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Combating Transnational Threat Networks 2024

CTTN is a course for opinion leaders and mid- to senior-level officials in regional defense and security establishments in the Western Hemisphere who work on transnational threat issues that include corruption, transnational organized crime, international terrorism, external actors (including China and Russia), and cybersecurity. It builds on the knowledge, concepts, and practical tools imparted by Perry Center foundational courses and is designed to deepen participants' understanding of the defense and security threats posed by transnational threat networks.

The CTTN course supports the Perry Center's goals of improved sustainable institutional capacity to enhance national, regional, and international security and address the emerging threats from corruption, transnational criminal organizations, international terrorism, cybersecurity, emerging technologies, and strategic competition in the Americas. The course addresses regional security issues such as combating illicit trafficking and terrorism that promote the sharing of best practices and lessons learned in countering transnational threat networks.

CTTN examines how terrorist and criminal organizations thrive in an environment of corruption and impunity and pose defense and security threats to the Americas through their illicit activities. These activities include drug trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, illicit mining, counterfeiting, IUU fishing, terrorism, and cybercrime. Each of these modalities is analyzed through country case studies, including Central America, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Tri-border region of South America. The role of competitors like China and Russia is also explored. The course concludes with an evaluation of government strategies and policies and interagency cooperation that address the threat from illicit networks and US adversaries in the Americas at the national, regional, and international levels.



Application Period:
29 Sep 2023 -
17 Nov 2023
Online Phase:
20 Feb 2024 -
22 Feb 2024
In-Person Phase:
04 Mar 2024 -
15 Mar 2024


The course is designed to provide an educational opportunity for strategic thinking and analysis about the threats posed by transnational criminal organizations and illicit networks and the strategies, policies, and mechanisms that military, law enforcement, and civilian leaders can leverage to combat these emerging threats. Upon completion of the course, each participant should be able to:

  • Evaluate the phenomenon of transnational threat networks and the illicit activities in which transnational criminal organizations engage.
  • Assess the defense and security threats posed by these threat networks and US adversaries (China and Russia).
  • Analyze and evaluate current national, regional, and international strategies and policies to combat transnational threat networks.
  • Conceptualize new approaches to combating transnational threat networks in Latin America.


A three-day online phase will familiarize participants with CTTN topics.  During this phase, participants will review assigned readings and be evaluated for their participation by the professor and prepare policy paper proposals.

A two-week in-residence phase will engage participants in an intensive program of lectures, conferences, seminars, case studies, and readings. Civilian and military participants will become aware of and apply concepts critical to CTTN and other transnational threats like terrorism. Participants will understand and evaluate the decision-making process in designing strategies to combat transnational threat networks.

Course activities include:

  • Completion of readings assigned for the topic for in-class discussion prior to presentation of the master lecture on that topic.
  • Attendance of lectures and panels on the topic by a Perry Center professor or invited experts.
  • Review in the discussion groups of the implications on a national or regional scenario of the material presented in the master lecture.
  • Completion of a two-week paper-writing phase. The policy paper must address a specific challenge related to security and defense in the Americas.


Candidates must be professionally engaged in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies concerning drug trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, human smuggling, counterfeiting, IUU fishing, 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.

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.

Individuals are limited to receiving two (2) scholarships to attend in-residence courses per ten-year period, but are free to apply to additional in-residence courses in a fully self-funded status (the 18-month waiting period between attending in-residence courses still applies).

In accordance with Department of Defense policy, citizens of “high income” countries (as established by the World Bank) are not eligible for scholarships. As of 01 July 2023, this restriction applies to the following Western Hemisphere nations and territories:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Curaçao
  • Guyana
  • Panama
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Martin
  • Sint Maarten
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Uruguay

Citizens of these countries may still apply to courses, but in a fully self-funded status. Self-funded candidates must meet all eligibility standards and comply with all application requirements, including application deadlines, as well as being able to cover the expenses of their own travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals. US citizens cannot (by law) receive scholarships, but may also apply to attend in a self-funded status. US citizens and other self-funded candidates should contact the Registrar’s Office for additional guidance.

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