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The Military Versus The War On Drugs: How Much To Do

The Military Versus The War On Drugs: How Much To Do?

 

CSC 1993

 

SUBJECT AREA - Topical Issues

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

TITLE :The Military versus the War on Drugs: How much to do?

 

 

AUTHOR:Commander Boris LEYTON. Student,Chilean Marine Corps

 

 

THESIS:The Department of Defense is affected in several ways

by the National Drugs Control Strategy; therefore,the

Military should play a major role in the war on drugs.

 

 

 

BACKGROUND: In September 1989, President George Bush

declared war on drugs,and announced his first National Drugs

Control Strategy. It seems logical that if a "war" on drugs

is being waged,therefore,the military should play a major

role in that war. To ensure proper execution of the military

role in drug control,it is necessary to develop a coherent

strategy according to the current times. There are many

alternatives to solve the problem of military involvement,and

each one with more or less probabilities of success. But,the

key point is the right understanding of the nature of war on

drugs,and the proper development of a Military Drug Control

Strategy based upon a joint effort according to the current

doctrine.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:Using the successful experience of the Gulf

War,to develop a joint effort at the highest level of the

Department of Defense to build a Military Drug Control

Strategy,keeping in balance the ENDS,WAYS,and MEANS,during

times of dwindling budgets and force structure.

 

OUTLINE

 

 

THESIS : The DOD is affected in several ways by the National Drugs

Control Strategy; therefore, the military should play a major

role in the war on drugs.

 

 

I.- Military Advisors

 

A.-Historical role

B.-Present-day role

 

II.- Central and South America today

 

A.-Central America production and trafficking

B.-South America production and trafficking

 

III.- Narcotics Trafficking in Central Asia

 

A.-A new Colombia?

B.-Consequences of Soviet disintegration

 

IV.- The Advisors'dilemma

 

A.-Mission without authority

B.-Questionable results

 

V.- Solutions

 

A.-Develop a Military Drug Control Strategy

B.-Alternatives?

 

THE MILITARY VERSUS THE WAR ON DRUGS : HOW MUCH TO DD?

 

 

 

 

 

THE INTENTIONAL TRADE IN DRUGS IS A MAJOR THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. NO THREAT DOES

 

MORE DAMAGE TO OUR NATIONAL VALUES AND INSTITUTIONS, AND THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GENERATED BY THE

 

TRADE IN DRUGS IS ALL TOO FAMILIAR. TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS UNDERMINE THE SOVEREIGN GOVERNME

 

NTS OF OUR FRIENDS AND WEAKEN AND DISTORT NATIONAL ECONOMIES... DEMAND REDUCTION AT HOME AND

 

AN AGGRESSIVE ATTACK ON THE INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRADE ARE THE MAIN ELEMENTS IN OUR STRATEGY.

 

THEY MUST BE PURSUED TOGETHER.(1)

 

 

 

 

 

President George Bush

 

National Security Strategy of the United States

 

 

 

 

 

In September 1989, President George Bush has declared war on drugs, and announced his

 

first National Drugs Control Strategy (NDCS). The same month, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney

 

designated the detection and countering of the production, trafficking, and use of illegal drugs as

 

a "high priority national security mission of the Department of Defense."

 

The President's 1989 NDCS affected the Department of Defense (DOD) in several ways. It

 

seem logical that if a "war" on drugs is being waged, therefore, the military should play a major

 

role in that war. However, before jumping to that conclusion, several key questions should be

 

answered. First, should the military be involved ? Second, if involved, what is the proper

 

military role ? And last, but not least, what are the constraints on military involvement ? To

 

answer this questions, it is necessary to examine the military contribution to achieving a NDCS.

 

Once convinced that the military should be involved, the next step is to develop a logical

 

Military Drug Control Strategy (MDCS) that supports the national strategy.

 

Since NDCS publication in September 1989, two subseqent companion volumes have been

 

published, with the latest dated February 1991. Furthermore, both the supply and demand sides of the

 

drug equation receive increased attention internationally, as well as domestically. In this

 

context, a well balanced drug control strategy must attack both supply and demand. However, the

 

military can most affect the supply side of the equation.

 

Military involvement is justified, when looking at drug control in the national context,

 

for several reasons. Drug trafficking poses a national security threat, and in its role as

 

protector of the national interests against such threat, the military should definitely be engaged.

 

Since a national strategy has been developed to address this threat, the military, as one of the

 

elements of national power, should likewise develop a support strategy.

 

To ensure proper execution of the military role in drug control, our military must

 

dovetail with, and support, the national strategy. The military strategy must have identifiable

 

objectives (ends) that protect national interests; strategic concepts (ways) that describes how the

 

job will get done; and resources (means) that describe what it will take to support the concept.

