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Oman Royal Air Force Wing Cmdr. Abdulla Yaqoob Hamed Al-Harthi, Alain Christian Ramtanon, inspector with the Mauritius Ministry of Home Affairs anti-drug and smuggling unit, and Saudi Arabia National Guard Lt. Col. Khalid Abdulaziz I Alayady are among the 69 participants from 34 countries attending the first-ever Program on Countering Narcotics and Illicit Trafficking March 31 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. (DOD Photo by Karlheinz Wedhorn/RELEASED).

By Christine June
GCMC Public Affairs

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 31, 2014) – A new course that delves into combating a growing problem threatening the security of countries and regions throughout the world debuts March 31 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here.

The Program on Countering Narcotics and Illicit Trafficking debuts a two-week resident program that focuses on 21st century national security threats as a result of criminal activities, said the program’s co-directors, professors Steven Monaco and Joseph Vann.

Monaco has 21 years of experience as a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and regional law enforcement adviser for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Vann has 27 years of experience a special agent of the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“There is a growing recognition that transnational organized crime is growing in size and influence in a world increasingly marked with globalization and diminishing importance of borders,” Monaco said. “Transnational organized crime surges into gaps of opportunities and is, frankly, threatening governments.”

During the next two weeks, 69 government law enforcement and intelligence pros from 34 countries will learn about the activities of drug cartels, terrorists and transnational criminal organizations, and the necessary strategic-level approaches to combating these threats.

“Our program design and approach here is to focus on whole-of-governments’ solutions,” Vann said. “It’s a new approach to looking at how militaries and civil societies – whole of government – efforts and apparatuses can be brought together to meet this serious challenge in today’s world.”

Vann said this resident course has been in the making for more than two years, and is a “groundbreaking” event for the Marshall Center in that it’s heavily law-enforcement focused.

“We are using the same template of success that has worked at the Marshall Center and applying it to the themes of transnational organized crime,” Monaco said.

This template of success includes guest lecturers from national and international law enforcement and security organizations, course seminar activities discussing the range of government countermeasures to combat criminal activity, and strategy development exercises that focus on best practices and international approaches to combating these growing threats against national security.

“The key thing we want to instill in all participants is the importance of collaborations – the better we are able to collaborate as a community, the more effective we will be globally,” Vann said. “We see transnational organized crime elements collaborate to conduct illicit activities, and it’s time for the others on the good side to collaborate.”