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Transnational Counter Narcotic Operations...The Global War On Drugs Part I

Guatemalan Special Forces   the  "Kailblies" close in suspected  Drug traffickers
Guatemalan Special Forces the "Kailblies" close in suspected Drug traffickers

Transnational Mission:

The primary goal of US/ Latin American transnational security is that of creating a unified and cohesive law enforcement presence in which resources, intelligence and strategy are in sync with transnational goals of stopping the drug trade and other illicit trafficking operations. This series will explore counter drug operations within Central and South America and Central Asia. In this article we will explore the US and Latin American mission

The US Department of Defense supports federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in their effort to disrupt the transport and/or transfer of illegal drugs into the US. Counterdrug is a high priority national security and international cooperation mission, with DOD functions and responsibilities based on statutory authority. The Armed Forces of the United States also assists our partner nations (PNs) in their counter drug efforts. Illicit drug trafficking, smuggling of every sort, and the regional and global movement of terrorists are closely linked by financial, political, and operational linkages.

Western Operation Structure:

Drug interdiction on the high seas and in US territorial seas is primarily the responsibility of the USCG, although United States Navy and allied vessels with law enforcement detachments attached are also involved. The Department of Homeland Security is the lead agency at US ports of entry . Maritime counter drug operations focus interdiction efforts principally on deterring drug smuggling by identifying seaborne smuggling routes, detecting, monitoring, handing off suspect vessels to law enforcement, stopping and boarding vessels, seizing contraband and vessels, and arresting the suspect personnel.

The primary goal of land counter drug interdiction is to seize drugs, drug-related money, illegal munitions and chemicals as they enter or leave the United States and Latin America . Apprehension at ports of entry , along the international border, and inside the US and partner nations is accomplished primarily by US and partner nations counter drug interdiction on land, including targeting airfields, illicit drug production facilities, and transshipment sites which may require D&M support.

The US role in counter drug initiatives has evolved from independent actions to one of joint military and civilian cooperation. In the past century, the US counter drug effort has changed in response to the drug abuse and drug trafficking problem. Although the Drug Enforcement Administration and its predecessor agencies have had primary federal level responsibility for enforcing US drug laws since 1914, each significant expansion in illegal drug activities has brought additional.

Historical Counter Narcotic Operations Policy:

In 1986, the Congress passed an Anti-Drug Abuse Act to give the Executive Branch more authority to fight the “war on drugs.” The act left broad discretion to the Executive Branch in developing and implementing a national strategy. Also in 1986, the President issued National Security Directive 221, which declared drug trafficking to be a threat to national security.

The National Interdiction Command and Control Plan provides guidance to interagency centers focused on interdicting drug traffickers and severing the connections between drug trafficking and terrorism. These centers are designated “national” task forces. The national task force construct provides close coordination and cooperation among government organizations organized into a task force manned and led by personnel from the US and cooperating partner nations with a drug interdiction mission.

North America and Central and South America being the primary targets of entry. The US has developed a collective security initiative to address. The flow of narcotics into US, Central, and South American markets must catalyzed like a wound. The US must continue to address this threat as the clear and present danger. Under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush took on the cartels and the organized crime syndicates both in Latin America and here in the US. Their Cold War approach to the neutralizing the cartels eradicated the portability motive.

Theoretical Framework:

Deterrence theory has long suggested that reducing unwanted behavior requires raising the costs (or perceived costs) of a behavior through the threat of punishment a process commonly referred to as deterrence. In the eighteenth century, Beccaria ([1764] 1983) argued that the state should punish law-breakers just enough so that the burdens of punishment outweigh any pleasure derived from perpetrating the crime—an idea that directly informs U.S. criminal law, military strategy, and a host of other social policy domains. Scholars have since applied the notion of deterrence to a range of areas, including nuclear doctrine (Brodie 1959), as well as a broad range of offending behaviors (Matsueda, Kreager, and Huizinga 2006;Nagin 1998; Paternoster 1987), including terrorist violence (LaFree, Dugan, and Korte 2009). The clear appeal of deterrence theory is its parsimony, as well as the fact that punishment can be imposed with relative ease. Any application of rational choice theory assumes that actors make decisions designed to optimize their own well-being while minimizing costs (Bentham [1781] 1996). We argue that terrorist actors, despite the gruesome nature of their crimes, can be considered rational actors (Crenshaw 2001; LaFree and Ackerman 2009). Kruglanski and colleagues (2009) characterize the reasons for violent participation as a quest for personal significance; other scholars highlight the common terrorist goal of recognition and fame (Hamm 2004).


Narcotics’ trafficking is a form of terrorism, and like all forms of terrorism is driven by a motive. It just so happens that the motive of drug traffickers is profit. The US in partnership must attack this problem as it would and insurgency. A cost /benefit approach must be applied to anti narco polices. The US in coordination with its Central and South American partners must make the very concept so intense that the penalty becomes a deterrent in itself. The US should continue to train and Supply neighboring countries to combat this plague. The United States should triple its financial focus on the counter narcotic operations at home and aboard. Police should be receive cooperative training with military and federal forces and joint operations should be employed to raise the cost for narco offenders and their local affiliates ie gangs local drug dealers and their traffickers. It is time to raise the cost on drug traffickers. If the government whish to peruse a form legalization to cut into drug profits that could prove effective. We must not take a soft stand on these organized syndicates and their street gang affiliates.

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