 

These three elements of military strategy must be kept in balance. The further out of balance any

 

one elements becomes, the greater the risk that the strategy will fail. Another facet of military

 

strategy is its two-dimensional existence in time : the current strategy is here and now, while the

 

mid-range looks ten years ahead.

 

A fully supportive MDCS would enhance the likelihood of the president's achieving his

 

desired end state for the year 2000 (2). The MDCS would further detail the ends, ways, and means to

 

obtain the goals. Along with this mid-range strategy, a current strategy should be developed that

 

focuses on the present and one to two years in the future.

 

In examining the current military strategy, both the ends and the means are fairly

 

straight-forward to develop, while the ways are much more difficult. In progessing to the

 

mid-range military strategy, more time and effort will obviously be required, since the ends, ways,

 

and means projected to the turn of the century will be much harder to define.

 

There are many areas in which the military can help support the drug control effort. Some

 

of these involve the demand side of the drug equation such as providing correctional facilities,

 

rehabilitation, and training programs in the military and DOD schools. However, the military's

 

contribution to supply-side reduction can produce the greatest results.

 

The military have definitely many more things to do in the drug war. Though still evolving,

 

proper military role in the war can, and will, be established over time. A logical method for

 

determining this military role is to first develop a MDCS with the traditional elements ends, ways,

 

and means, and the two time components (current and mid-range). Only by optimizing both efficiency

 

and effectiveness can we ultimately win the drug war.

 

The historical role of Military Advisors has been, as part of the support of foreign

 

allies (3), to train host-government personnel and provide operational support activities where is

 

required. But, the policy of the government, has been that DOD personnel will not accompany

 

host-government forces on actual field operations. The Department of State coordinates the counter

 

narcotics initiatives with the Host Nation via the respective ambassadors. Each ambassador is

 

assigned a representative from participant agencies. These representatives form part of the

 

ambassador's country team. As military advisor team, the United States military personnel have been

 

training host-nation police and counter-drug military units for individual and small unit

 

leadership an air mobile and riverine operations.

 

The present role of Military Advisors has not many changes. DOD operational assistance

 

increased in the form of mobile training teams, deployments for training and short duration

 

exercises, and medical engineering and civic action support were provided along with air mobility

 

assets.

 

The DOD also augmented the country teams in some countries such as Colombia, Bolivia and

 

Peru by deploying intelligence personnel. The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act reshaped

 

the military organization and gave broad new powers to the regional Commanders-in-Chief (CINC). For

 

the first time in United States history the regional CINCs had both authority and responsibility for

 

all military forces within their region, which includes the military advisor teams in each country,

 

but, this has not changed the basic role of these.

 

Central America has a long history of illicit drugs production, trafficking and associated

 

money laundering. It is an increasingly important area in the cocaine trade. The countries of

 

Central America had to face an increasing flow of cocaine during the last years, as trafficking

 

oranizations expanded and diversified their smuggling routes through the region. While the United

 

States government provided some assistance, several countries independently have taken initiatives

 

in recognition of the threat which drug poses to their own national security. All seven Central

 

American nations are now victims, to varying degrees, of the drug trade (4). The Central American

 

nations are attempting to respond, and with United States assistances such as detection and

 

monitoring operations, communications support, planning assistance, and intelligence gathering have

 

had some significant successes. Also, Mexico is a critical target in the counter cocaine campaign.

 

A substantial portion of all narcotics entering the United States comes through Mexico (5).

 

The South America production and trafficking is focused mainly in Colombia, Bolivia, and

 

Peru. Considerable success has been achieved in Colombia in the interdiction of cocaine products by

 

colombian counter drugs forces. The DOD trained a great amount of military personnel in Colombia

 

during the last years, mostly in tactics, equipment maintenance and the use of small arms. Several

 

significant colombian operations have took place during the last two years. The United States

 

government has continued working closely with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and Department of

 

Administrative Security to enhance the capabilities to interdict drugs and disrupt the trafficking

 

infrastructure.

 

Bolivia is the world's second-largest producer of coca leaf and may also be the second

 

largest producer of refined cocaine. During the last years, the United States government continued

 

to cooperate to implement the long-term U.S. objective of reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the

 

production of refined cocaine products (6).

 

Law enforcement efforts resulting in successful operations against some organizations that

 

supply Colombian cartels. Law enforcement units increased their presence and control in the

 

Chapare, a region in central Bolivia that is the second largest coca cultivation area in the world.

Peru remains the world's leading producer of coca with an estimated 121,300 hectares of

 

licit and illicit cultivation (7). Because Peru elected in August 1990 not to sign the grant-aid

 

agreement, the United States provided no equipment or training support to that country during

 

1991-92. DOD did provide training to 180 peruvian police, under the auspices and in support of the

 

State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics Matters. Peruvian narcotics-control law

 

appears to be adequate, although the judicial system functions poorly and the law is rarely enforced

 

in a consistent manner. A third U.S. Special Force Mobile Training Team (MTT) began training

 

peruvian police in jungle operations in January 1991(8).

