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