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Press Releases / 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2010


Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano and Lieutenant Colonel Reid L. Sawyer, Director of the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), will officiate the graduation ceremony for 33 FDNY members from the West Point Counterterrorism Leadership Program on Monday, June 7 at 11 a.m. at FDNY Headquarters.

The graduating members spent the last four months in a demanding graduate level course at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point focusing on research in the field of terrorism, counterterrorism, and weapons of mass destruction. These members studied works by political scientists, government officials, members of the armed forces and other experts in the field to understand the causes, ideologies and methods of terrorism. The course also covered risks for, and specific threats to, New York City and how current world events shape these threats on a daily basis.

“On May 1 in Times Square, we were all reminded once again of the very real threats our city faces every day,” said Commissioner Cassano. “As first responders, FDNY members are on the front line, defending New York City from terrorist attacks. The Department’s participation in the West Point Counterterrorism Leadership Program is part of our commitment to always be prepared to combat these terrorist threats.”

This class consists of members from every area of the FDNY in all 5 boroughs including 1 Firefighter, 3 EMS Officers, 3 Fire Marshals, 19 Fire Officers, 5 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Assistant Chief, and 1 Deputy Assistant Chief.  These FDNY members bring over 650 years of experience with the FDNY to the program in addition to specialized HAZMAT, Rescue, Medical and Fire Investigation training. 

This is the 6th year the course has been offered to FDNY members. Since the start of this partnership between the USMA and FDNY, 205 members have graduated from the program.


Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano; Chief of Department Edward S. Kilduff; Chief of Operations Robert Sweeney; Deputy Assistant Chief of Operations Joseph Pfeifer, who is chief of the FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness; Director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Lieutenant Colonel Reid L. Sawyer; Deputy Director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Major James Scott Taylor Jr.


FDNY Headquarters – First Floor Auditorium, 9 Metrotech Center


Monday, June 7, 2010 – 11 a.m.

***Photo Op***

About Lieutenant Colonel Reid L. Sawyer

Lieutenant Colonel Reid L. Sawyer is the Director and one of the founders of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.  A career intelligence officer, he has served in a variety of special operations assignments, involving operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, and South America.  Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer actively advises a number of federal, state and local governmental agencies regarding the threat of terrorism and is a member of the FDNY Terrorism Task Force.  In addition to teaching at the United States Military Academy, Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from the United States Military Academy, a Masters of Public Administration from Columbia University and is presently completing his doctoral dissertation at Columbia University.  His research centers on counterterrorism policy and strategy and the effectiveness of national policy instruments in countering terrorist threats.

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.  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 agencies, 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. The 4,000 members of the Corps of Cadets represent every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries. 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.

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Frank Dwyer, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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