I work in Stuttgart, Germany not far north from the source of Europe's second longest (about 1800 miles long) and one of its most important commercial rivers, the Danube. I have often had business meetings on behalf of US European Command (EUCOM) along this river as it flows south and east from the vicinity of Stuttgart past cities such as Ulm, Vienna, Belgrade, before emptying into the Black Sea near Constanta, Romania. I'd like to tell you of one occasion when I visited the Danube city of Budapest to better appreciate a law enforcement academy that is based there.
I visited the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), located on the Buda side of the Danube. I did so to better comprehend the current curriculum at ILEA and to discuss possible future collaborative training engagements. This was part of our ongoing J9 outreach efforts to meet with and understand the actions of other federal agencies, Departments, and organizations also operating in Europe and Eurasia.
Recently our Public-Private Cooperation coordinator and the J9-hosted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Treasury representatives conducted a follow-up visit to ILEA. The ILEA Director, Penny Hoback (FBI Supervisory Special Agent) hosted. ILEA is an example of law enforcement interagency cooperation in action. ILEA Budapest (there are other ILEAs in Asia, South America and Africa) is staffed with two American accredited diplomats. The deputy director is a Diplomatic Security Service (US Dept of State) special agent and Dept of State funds most of the training there. The remainder of the staff consists of Hungarian ministry employees and sworn police officers. They leverage a lot of visiting instructors from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Secret Service, as well as Interpol and UK, German and Swedish law enforcement officials.
Ms Holback and our visiting EUCOM-hosted interagency partners were enthusiastic about the potential for greater law enforcement collaboration. This is encouraging because this is a classic "building partner capacity" institution. ILEA, EUCOM, and our hosted law enforcement interagency partners all focus on enhancing the partner capacities and capabilities of eastern European and Eurasian states.
The ILEA was founded in 1995 when the US and Hungarian governments cooperated to create a center to do law enforcement training. The Academy offers training classes for up to 130 law enforcement officers at a time and its courses touch on a number of topics also of interest to EUCOM; combating transnational terrorism, money laundering, and trafficking. Since its inception it has trained more than 12,000 law enforcement officials, among them Russian FSB agents, customs and border guards.
Just as the Danube flows thru 19 European countries, making it Europe's most "international river" and compelling upstream and downstream nations to cooperate, so too does today's threat and resource-constrained environment require greater interagency cooperation among defense, diplomatic and law enforcement agencies, like between "upstream" EUCOM and "downstream" ILEA.
I would be interested in hearing your examples of ongoing military-law enforcement collaboration here in Europe and your opinions of the value of doing such.