Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation awarded to Special Missions Training Center

Story by Lt. Julie Sieker and Seaman Nicole Groll

FLETA course accreditation certificate

Rick Giovengo and Cmdr. Tom Walsh, members of the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy Accreditation Team, hold a course accreditation certificate with Lt. Jon McCamish, Chief Petty Officer Armena McNair and Terry Walsh, members of the Special Missions Training Center, Thursday, July 11, 2013. SMTC’s Tactical Coxswain Course recently became a Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation accredited course. Photo by Christiana Halsey

The Coast Guard Special Missions Training Center Camp Lejeune North Carolina, earned another accolade by which to uphold its Center of Excellence designation on July 11, 2013,. Adding to Boats Tactics Branch’s receipt of Kimball Awards in both 2011 and 2013, SMTC’s Tactical Coxswain Course (TCC-A) is now a Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation accredited course.

TCC-A provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform as a Tactical Coxswain Unit Level Trainer in support of the Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security mission as promulgated by the Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training Manual and in accordance with the Maritime Law Enforcement Manual.  In addition, TCC- A is one of SMTC’slongest running courses.  It has accumulated extensive curriculum documentation, particularly with regards to training procedures and teaching exercises.

Meeting the standards for FLETA accreditation is the foundation of SMTC’s vision of being the Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces and Tactical Boat Operations High Risk Training Center of Excellence. Accreditation provides a framework for consistency of training development and delivery, improved operations and processes and minimizing training costs and potential liabilities.

“FLETA accreditation is challenging for a federal law enforcement agency to attain,” said Chief Petty Officer Armena McNair, SMTC’s accreditation manager. “It takes commitment on the part of agency management and staff to see the process through, and can take an agency anywhere from six to eighteen months to attain accreditation.”

Official FLETA assessors visited SMTC April 9-11.  During those three days, McNair escorted the assessors throughout the BTB department and demonstrated that the course was in compliance with FLETA’s 52 specific standards. The assessors completed a report stating their findings, which was complied for the final presentation before the FLETA board. In the report, the assessors stated SMTC’s TCC-A course was 100 percent compliantwith FLETA standards.

The FLETA board is comprised of members from domestic federal law enforcement agencies such as the Coast Guard, the Federal Marshalls, Boarder Patrol and Customs. Agencies who voluntarily submit their programs for accreditation to the FLETA board self regulate  their programs to ensure the professional community of quality, effectiveness and integrity. Following a set of 52 standards, to include program administration, training staff, training development andtraining delivery, each agency’s programs must show compliance of those standards and evidence proving the programs follow the set policies.

For example, one of FLETA’s standards is to ensure that high risk programs have safety procedures in place in order to mitigate the risk. The Coast Guard utilizes the Green-Amber-Red (GAR) model, which satisfies this standard.  During the presentation, McNair pulled documentation from the TCC-A files to demonstrate the implementation of the GAR model and its effectiveness during TCC-A training evolutions.

Lastly, during the presentation process, the committee presents their program to the board, and then answers questions the board may have. Afterwards, any board member who has an agency presenting a program must step out in order to ensure a nonbiased voting atmosphere.

For the past two years, McNair worked as a member of the accreditation team and the organizational manual committee. Her position on the organizational manual committee ensured policies were in place satisfying all 52 standards per FLETA guidelines for the course.

“The self-satisfaction of this course being accredited is hard to explain,” said McNair.“With all the hard work and obstacles I had to overcome, it was heartwarming to see it all come full circle I knew in my heart of hearts that TCC-A would be the course to use and accredit.”

In a letter from the FLETA Board to SMTC, Mr. Ward, the Board Chair said, “We commend you for demonstrating your dedication to the professionalism of law enforcement training practices and policies.”

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