In spite of the growing amount of literature published on terrorism over the past 20 years, counter-terrorism is rarely considered as a subject of research by itself. Empirical or data-driven research on counter-terrorism policy is relatively rare, and theoretical approaches are even scarcer. This article first reflects on the seeming absence of ‘counter-terrorism studies’ (contrasting with the thriving ‘terrorism studies’). Then, it suggests studying counter- terrorism policymaking through the lens of public policy theory. This approach offers innovative insights to our understanding of counter-terrorism and opens new horizons for the development of a theory of counter-terrorism policymaking.