By Christine June, George C. Marshall European Center for Security StudiesFebruary 28, 2018
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Feb. 26, 2018) - Special Agents Thomas F. O'Connor and Jean K. O'Connor, both with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force, gave a special evening presentation on Evidence and Prosecution to 68 security professionals from 45 countries attending the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies Feb. 26.
Thomas O'Connor was also a member of the panel discussion on right-wing terrorism earlier in the day.
"It's too late to build partnerships when the bomb goes off," Thomas O'Connor said. "PTSS builds those partnerships. PTSS is the international form of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which has 40 agencies working together to combat terrorism."
Held twice a year, PTSS is a functionally-focused program that draws in civilian, law enforcement, and military counterterrorism professionals from around the world and improves their capacity to counter terrorism's regional and transnational implications. It aims to combat terrorism in all of its manifestations: nationally, regionally and globally.
"To my mind, the Marshall Center's mission is to find solutions to today's most pressing security problems," said retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. James Howcroft, PTSS course director. "I think one of the great strengths of our PTSS program is the fact that we do look at solutions and not just at the problem."
After 9/11 (Sept.11, 2001 attacks on the United States), retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Nichols "Nick" Pratt conceived of, created and implemented the Marshall Center's Program on Terrorism and Security Studies. PTSS has more than 1,800 alumni from 126 countries. The first PTSS course was in 2004, and so far, the Marshall Center has held 27 PTSS programs.
In their presentation, the husband-and-wife-team, who are Marshall Center PTSS alumni, discussed terrorism and major scene evidence collection and prosecution techniques. Thomas O'Connor attended PTSS in 2011, and Jean O'Connor attended PTSS in 2012.
"One of the greatest strengths of the Marshall Center is the network of professionals that we built here," Howcroft said. "It's extremely important, I believe, to demonstrate to people as they are going through the courses the value and utility of this network."
Thomas O'Connor entered the FBI in 1997. He was assigned to work in the Washington Field Office on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. During this time, he has worked both international and domestic terrorism cases. Prior to entering the FBI, he was a Police Officer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Jean O'Connor entered the FBI in 1998. She was assigned to the Washington Field Office on a White Collar Crime Squad, where she worked undercover specializing in drug diversion cases. She later transferred to an International Drug Squad where she worked complex narcotics trafficking cases. In 2000, she was accepted to the Washington Field Office, Evidence Response Team. On Sept. 11, 2001, she was a first responder to the terror attacks at the U.S. Pentagon in Arlington, Va.
The four-week course is designed for government officials, military officers and police administrators currently working in mid-and-upper-level management positions of counterterrorism organizations throughout the world.
The Program on Terrorism and Security Studies 18-05 started Feb. 14 and ends March 15.
The PTSS 18-05 participants hail from: Algeria; Armenia; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Canada; Columbia; Côte d'Ivoire; Czech Republic; Dominican Republic; Egypt; Ethiopia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Hungary; India; Iraq; Jordon; Kosovo; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Libya; Malaysia; Mali; Morocco; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Paraguay; Philippines; Republic of Korea; Romania; Sierra Leone; Spain; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Uganda; Ukraine; and, United States.