The 1990's saw a tremendous change in the nature of international relations and international threats and crime in particular. The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union opened a large portion of Central and Eastern Europe, formerly under the control of the U.S.S.R., to cooperation with nations of the West. This included the United States, which sought to improve international relations with these former Soviet Bloc nations. In mid-1994, the FBI director and a number of top law enforcement officials traveled to Central and Eastern Europe to "meet law enforcement colleagues in the region and discuss methods to attack transnational criminal activity." (Kaciban, 2001) The following year then President Bill Clinton, while addressing the United Nations on its fiftieth anniversary proposed a number of new international initiatives; including the establishment of an international law enforcement academy in the former Soviet Bloc nation of Hungary. The founding of this academy was quickly followed by four other academies in other parts of the world including Thailand, Botswana, El Salvador, and New Mexico, USA. Together, these academies concentrate on teaching courses on regional and global criminal activity, terrorism, drug trafficking, and other issues. While these ILEA's are staffed and instructed by law enforcement professionals from around the globe, it is the United States which was, and continues to be the driving force behind the academies. Besides originating the idea, the United States provides the majority of funding and top administrators for the project.
It was on October the 22, 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, when then President Bill Clinton addressed the organization stating that "Americans should not forget that our values and our interests are also served by working with the U.N." ("Remarks by the President") This statement was in response to a question that some Americans had asked about why the United States needed to be involved in an international organization when the U.S. was powerful enough to go it alone. President Clinton reminded the American people, as well as the rest of the world, that while in 1995 the Cold War had come to an end, and the United States and the former Soviet States, mostly Russia, had come to an understanding to go forward without the antagonism that had plagued the world for the previous fifty years, there were still significant dangers and threats to be faced. In the mid-1990's, there was the danger of ethnic and religious strife, various rogue states that were taking advantage of the end of the Cold War, international organized crime, a major problem with international drug trafficking, the constant threat of terrorism, and finally the threat weapons of mass destruction being proliferated around the globe.
1990's was also a time that saw a tremendous increase in internet connectivity throughout the world and with the emergence of the information age the world was brought much closer than ever before. President Clinton made certain to emphasize to the U.N. that cooperation between nations was essential to solve the problems currently faced throughout the world. For instance, drugs which plagued the United States were produced in other countries outside the jurisdiction of American justice. Because of the international nature of the dangers faced, President Clinton asserted that international cooperation would be essential if the world was to face these threats. He told the U.N., "Nowhere is cooperation more vital than in fighting the increasingly interconnected groups that traffic in terror, organized crime, drug smuggling, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction." ("Remarks by the President")
President Clinton believed that international cooperation could best be gained through an international organization that was already established, like the United Nations. That was why in October of 1995, he announced "new initiatives to fight international organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction…" ("Remarks by the President") There were a number of initiatives introduced by former President Clinton that day, including such things as an attempt to bring all nations' banking systems into conformity with international standards, an antinarcotics offensive, a counterterrorism pact, and the freezing of criminal assets. ("PDD42") But for the purpose of argument, his proposal to form an international police partnership, which included the establishment of an international law enforcement academy in Budapest Hungary, could be the most important initiative that former President Bill Clinton began that day.
Beginning in 1995, the first of the current five International Law Enforcement Academies was established to "support law enforcement training in Central Europe." (ILEA-Budapest) It was funded with $2.5 million furnished by the United States "with an additional $500,000 (U.S. dollars) furnished by the government of Hungary…." (Kaciban, 2001) According to its webpage, the academy offers eight-week programs for up to 130 "delegates," but also offers one and two-week seminars as well. The eight-week programs are scheduled five times a year, specialized in training mid-level police officers from former communist countries, and is called the "Law Enforcement Executive Program." This facility also hosts up to 15 one and two-week seminars, which are specialized courses with specialized topics which includes international terrorism, crime scene investigation, and human trafficking. The top management positions are usually staffed by Americans, for instance, in ILEA-Budapest there are two American accredited diplomats: the director and deputy director. Currently the director is an FBI supervisory special agent and his deputy is a Diplomatic Security Service (D.S.S.) supervisory special agent. The DSS is responsible for security for the United States Department of State. While the director and his deputy are permanent positions, the faculty, those who actually teach the courses, are temporary instructors recruited mostly from law enforcement in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Italy, as well as from Interpol and Europol.
With the success of ILEA-Budapest, the idea of international law enforcement academies became very popular among various law enforcement agencies in a number of countries. Among these nations was Thailand which, in 1996, began to enquire about establishing an international law enforcement academy there. By 1998, the Royal Thai and the United States signed a cooperative agreement which stated that an ILEA would be established in Bangkok under the direction of a "Joint United States-Thai Oversight Committee" ("ILEA-Bangkok") During a needs assessment, conducted in 1998, it was decided that the main focus of the ILEA-Bangkok would be "drug trafficking and related transnational crimes." ("ILEA-Bangkok") As a result, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency plays a prominent role in the operation of ILEA-Bangkok. The first course was offered in 1999 to students from around the region including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong. Permanent staffing at the facility includes the executive director, a Royal Thai Police member, while directly beneath him the deputy director and the chiefs of all three ILEA sections are all Americans.
The third International Law Enforcement Academy sponsored by the United States was agreed to be opened in Gaborone Botswana. After some discussions, the United States and Botswana develop a specific curriculum to be taught at the ILEA-Gaborone. It was decided that because of the specific needs of the African continent, a bimodal approach would be used in the curriculum. Firstly would be "a core curriculum that would provide broad-based training focused on regional transnational crime issues, and…[secondly] a curriculum focused on specialized programs where a specific crime condition requires special enforcement expertise." ("ILEA-Gaborone") Like the other ILEA's, Gaborone is funded and staffed by a number of Americans who make up the program director, deputy director; but the managing director and deputy are both from Botswana. Since its opening in 2003, ILEA-Gaborone has taught a number of law enforcement officials from all over Africa in a wide range of law enforcement skills including: counter-terrorism, basic case management, fighting organized crime, police strategy, evidence handling, customs interdiction, document fraud, and public corruption among many others.
The mission of the fourth ILEA, opened in 2005 in San Salvador, is to provide Latin American law enforcement with the "necessary modern tools and techniques to combat transnational crime…creating interagency and international networks, contributing to democracy, social and economic development of nations." ("ILEA-San Salvador") ILEA- San Salvador is a joint entity of El Salvador and the United States as agreed upon in a bilateral agreement the two nations signed. The courses offered are similar to others offered in ILEA's around the world and include basic law enforcement techniques as well as specialized courses in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and other criminal activity endemic to the region.
The four ILEA's located throughout the globe can be thought of as universities for law enforcement, but there must be a place for the law enforcement equivalent of graduate work. This can be found at the ILEA-Roswell, located in New Mexico, USA. While most of the regional ILEA's offer specialized courses in regional issues, the ILEA-Roswell offers specialized courses to a "global, not just regional student body." ("ILEA-Roswell") This allows for a more global approach to law enforcement to…