Newsletter: The INL Beat, April 2009
In This Issue:
Drug addiction has become a serious social and medical problem in Afghanistan. Indicators suggest that drug addiction continues to increase and Afghans are more vulnerable to becoming drug addicts due to 25 years of war, conflict, and social disruption and the resultant chronic mental health problems that have engulfed the nation. In addition, HIV/AIDS is a serious and growing problem in Afghanistan, especially in those regions where intravenous drug use (IDU) is the primary method of drug use. Compounding Afghanistan’s addiction problem is the lack of treatment centers to provide counseling and rehabilitation services, especially for women and other vulnerable populations such as adolescents, including opium addiction problems among children as young as 2 to 4 years old. Herat Province alone estimates 5,000 drug addicts aged 6 to 16 years.
Sanga Amaj staff, Colombo Plan resource team, and INL staff pose in front of the Sanga Amaj women’s drug treatment center in Kabul, Jan. 24, 2009. [INL photo]
In early November, INL opened its second women and children’s facility in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh Province. This facility currently provides services for 15 women and 12 children. A third facility for women and children will be opened shortly in Herat Province.
International Police Advisor Awarded Defense of Freedom Medal
INL Assistant Secretary David T. Johnson with Ron Little, right, accompanied by his wife Brenda Little, center, Feb. 10, 2009. [INL Photo]
On February 10, 2009, the Department of Defense “Defense of Freedom” medal was awarded for the first time to an International Police Advisor severely wounded three years earlier in Iraq. William “Ron” Little, still recovering from his injuries, accepted the medal at a ceremony attended by INL’s Assistant Secretary David T. Johnson and representatives of INL’s CIVPOL and Iraq Programs. In offering thanks for the Defense of Freedom medal, Little said he was truly honored, and accepts the recognition not only for his own service, but also in the name of the many international police advisors who have made even greater sacrifices, including their lives, to extend freedom, peace and security.
The Defense of Freedom medal was created after September 11, 2001, and is the civilian equivalent of the military’s Purple Heart. This presentation of the award marks the first time an international civilian police advisor has received the Defense of Freedom medal for actions and injuries sustained while on a CIVPOL mission and was presented by Major General Robert B. Rosenkranz, USA (Ret) on behalf of Secretary of the Army Peter Geren.
Ambassador David T. Johnson provided a keynote address for the awards ceremony and spoke of the courage and sacrifice made by many CIVPOL Police Officers who are assisting post-conflict societies to develop and operate effective and democratically-oriented criminal justice and police systems.
Ron Little, a native of Jacksonville, FL, was an international civilian police advisor in Kosovo and Iraq. In Iraq he was part of a Police Training Team mentoring Iraqi police officers in professional police techniques, part of the Coalition effort to support the establishment of a democratically-oriented police force in Iraq. He was injured by an explosive-formed projectile (EFP) which hit his vehicle in an insurgent attack on December 20, 2006. Two U.S. Army members of the Police Training Team were also injured in the attack.
Government of Jordan Praises INL’s Palestinian Training Program
INL Deputy Senior Advisor David S. Butzer, front row, third from right in hat, with the Mobile Training Team at the Jordan International Police Training Center. INL contracts with DynCorp International to oversee training at JIPTC, Feb. 17, 2009. [INL Photo]
The PSD supplies the trainers at JIPTC, but a cadre of seasoned and internationally-respected INL contractors with extensive civilian and military law enforcement experience are constantly on-site to develop the curriculum and provide guidance, advice, and mentoring to the PSD. With each passing class – this was the second; the third is now underway – the relationship among INL, its contractors, the Jordanian JIPTC team, and the Palestinian Authority is growing stronger.
The Palestinians themselves have praised this training, and they have put it to good use. These INL-trained officers and men have already made their mark in the West Bank and earned the praise of their citizens, the Government of Israel, and foreign statesmen alike for helping sweep criminal elements of the streets of several West Bank cities and keeping recent demonstrations peaceful.
International Police Advisors in Iraq
Iraq Police Service policemen being mentored on a community policing patrol by a Provincial Transition Team comprised of U.S. Air Force Security Police and International Police Advisors, Jan. 30, 2009. [Photo by Anthony Lachica]
To make the streets of Baghdad a safer place to be INL’s International Police Advisors (IPAs) are mentoring Iraqi Police as they patrol. Whether it is monitoring the Iraqi police while they check on suspected IEDs or search for weapons, the advisors of a Forward Operating Base in Baghdad continue to work with their Iraqi police counterparts to make the lives more secure for people living there.
