Combating Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Networks in the Americas (CTOC)

CTOC Course Logo

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.

COURSE GOALS

Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) pose security and defense threats to all democratic countries in the Western Hemisphere. As such, the CTOC 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.

COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES

The principal objective of the CTOC 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.

COURSE STRUCTURE

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

Administrative Details

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 above.

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