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Combating Transnational Threat Networks 2023
CTTN 2023

Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) pose security and defense threats to all democratic countries in the Western Hemisphere. As such, the CTTN course seeks to identify and analyze strategies and policies that help:

  • analyze the phenomenon of transnational organized crime and the illicit activities transnational criminal organizations engage in,
  • assess the defense and security threats posed by TCOs and illicit networks,
  • evaluate current national, regional, and international strategies and policies to combat transnational criminal organizations and illicit networks and ways to improve them via effective governance,
  • conceptualize new approaches to combating transnational criminal organizations and illicit networks in Latin America.

This course is tailored in response to the defense policy goals of the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs and the objectives of the Combatant Commands, particularly those related to DoD efforts to combat transnational threats, including transnational organized crime, which pose complex challenges to the stability of the Americas.



Application Period:
15 Nov 2022 -
15 Jan 2023
Online Phase:
20 Mar 2023 -
31 Mar 2023
In-Person Phase:
17 Apr 2023 -
28 Apr 2023


The principal objective of the CTTN course is to deepen the participants’ understanding and analysis of TCOs and the defense and security threats they pose to the Americas through their illicit activities. These activities include drug trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, human smuggling, counterfeiting, and cyber crimes.

Each of these modalities is analyzed through specific country case studies, including Colombia, Mexico, and the Tri-border region of South America. The course concludes with an evaluation of government strategies and policies and interagency cooperation that address the threat of TCOs and illicit networks in the Americas at the national, regional, and international levels.


This is a four-week course, with a two-week online phase and two-week in-person phase. Participants use National Defense University's (NDU) distance learning system Blackboard, to download reading material, submit assignments and participate in video conferences. The in-person phase is conducted using a combination of individual study, discussions of the readings, small-group discussions and panels, case studies and exercises.


Candidates must be professionally engaged in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies concerning drug trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, human smuggling, counterfeiting, and/or cyber crimes, coming from the following institutions/activities:

  • Career officials from the ministries/secretaries of Security and Defense.
  • Officials from other ministries/secretaries/institutions of government that interact with the Ministry of Defense on defense issues, including from the legislative and judicial branches, foreign relations, the components for budgetary planning, and control and oversight institutions.
  • NGO and think-tank staffs involved in security/defense matters, members of the business community, educators, academic researchers, journalists and members of political parties and any other research institution concerning defense or security issues.
  • Police and active-duty military officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and higher, and senior non-commissioned officers.

In accordance with Department of Defense policy, citizens of countries with designated income levels established by the World Bank are not eligible for scholarships. At this time, this restriction applies to the following Western Hemisphere nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. Citizens of these countries may still apply to courses, but in a self-funded status.

The CTTN Course replaced our CTOC (Combating Transnational Organized Crime) course. Graduates of previous CTOC courses offered by the Perry Center or the George C. Marshall Center are not eligible to apply.

Candidates must possess a university degree or, in cases where a candidate does not hold a degree, equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The CTTN course is conducted in Spanish. There is simultaneous interpretation from English during some plenary sessions. Minimum professional reading skills in English are desired for candidates to read theoretical and conceptual materials. English speaking skills are not required.


Celina Realuyo
Celina Realuyo
Course Director
BG (ret.) Boris Saavedra, PhD
Boris Saavedra
Course Deputy Director