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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. Learn more about ICITAP:

  • Established in 1986, ICITAP's first mission was to help train police officers in Latin America. Over the next three decades, ICITAP evolved into a full-service criminal justice development agency that plays an important role in fostering international stability and rule of law, which are vital to U.S. security in the post-9/11 world.

    Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ICITAP works with host countries to design and implement assistance programs that address their unique needs and circumstances. Most of these countries are experiencing unique development challenges, such as:

    • Emerging democracy and developing country
    • Post-conflict reconstruction and international peacekeeping mission
    • Partners in combating terrorism

    One of ICITAP's primary goals is to foster international and regional cooperation on transnational crime strategies, such as data and information sharing, border security, technological compatibility, and forensic investigations. Over the past thirty years, ICITAP has provided law enforcement development assistance around the world, in more than 100 countries.


  • ICITAP is situated organizationally within the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and its programs are authorized and funded through interagency agreements. In designing and executing international law enforcement development programs, ICITAP often partners with other DOJ organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Marshals Service; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    ICITAP works in close partnership with and receives funding for its programs from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Defense.


  • In FY 2020, ICITAP carried out 445 distinct training events for more than 6,750 law enforcement professionals around the world, and was involved in 58 technical assistance and training partnership activities with other U.S. government agencies.

    ICITAP uses a holistic development approach to help other countries achieve comprehensive, sustainable reform in their criminal justice institutions. ICITAP's projects can be short-term technical assistance and training, the management of equipment donations, or medium- and long-term programs. It is through the medium- and long-term programs, however, that real progress can be measured. These programs can include:

    • Technical assistance and training in basic, specialized, and tactical law enforcement services, including any of ICITAP's subject areas of expertise
    • Police academy development—using train-the-trainer models, curricula, and equipment donations—to achieve independent, sustainable training capacities
    • Assistance in community policing that creates positive relationships among police, citizens, and nongovernmental organizations
    • Technical assistance in developing standard operating procedures for all areas of police work, including criminal investigations and forensic evidence collection and analysis

    See Our Expertise for more information on ICITAP's specialized programs and areas of expertise. The benefits of medium- and long-term programs (as opposed to short-term assistance or stand-alone donations of funds, supplies, and equipment) are significant. Extended stays in country—particularly through a field office, attached to a U.S. Embassy—allow ICITAP trainers and advisors to receive ongoing feedback on the relevance and effectiveness of programs from its host-country partners. Such continuous, face-to-face interaction and fostering of relationships is crucial to the sustainability of new law enforcement systems and practices. Medium- and long-term programs allow ICITAP experts to develop:

    • A greater understanding of the culture and particular needs of the host country's criminal justice institutions
    • Strong working relationships with law enforcement and government officials and the international criminal justice assistance community
    • Consistent coordination and oversight
    • Assurance that policies and procedures support the long-term sustainability of institutions
    • Confidence that host-country professionals are effectively using and maintaining donated equipment


  • ICITAP frequently joins forces with the Department of Justice's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT). The goal of this unique partnership is to employ a comprehensive approach to bring about reform. Working together, ICITAP and OPDAT help host countries build integrity, professionalism, and accountability in the three pillars of criminal justice: police, prosecutors/courts, and corrections.

    One of the primary missions of the Department of Justice is to support the U.S. national security strategy in combating international terrorism and transnational crimes, such as trafficking in persons, organized crime, public corruption, money laundering, narcotics, cybercrime, and intellectual property violations. To accomplish this, the United States must have effective partners abroad; as Justice Department entities working overseas, ICITAP and OPDAT play an important role in developing strong relationships with foreign criminal justice institutions.

    ICITAP and OPDAT justice-sector technical assistance and training partnerships are designed to:

    • Promote democratic principles and respect for human rights
    • Support U.S. national security interests
    • Reduce transnational crime and corruption
    • Enhance the ability of police and judicial institutions to combat terrorism


For more information on ICITAP, see these fact sheets:

Updated August 11, 2023