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Women in Law Enforcement Make Up Growing Share of Counterterrorism Assistance Program – U.S. Department of State

The Department of State’s Counterterrorism Assistance Program (ATA), implemented by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and funded by the Office of Counterterrorism, is committed to helping advance equality of gender in the ranks of law enforcement agencies in the host countries served by the program. ATA strives to provide women in partner countries not only with the skills to help them achieve their country’s law enforcement goals, but also with training opportunities and resources to help them succeed in their careers . As a result, a growing number of women are taking on increasingly senior roles in law enforcement, security, and counterterrorism, both abroad and in the United States.

Despite challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, ATA trained more than 18,000 foreign law enforcement partners in more than 40 countries between 2019 and early 2022, including more than 1,100 women.

“Women are deeply connected to and trusted by the communities in which they serve,” said Supervisory Special Agent Julie Cabus, deputy assistant secretary and deputy director of the DSS Training Directorate. “Connection and trust are two foundations of effective law enforcement and security operations. »

In several ATA programs, women have been at the center of DSS’s diverse successes. In 2019, two Central African Republic gendarmerie officers became the first women to serve on an ATA-trained and equipped Special Program for Embassy Enhancement and Response (SPEAR) team that directly supports the U.S. Embassy in Bangui. Embassy officials report that these women serve as role models nationwide for other women working in law enforcement.

In Jordan, the National Center for Security and Crisis Management, sponsored by ATA (Jordan’s national emergency call center), enabled male and female police officers to work side by side, with female occupying essential roles in the operation of the center. ATA also works with women in other law enforcement units across Jordan.

In Kenya, ATA extends support to the all-female national SWAT unit, organized in 2019, whose commander hails years of ATA courses to help develop the leadership skills needed to build a successful unit from zero.

The ATA’s success in supporting women in law enforcement overseas also extends to the United States, where women hold key ATA leadership positions within the DSS.

“When I started, I was the only woman in my unit,” said Donna Porter, monitoring, evaluation support and sustainment coordinator at ATA headquarters in the Washington metro area. , D.C. “Then we hired a fantastic management analyst, and our current boss is the first woman to be head of an evaluation and monitoring unit. There are now women working in every unit at ATA headquarters.

Dr. Crystal Navies, head of the ATA’s instructional systems branch and a retired military police officer, said she often faces bias, but “knowledge and confidence are key.” Kimberly Brown, ATA Kenya Program Manager and retired DSS Supervisory Special Agent, noted that as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, “you have to prove your capabilities, but once you demonstrate that you are competent, you earn the respect of your colleagues. .”

Both Marines and Brown said there has been a steady increase in the number of women in the ATA program. In 2018, women made up less than 5 percent of ATA participants, but in 2021, they made up 7.4 percent.

“The value that women bring to law enforcement globally cannot be overstated,” said DAS Cabus. “ATA continues to promote diversity and human rights within its programs and with partner countries. »

July 2022, eight Kenyan women members of the CRT better quality photo
Kenyan CRT officers and officers train together in February 2023
May 2019 Copy of the first two female members of the Central African Republic SPEAR team
Photo taken from the DSS 2022 Instagram: policewomen on the Tajikistain shooting range

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