The mission of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) is to work with foreign governments to develop professional and transparent law enforcement institutions that protect human rights, combat corruption, and reduce the threat of transnational crime and terrorism. Situated in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, and funded primarily by the State Department, ICITAP provides international development assistance that supports both national security and foreign policy objectives.
ICITAP programs are designed in partnership with the host countries, and program implementation methods include on-the-ground, pre-program assessments; program planning, management, and review; curriculum development; classroom training, seminars, and workshops; internships; equipment donations; donor coordination; and on-the-job training and mentoring provided by embedded long-term advisors.
The U.S. Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) Philippines field office, established in 2006, works in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP) on a variety of police training and development projects to build the PNP’s law enforcement capacity. The ICITAP office is led by a Senior Law Enforcement Advisor/Program Manager, and staffed by an Assistant Program Manager, a Maritime Advisor, locally-employed Program Analyst, two locally-employed support staff (all at the Embassy Seafront Compound), an Operations Officer located at PNP Headquarters, Camp Crame, and several Technical Advisors and locally-employed staff serving around the country. ICITAP currently focuses resources in five key areas:
1. Maritime Border Security Initiative/PNP Maritime Special Operations Unit
In 2006, ICITAP launched the Maritime Police Project (MPP) in a strategic collaboration with the PNP Maritime Group to create the Special Boat Unit (SBU), providing the Philippines’ first viable law enforcement capability in the maritime domain. The first US-funded SBU station was constructed in Honda Bay, Palawan, and additional stations have been established, allowing the unit to project along the Malaysian sea border into the Sulu Archipelago, as well as into the South China Sea. ICITAP, along with DOD partners, has provided extensive training, technical guidance, infrastructure development, and donations of equipment & spare parts. Four patrol boats were put into service in 2010, with two additional boats donated in 2012. ICITAP has also sponsored joint exercises and meetings between Philippine, Indonesian, and Malaysian maritime officials to enhance regional cooperation. In early 2015, the ICITAP MPP was expanded to include training and support for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), leading to a new project name, Maritime Border Security Initiative (MBSI). Simultaneously, PNP expanded and re-designated the SBU as the Maritime Special Operations Unit (MSOU), with MSOU1 headquartered in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, and MSOU2 headquartered in Honda Bay. ICITAP will continue to partner with PNP-Maritime Group and PCG for improved security along the Philippines’ southern sea border.
2. Mindanao Law Enforcement Development (MLED) Project
The primary goals of the MLED project are:
- To strengthen the institutional capacity and performance of the PNP in conflicted areas of Mindanao;
- To organize, train, develop, and equip the PNP to combat transnational organized crime and terrorism;
- To build and sustain the willingness and capability to deliver fair, effective policing services;
- To enhance police-public stakeholder relationships through implementation of community policing projects.
MLED activities are in previously-conflicted areas in Mindanao, and were initially carried out in concert with U.S. DOD engagement initiatives (Operation Enduring Freedom), in support of the transition of security responsibilities in Mindanao from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to PNP. Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines was deactivated in early 2015, but ICITAP’s support to PNP continues in the region. The intention of MLED is to provide foundational police training to virtually every police officer serving in the critical areas of concern, which include Zamboanga City, Sulu Province, Cotabato City, and Isabela City. Another component of MLED was the establishment of a modern crime laboratory in Zamboanga to handle the forensic examination of evidence in many areas of concern to MLED. The project involved construction of: construction of a new laboratory facility in 2010; extensive procurement of modern equipment, instrumentation, and supplies; highly specialized training for laboratory personnel; and expert technical mentorship. The crime laboratory has become the most advanced forensic laboratory in the Philippines. An additional objective of this project is to support the PNP to work with and complement PNP counter-terrorism tactical units, especially in the southern Philippines’ most conflict-affected areas, focusing on increasing their investigative capacities.
3. Police Leadership Project
The objective of this project component is to develop leadership and management skills for young police commissioned officers-in-training through mentoring, collaboration, and training, as well as doctrine development with current PNP leadership, PNP Training Service, and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).
4. PNP Law Enforcement Center for Excellence
ICITAP, working with the PNP Directorate for Human Resources and Doctrine Development, will establish a PNP Law Enforcement Center for Excellence in coordination with the Philippine Public Safety College, and PNP Academy. Training curricula will be developed and presented to commissioned officers at three critical points in their careers: junior officers promoting to mid-level (captain to major), mid-level officers promoting to senior level (lieutenant colonel to colonel), and newly-appointed executive level officers (generals).
5. Law Enforcement Curriculum and Instructor Development Project
ICITAP supports the PNP Training Service and the Philippine Public Safety College through the development, delivery, and institutionalization of modern and effective curriculum and training throughout the nation.
Model Police Station Program (completed)
ICITAP’s Model Police Station (MPS) program was established in 2007. For PNP, MPS provided professional development, advancement of an internally sustainable training capacity, and the provision of technical expertise and equipment. ICITAP, various Directorates within PNP Headquarters, and many local police directors/chiefs, worked diligently to create the MPS. The project was implemented in multiple phases, and provided training and mentorship on 22 core police competencies at 28 locations throughout the country. Upon conclusion of the MPS project in March 2013, ICITAP training had reached nearly 18,000 PNP officers and 105 PNP civilian staff (of whom 115 became PNP/ICITAP adjunct instructors), with 550 courses delivered involving 508,848 training hours, and US$178,468 in equipment donated.
These ICITAP projects address training and developmental needs collaboratively identified by the PNP, ICITAP, and other U.S. Government entities, in police competencies that include criminal investigations, maritime law enforcement, community policing, law enforcement leadership, trafficking in persons, counter-terrorism, crimes against women & children, and many others.
For more information, visit the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) website .