ATF’s International Affairs Division (IAD) manages ATF’s international engagements, outreach and training. IAD’s mission is to promote information sharing and intelligence gathering with a goal of defeating criminal organizations. IAD also supports international firearms trafficking investigations and transnational law enforcement initiatives. IAD staff work in Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and the Caribbean.
IAD provides technical support to international partners focused on preventing violent crimes. This includes tracing firearms using ATF’s eTrace and conducting international firearms trafficking assessments in support of multinational anti-firearms task forces. During a globally significant event, ATF’s International Response Teams are available to deploy upon request to help investigate arson and explosives cases. In addition, IAD shares access to a variety of ATF resources such as the Bomb Arson Tracking System, eTrace, Forensics and Fire Research Laboratory to support international criminal investigations.
International Law Enforcement Academy
IAD provides ATF with the opportunity to help international partners strengthen their expertise and investigative techniques for firearms trafficking, arson, and explosives-related incidents. Partnering with U.S. Department of State’s International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs), ATF provides training on real-world scenarios.
ILEA trainings are interactive sessions taught by experts that use a combination of classroom workshops and relevant practical exercises to strengthen participants’ law enforcement skills. Upon completion of the training, graduates are able to start using these advanced investigative skills and techniques on cases involving firearms trafficking, arson and post-blast incidents.
Some of ATF’s sponsored courses include small arms trafficking, international post-blast investigations, and arson investigation techniques. ATF also co-leads larger ILEA conferences like the recent Executive Policy and Development Symposium on Transnational Organized Crime that focused on weapons trafficking and gangs in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Combating Violent Crime
When an emerging incident occurred overseas in the past, some foreign countries did not have ready access to resources like ATF’s arson and explosions experts to help them solve cases. Since the launch of the IAD, ATF’s partner countries increased closed the gap in their investigative processes by accessing ATF’s shared intelligence and specially trained personnel to support investigations.
In addition to having ATF IAD personnel stationed in strategic locations throughout the world, ATF’s IAD uses technical approaches to help support international partners by providing training in the areas of explosives, arson and small arms trafficking. This includes providing access to leading-edge technologies, gathering and sharing intelligence and investigative techniques that can help bring criminals to justice by advancing and supporting transnational criminal investigations. During fiscal year 2019, IAD conducted 12 classes at the various ILEAs in support of interagency law enforcement operations.
During fiscal year 2020, IAD also partnered with other federal law enforcement agencies to reduce the firearms trafficking and illegal firearms purchases.
Anti-Firearms Trafficking Campaign
IAD manages ATF’s international engagements, outreach and training, and is the primary point of contact for supporting ATF’s international cases. This includes international arms trafficking investigation initiatives within DOJ.
In 2021, ATF and interagency partners launched the Anti-Firearms Trafficking Campaign to reduce gun trafficking and stop illegal gun purchases by prohibited individuals at the border.