These advisors work closely with their U.S. Air Force Security Police partners on a Police Transition Team. Together, they assist the Iraqi Police in learning practical policing methods from U.S. law enforcement officers working in the INL Iraq Civilian Police Mission. These experienced police officers have become a valuable resource in the transformation of the Iraq Police Service into a modern, effective police force.
International Police Advisor Anthony Lachica, Spartanburg, NC, flashing a peace sign while on patrol, Jan. 30, 2009. [Photo by Anthony Lachica]
It is a way to win hearts one at a time.
INL Establishes Counternarcotics Aviation Capabilities in Guatemala
Guatemalan drug police officers exit an INL Huey-II helicopter while practicing aircraft takedown operations, Mar. 5, 2009. [Photo by Douglas Neese]
This aviation support element, operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Government and referred to as the NAS Aviation Support Project (ASP), is staffed by Guatemalan Air Force aviators and technical personnel and supported by INL Air Wing technical advisors. The mission of the ASP is to provide dedicated air support for law enforcement operations, including “take-downs” on suspected trafficker aircraft, raids on transshipment points or clandestine runways, serving warrants, supporting ground interdiction operations, and providing support to ground eradication operations.
The INL Air Wing’s technical advisors assigned to Guatemala provide support in logistics, maintenance, quality control, and pilot and mechanic training. One of the biggest challenges for any aviation nationalization program is maintenance training because of the years it takes to train, certify, and mature a qualified mechanic. Maintenance training commenced in April, 2008 and has moved forward steadily. The first four of thirteen mechanics are expected to be certified within the next few months. Flight training, in progress since June 2008, has resulted in four of the six aviators assigned to the ASP becoming fully mission-qualified night vision goggle pilots, with the other two just weeks away from being fully qualified. This training has been completed while also flying operational counternarcotics missions. More pilot training lies ahead as INL conducts Pilot-in-Command training and qualifies additional pilots coming into the program.
The Aviation Support Project has to date reinforced many counternarcotics missions including: training of ground forces; roadblock operations; humanitarian support; aerial reconnaissance for illicit crops and suspected targets for future ground operations; and high-profile prisoner and evidence transfers. The ASP recently completed its first two-week deployment to the Peten in support of JIATF-South’s Operation Central Skies II. During this operation, the ASP is on standby to fly a team that provides the end game for intercepted drug planes after they land. INL looks forward to reaping many benefits from these air assets in successful drug interdiction operations as this program matures.
INL Assistance to Indonesian Special Boat Units Proving Worth the Investment
In late 2007 and early 2008, INL supplied fifteen boats to the Indonesian National Police (INP) Marine Police Special Boat Unit (SBUs) and provided specialized training in boarding techniques, search and seizure, navigation, boat maintenance, and train-the-trainer skills. Upon delivery and completion of training, the boats were immediately deployed to five critical areas of Indonesia that had heretofore suffered from virtually unimpeded smuggling and other transnational criminal activities. Within the first year of operations, the SBUs have seized over $10 million in smuggled cargo, illegal laborers, fuel and illegal logging and fishing caches, and have also thwarted a piracy attempt. Although sometimes hampered by fuel costs and availability, vast open seaways and the huge number of smuggling routes, the SBUs continue to succeed beyond expectations and all fifteen boats remain fully operational and well-maintained.
As a result of the SBUs’ successes, the Indonesian National Police has seen greater cooperation within the Indonesian government, and with their international partners. Recently, after identifying new smuggling routes into Batam province, the Batam SBU intercepted and seized a quarter million dollars worth of smuggled electronics from Malaysia. Two Batam SBU officers have been deployed to nearby islands to participate in a multi-agency anti-smuggling task force as a result of the seizure. In addition, INP SBUs are experiencing unprecedented regional cooperation, with the Singapore Coast Guard now engaging the Batam Marine Police to discuss joint operations.
The Indonesian Maritime Police Special Boat Unit in Batam, Indonesia, Mar. 7, 2009.