I began serving as CINA Director one year ago, and the other day was asked what I had learned in that first year. It turns out that fighting Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) is hard. This won’t be a surprise to most of you reading this, but spending time closer to the problem showed me how dynamic, agile, innovative, and ruthless TCOs are, not to mention the fact that they don’t follow the rules.
I also learned that fighting TCOs, and supporting those that do, is even harder in a pandemic (also no surprise). Perhaps more useful is what I learned about the people working in this problem space. Working with the CINA team and spending time with the folks at DHS, other government and law enforcement organizations, our fellow COEs, the research community, and industry, I found them all to be mission-oriented, dedicated, and focused, and I found them all eager and willing to share their experience, knowledge, ideas, and problems.
I also learned that from clarity of mission comes a strategy and actions, and this gets and keeps everyone rowing in the same direction, focused on our collectively prioritized results. The CINA Center network has four projects entering the transition phase, multiple new projects coming out of our Open RFP, a new Annual RFP, a robust communications and outreach capability, and we recently welcomed Deanna Austin, a new full-time person to lead and expand our workforce development efforts.
I am grateful to all of you who supported and executed the many tasks necessary to get to this point. I am proud of the fact that CINA is able to support such a meaningful mission, and I look forward to our continued mutual success going forward.