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Countering Transnational Organized Crime: How Special Forces Build National Police Capacity in Latin America

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Technical Report,01 Jul 2014,01 May 2015

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth

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Transnational organized crime is the principal security threat in Latin America. Beginning in the 1980s, US Special Forces partnered with national police units in Latin America. Initial efforts focused on countering drug trafficking. Today, efforts focus on Transnational Organized Crime. US strategy and policy documents identify this threat, and identify security assistance as one part of US strategy going forward. Yet, the literature record for US Special Forces training national police units to confront the threat is minimal. Thus this research focused on establishing a base for future research and identifying relationships useful to making future policy decisions. The primary research questions is Why are some US Special Forces partnerships with Latin American national police units effective at countering transnational organized crime This research encompasses three cases in which US Special Forces partnered with national police units to achieve this objective Bolivia, Colombia, and Honduras. The cases examine the strategic environment, the units, and the independent and dependent variables. The research determines that the duration of the partnership and the degree of partner nation support are the two most important factors in developing national police units capable of targeting transnational criminal organizations.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law

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