National efforts to counter terrorism and counter violent extremism has been well underway in the Maldives, even prior to the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Maldives Police Services (MPS), along with other government agencies, had been working on developing critical capabilities, programs and plans to counter the kinetic and non-kinetic aspects of terrorism. In 2012, the Office for Counter Terrorism (OCT) was established within the Ministry of Defence and National Security. In 2014, OCT was replaced with the Department of Counter Terrorism (DCT).
In 2015, the 'Prevention of Terrorism Act (32/2015)' was passed and ratified. The new act marked a major update from the previous' Prevention of Terrorism Act (10/90),' and enabled more robust and unified efforts against terrorism and violent extremism. Article 19 of the 'Prevention of Terrorism Act (32/2015)' mandates the President to assign an agency with the responsibility of coordinating the national effort against terrorism and violent extremism. Thus, NCTC was established through Presidential Decree (2016/3) on February 25, 2016.
NCTC is placed under the direct supervision of the Minister of Defence and National Security. Two Executive level committees: (1) Counter Terrorism Steering Committee and (2) Deradicalization Committee have been setup as part of NCTC. Day-to-day management of NCTC is overseen by the Director General of NCTC. At present, NCTC is staffed by personnel from MNDF.
NCTC's mission is derived from the Presidential Decree and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (32/2015), as well as other laws and directives.