GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany —
Almost 100 mid- to top-level law enforcement specialists and parliamentarians from 52 nations have a better understanding of the strategic-level approaches needed to counter transnational criminal organizations when they return home April 28.
They are heading home after completing the three-plus week Program on Countering Transnational Organized Crime at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here. The Marshall Center is a German-American partnership that has produced generations of global security professionals for the past 25 years.
‘Make a Difference’
Held twice a year, CTOC is designed for government officials and practitioners who are engaged in policy development, law enforcement, intelligence and interdiction activities aimed at countering narcotics trafficking, terrorist involvement in criminal activity and the associated elements of transnational crime and corruption.
“We focus on strategy and policy development because we are preparing participants for their future jobs,” said Professor Joe Vann, CTOC director. “We want them to think about their ‘job after next,’ and not their current position.
Vann added, “We want them to go home, be good at their jobs and get promoted — not just to the next step but to the higher step, because we want them to be leaders in their countries and make a positive difference in the fight against transnational organized crime.”
In 2014, the Marshall Center was designated by the Defense Department as a Center of Excellence for Transnational Security Studies, due to its countering organized crime program, as well as its courses on countering terrorism and cybersecurity.
“Unlike national or regional studies of crime, we hope to take our participants to a higher level of international cooperation,” Vann said. “An increasingly globalized problem requires a more precise and comprehensive globalized response.”
He added, “We need to enable our participants to think ‘out of the box,’ develop their critical thinking skills that evolve, and apply new concepts and best practices. We need to appreciate the value of incorporating local and international knowledge and expertise to our broader strategies and policies.”
Khatia Dekanoidze, an adjunct professor for this iteration of CTOC, said the Marshall Center is the place to build global partnerships. Dekanoidze served as the first female chief of the Ukrainian National Police, where until November 2016 she directed more than 100,000 officers. During her tenure as chief of police, she was a guest lecturer at CTOC, and this is her second time as an adjunct professor for this program.
“You see so many people here who are part of the law enforcement services all around the world, and who tackle problems every day just like you,” she said. “They share their experiences, knowledge, concerns and problems with each other, and that’s how law enforcement and global partnerships start with ordinary people who really have to tackle the problems that are so familiar for us.”
‘Work for Your Country’
Participants represented military and civilian sectors of their governments a wide spectrum in seniority and experience.
“This is something that we strive for at the Marshall Center,” Vann said. “With the right mix of professions and experiences, we can create an environment where they can share their knowledge and experiences with their colleagues. They can think hard and discuss innovative ways to solve challenges through collaboration and cooperation.”
Course participants heard from faculty and invited subject-matter experts experienced in different areas of combatting transnational organized crime. In-depth discussions focused on a range of topics, including narcotics trafficking, human smuggling, weapons trafficking, cybercrime and money laundering.
“We learned a lot from these professionals because they talked about how to go about doing things,” said Judge Gillian Lucky, from the Supreme Court in Trinidad and Tobago. “This course not only gives you the theory, but also helps you to put it into practice. You learn what is working in other agencies and countries, and how you can make it work for your country.”
Discussing Strategy, Policy Development
Each of these topics touched on strategy and policy development, Vann said.
“Strategy is one of the most important things I learned here,” said Kylly Fernandes, a prosecutor with the Ministry of State for Reforms and Public Administration in Cabo Verde. “I had some information about strategy before I came here, but I have since learned it was not enough and not good enough. I am not an expert now, but I can tell you that I am more prepared to do a strategy, and I know exactly what a strategy is supposed to do.”
Lucky and Fernandes said they have ideas for strategies regarding transnational organized crime and how to implement a more of a whole-of-government approach in their countries. The judge and prosecutor said that they will share their ideas with their supervisors.
“Now we are challenged to do it,” said Fernandes, who has 17years’ experience as a prosecutor. “I will make a report, and one of my recommendations will be a strategy for terrorism and transnational crime. We need to work on that, and I will really try to convince them that we need this strategy for Cabo Verde and to add all the agencies to work on it and be a part of it.”
Creating Positive Changes
Lucky is not only a judge, but she is also a lecturer at the police academy in Trinidad and Tobago. She said the knowledge of strategy she learned in CTOC will help her when she is presiding over cases and when she is lecturing to law enforcement officers on topics from intelligent investigations to successful prosecutions.
“I will go back to Trinidad and Tobago very hopeful that I can create positive changes in the areas in which I operate,” Lucky said. “And in the areas that I don’t operate, I can motivate others with the knowledge I now have so they can use my knowledge in their particular fields of operation.”
She added, “We will work together to move Trinidad and Tobago forward.”