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U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets’ research seeks ways to improve anti-trafficking efforts in Gulf of Guinea
Three cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy completed a research project examining ways to improve anti-trafficking efforts in the Gulf of Guinea
Brian Lisko, U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs, Capt. Brigid Pavilonis, Chair of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Department of Humanities, 1st Class Cadet John Roddy, 1st Class Cadet Samuel Wood, 1st Class Cadet Erin Reynolds, Lt. Cmdr. Todd Behney, U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs, and Dr. Ginger Denton, research team advisor, post for a photo during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Research Symposium March 27, 2017 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy
2 photos: U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets’ research seeks ways to improve anti-trafficking efforts in Gulf of Guinea
Photo 1 of 2: Brian Lisko, U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs, Capt. Brigid Pavilonis, Chair of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Department of Humanities, 1st Class Cadet John Roddy, 1st Class Cadet Samuel Wood, 1st Class Cadet Erin Reynolds, Lt. Cmdr. Todd Behney, U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs, and Dr. Ginger Denton, research team advisor, post for a photo during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Research Symposium March 27, 2017 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Download full-resolution version
1st Class Cadet Samuel Wood, 1st Class Cadet Erin Reynolds, and 1st Class Cadet John Roddy pose for a photo during a maritime workshop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire Feb. 15, 2017.
2 photos: U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets’ research seeks ways to improve anti-trafficking efforts in Gulf of Guinea
Photo 2 of 2: 1st Class Cadet Samuel Wood, 1st Class Cadet Erin Reynolds, and 1st Class Cadet John Roddy pose for a photo during a maritime workshop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire Feb. 15, 2017. Download full-resolution version
Brian Lisko, U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs, Capt. Brigid Pavilonis, Chair of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Department of Humanities, 1st Class Cadet John Roddy, 1st Class Cadet Samuel Wood, 1st Class Cadet Erin Reynolds, Lt. Cmdr. Todd Behney, U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs, and Dr. Ginger Denton, research team advisor, post for a photo during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Research Symposium March 27, 2017 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy
1st Class Cadet Samuel Wood, 1st Class Cadet Erin Reynolds, and 1st Class Cadet John Roddy pose for a photo during a maritime workshop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire Feb. 15, 2017.

STUTTGART, Germany - Each year, the U.S. Africa Command Maritime Programs Branch enlists a team from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to conduct Advanced Research Projects (ARP) throughout Africa.

The research team consist of three Cadets completing their senior year, along with two professors who oversee the project. These research endeavors play a vital role in Maritime’s strategic approach to the plethora of problem sets throughout the continent.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, First Class Cadets Erin Reynolds, John Roddy, and Samuel Wood completed the AFRICOM-sponsored ARP as part of their senior capstone project.  They were advised by Dr. Ginger Denton and Dr. Chris LaMonica.  Their research, entitled “Broken Windows and Broken Courts: Combatting Illicit Trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea,” sought to find more effective ways to improve anti-trafficking efforts in the Gulf of Guinea region.  The team analyzed the relationship between transparent government institutions and the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts.

The cadet research team acts as a traveling contact team in support of the AFRICOM's Maritime and Counter-Illicit Trafficking Missions. The Team assessed Gulf of Guinea maritime and terrestrial capabilities, the needs driven by regional growth in maritime extractive industries, and the evolution of the region as a maritime transit zone for commercial shipping and illicit trafficking.  These assessments and recommendations will support U.S. Coast Guard engagements in maritime security, law enforcement cooperation and training conducted by AFRICOM.

In order to thoroughly conduct the research, the group traveled to the U.S. Naval War College, National Defense University, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, and the U.S. Department of State where they interviewed government officials with firsthand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the region. The team also travelled to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire where they participated in the Strategic Integration for Maritime Security workshop hosted by the African Center for Strategic Studies in order to better understand the African perspective of the problem and identify possible African solutions to the maritime threats in the region.

The cadets' empirical research found a statistically significant relationship between the transparency of a Gulf of Guinea state's government and the value of narcotics seized by its police forces.  Specifically, every point increase in a country's Corruption Perception score yielded a corresponding increase of $3.37 million USD value of drugs seized. This indicates that the more transparent a state's government, the more likely the state is to seize narcotics that enter the country illegally. The cadets' research also found that the perception of corruption in many Gulf of Guinea states hinders police officers from performing their duties and creates an environment more permissive of corruption and illicit trafficking. These results show that to combat illicit trafficking it is important not only to improve the police forces in the region, but also develop transparent governments which empower police forces to perform their duties and arrest criminals engaging in illicit trafficking.

As a result of the team’s direct efforts and research, they concluded that to combat illicit trafficking it is important not only to improve the police forces in the region, but also develop transparent governments which empower police forces to perform their duties and arrest criminals engaging in illicit trafficking.

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