International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA)
The need for an International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Southeast Asia became apparent after the initial success of the ILEA in Budapest. The United States Embassy in Bangkok recommended to the ILEA Policy Board in 1996 the establishment of a regional ILEA in Bangkok, Thailand. The proposed ILEA would focus on enhancing the effectiveness of regional cooperation against the principal transnational criminal trends in Southeast Asia - illicit drug trafficking, financial crimes, and alien smuggling. The ILEA would provide a core curriculum of management and technical instruction for criminal justice managers to develop effective law enforcement cooperation within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) while enhancing each country's criminal justice institutions abilities to suppress transnational crime.
The Royal Thai Government agreed to co-sponsor and host an ILEA in Thailand. Training Needs Assessments were conducted in 1998 by competent U.S., Thai and other officials from ASEAN member countries. The Needs Assessment process verified that the primary mission objective of an ILEA in Bangkok should be drug trafficking and related transnational crimes.
ILEA Bangkok became a reality in September 1998 with the signing of a Bilateral Agreement between the governments of the United States of America and Thailand. The Agreement established the ILEA and defined the objectives and management of the institution, as well as the roles and responsibilities of both countries in management and funding. The Agreement also created a Joint United States - Thai Oversight Committee to oversee the policies and operation of the Academy. The Joint Committee meets at least once a year and operates by consensus of the parties.
The Academy is operated by a combination of managers and support staff from the United States and Thailand. The Government of Thailand provides an Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, as well as the Chiefs of each of the four ILEA sub-sections. A Program Director and two Deputy Program Directors are provided by the United States. Non-resident trainers from the United States, Thailand, Japan, Holland, Australia and Hong Kong provide instruction. The host government, the U.S. Embassy and U.S. law enforcement agencies provide other significant human, logistic and material support.
The ILEA Policy Board has designated the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as the Lead Agency, to provide infrastructure and program support for this Academy and the Board provides overall policy guidance for the operation of the academy. The Department of State funds most of the training at the ILEA through the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL). Some specialized courses are funded by other USG agencies and/or foreign governments.
Courses are selected on the basis of needs assessments conducted by the USG to evaluate both the needs of the target nations and those of the USG. The ILEA program also relies for suggestions about useful training on input from the participating countries. The selection of courses is approved by the ILEA Steering Group. Currently, ILEA Bangkok conducts a six-week management course and approximately twenty specialized courses – lasting one to two weeks – in a variety of criminal justice topics. Participants are nominated by all eligible ASEAN countries (Burma has been excluded due to Congressional concerns over human rights issues), People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macau.
Initial offers of training to participating nations are made through the U.S. Embassies in the countries concerned. Participants nominated by these countries are vetted to ensure that attendees meet US requirements that exclude intelligence officers and known violators of human rights. The ILEA maintains an ever expanding list of alumni and engages in several activities to ensure that alumni obtain the maximum benefit from their training.
The ILEA is situated on the ground of the Royal Thai Police Sports Facility about 15 miles (24 KM) north of Bangkok. The academy operates in a three story office/classroom building with both stadium type classrooms and smaller classrooms used for break out sessions. This building was completed in 2004. Maximum classroom capacity is 60 participants. Interpretation facilities are available for up to five languages at the same time. In addition to the administrative offices there is space dedicated to visiting instructors. To address the spiritual needs of a large number of students, a meditation area has been set aside for their private use.
The Government of Thailand has approved and funded the construction of dormitories on this site and completion of this facility is projected for 2008.
Overview of Programs
The ILEA CORE Program is the Supervisory Criminal Investigator Course (SCIC). This course was first taught on June 7, 1999. The SCIC is a management course for supervisors at the lieutenant and captain level that provides thirty days of classroom instruction. In addition, specialized courses on counter-narcotics, computer crimes, facility security, intellectual property rights and other pertinent topics complement the training protocol. A list of these courses is provided in the Appendix.