High Risk Training -- The New Norm for NCIS

Story Number: NNS051020-15Release Date: 10/20/2005 3:03:00 PM
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By Marla Marcelo, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Public Affairs

GLYNCO, Ga (NNS) -- Counterterrorism training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) got a $1.1 million boost this summer from the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

When NCIS Director David Brant presented a ceremonial check to FLETC Director Connie Patrick in Glynco, Ga., he applauded FLETC's role in spearheading the project to create a Counterterrorism Operations Training Facility (CTOTF). The $1.1 million will help construct the state-of-the-art training facility, scheduled for completion in 2012.

The $50 million facility will recreate various settings, both foreign and domestic, that agents might encounter out in the field, including rural and urban neighborhoods, subway stations, buildings, and roadways. Part of the training site is now functioning, already making use of donated buses, railway cars, and an airplane.

A fraction of the $1.1 million was recently applied to prioritize construction of a Middle Eastern village, as would be seen in Iraq. "This facility will provide a realistic environment for our agents to train in," said NCIS High Risk Operations Training Program (HROTP) instructor Special Agent Larry Fuentes.

The new Counterterrorism Operations Training Facility will provide additional, specialized high-risk training as part of the expanded law enforcement training regimens demanded by the global war on terrorism.

All 82 law enforcement agencies that train at FLETC will have access to the new facility. One of the primary users will be NCIS' existing HROTP. At least 13 organizations at FLETC, including NCIS, currently send recent graduates overseas in direct support of the global war on terrorism.

The new CTOTF will provide invaluable training and, most importantly, help save lives.

"This is all about the students - we're preparing them to meet their agencies' mission, and we are proud to be partners in the effort that provides a realistic training environment. We hope that this practical training, in addition to other tactics they learn here, will also save lives. Our intention is to raise the students' level of awareness of potential dangers so that when they encounter similar situations in the real world, they react correctly," said Patrick.

Counterterrorism training is not new to NCIS. More than 250 agents have been trained and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the past two years alone.

During his visit to the center in August, Brant announced that NCIS was standing up its own Contingency Response Field Office (CRFO) at FLETC, acknowledging an expectation of future requirements for high-risk operations. After the new building is completed in 2006, the CRFO could have more than 100 people working there, all supporting NCIS' deployed missions.

According to Fuentes, the desired result is to have a contingency force of highly trained agents ready to go at a moment's notice. This eliminates the burden of reaching out to field offices, selecting agents, then training them before deploying them.

Special Agent Mark Fallon, deputy assistant director for training at NCIS, underscored the importance of these new facilities. "High-risk operations are becoming the norm for agents around the world," he said. "The value of this training was evident during a recent operation abroad when special agents were fired upon by gunmen. They came back to say that their high-risk operations training at FLETC probably saved their lives."

For related news, visit the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/ncis/.

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