The Perry Center hosted a regional seminar on Combating Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) in the Americas on August 10-14, 2015 in Washington, DC. The seminar convened 57 CTOC practitioners, including 44 foreigners (from Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama) and 13 US officials from the interagency, USSOCOM, and US Army South. Participants included mid-to senior-level government, military, intelligence, and police officials, academics, and a journalist. The seminar could be considered a community of practice event.
The seminar analyzed the national security threats to the Western Hemisphere posed by transnational organized crime through drug, arms, human, and contraband trafficking, money laundering, cybercrime, and corruption, drawing on various country perspectives and participants’ expertise. The seminar discussed the broad spectrum of government and civic sector responses, including interagency and regional cooperation, to the different facets of combating transnational organized crime. The nine country teams briefed the group on their respective national CTOC strategies and programs and recommended future courses of action at the national, regional, and international levels.
Keynote speakers included DOD DASD for Counternarcotics and Global Threats Caryn Hollis, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats/Narcotics Mark Hanna, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Paco Palmieri, ONDCP Acting Deputy Director for Supply Reduction Jim Olson, Wilson Center Associate Director for Latin American Programs Eric Olson, CSIS Senior Associate Doug Farah, NDU/CCO Director of Research Michael Miklaucic, and State/INL Director of Western Hemisphere Programs Richard Glenn.
This seminar introduced a new format that required significantly more active participation by its attendees. Each country represented prepared and delivered a country presentation on their views and responses to CTOC. Country presentations were among the most professional and informative that we have seen in CTOC courses. Representatives from each of the countries present served as subject matter expertise (SME) panelists to discuss the different manifestations of transnational organized crime. Our panelists included two former Vice Ministers of Public Security from Costa Rica and Panama, and a Colombian Police General. The Perry Center selected panelists for specific topics among its alumni and drew on their professional experience to contribute to the various panel topics like citizen security, border security, corruption, cybersecurity, money laundering, and international cooperation.
Foreign participants welcomed the opportunity to share their country’s perspectives and professional expertise, meet their American colleagues, and reconnect with the Perry Center. USG participants considered the seminar a great opportunity to hear the views of their Central American, Colombian, Dominican, and Mexican counterparts on CTOC and to build a network of in-country contacts for their engagements downrange.