 

The drug war has expanded its battlefield since the collapse of the former Soviet Empire.

 

Countries that were formerly isolated to a degree from the West have now gained access to the drug

 

markets. The states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ttajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan-which less

 

than a year ago constituted those Union Soviet Socialist Republics collectively termed Soviet

 

Central Asia-incorporate rugged and remote areas that have long been associated with narcotics use

 

and smuggling activities of various types. During most of the Soviet period, these traditional

 

activities were seldom visible to western and, in any event, were confined largely to the republics

 

themselves and more or less limited interactions with Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. For many

 

specialists in the former Soviet republics and neighboring states who had studied Central Asia's

 

growth and potential as a narcotics trafficking center, a striking metaphor increasingly suggested

 

itself-Central Asia as another Colombia.

 

The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, the East European "revolutions"

 

and virtual collapse of the socialist bloc that same year, followed by the eventual disintegration

 

of the Soviet Union and its centrally controlled security structures amidst acute and continuing

 

interethnic conflict, profoundly changed the status and future of the region at the start of the new

 

decade.

 

New and reorganizing security organizations in the now independents republics are faced

 

with a host of problems, and the priority given to counternarcotics activities is a complex issue

 

(9). Finally, potential involvement of foreign drug trafficking groups appears greater now. This

 

may particularly be the case in regard to Southwest Asian traffickers, who could use ethnic and

 

religious affiliations to develop new staging, processing or cultivation areas for drugs ultimately

 

intented for rich european and north american markets.

 

In the drugs world described, the Advisor's dilemma seems to be the same : Mission without

 

authority, and the questionable results. In fact, since the Advisor's task began, their

 

responsibilities have been limited to security assistance, counter drugs training, intelligence,

 

communications, nations assistance and operational support. The Federal Government has embarked,

 

over the years, on a wide variety of drug interdiction programs to counter this problem, with a lot

 

of agencies participating without coordination or, at least, consideration for other ongoing

 

programs. The regional Commanders-in-Chief (CINC) have authority over the military forces, however,

 

neither the CINCs nor the ambassadors have directive authority or budgetary responsibility for the

 

other government agencies required to implement a given counternarcotics strategy (10).

 

Without an effective command and control structure in place, and without an effective

 

authority in the host countries, the advisor's results has been questionable, and the main concern

 

is related to the lack of cultural sensivity and understanding of the host countries. This includes

 

the relative priority given to the country history, art, religion, myth, technology and language.

 

To ensure proper execution of the military role in drug control, our military must develop

 

a coherent strategy according to the current times. The development of this strategy has progressed

 

somewhat slowly. Possibly, this is attributable to a reluctance among the Services to take another

 

mission during times of dwindling bugets and force structure.

 

There are many areas in which the military can help support the drug control effort. Some

 

of these involve the demand side of the drug equation; however, the military contribution to supply

 

side reduction can produce the greatest results.

 

The military has definitely many more things to do in the drug war, and the solution

 

should be incorporated into a Joint Doctrine in order to have standard application for all, and to

 

provide a proper understanding of the doctrine during joint/combined operations. Three alternative

 

solutions would solve this problem

 

 

1.- To continue with the current policy

 

2.- To develop a strategy based upon one Service

 

3.- To develop a joint strategy based upon the capabilities of each Service

 

 

The first alternative is to continue implementing solutions throughout the NDCS, prepared

 

within the Executive Office of the White House by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and

 

leaving to DOD the support throughout the different Services in single operations according to the

 

current requirements in each specific place. This current alternative has had some good results,

 

employing the single capabilities of each Service according with the goals of each operation. Many

 

of these operations are large scale efforts involving interagency planning and civil-military

 

cooperation in the execution of complex concepts of operation. Operations such as GREEN SWEEP,

 

GREEN MERCHANT, GHOST DANCER, GHOST ZONE, etc., have become highly visible to citizens of the United

 

States and South America, creating some curiosity as well as outright anger at military involvement.

 

Even though all these operations have had a certain degree of success, they remain within

 

the area of immediate response strategy, and do not have the necessary two-time components : current

 

and mid-range. This fact, makes it necessary to answer the following questions:

 

 

 

1.- Have they had any real impact in the drug threat?

 

2.- Do they fit our objectives?

 

3.- Are they backed with the requisite resources and long-term commitments needed to make

 

their concepts work?

 

 

 

The second option, using the current capabilities of the Services, is to develop a

 

counter-drugs strategy based upon one of them, such as the Marine Corps which is uniquely suited for

 

some aspects of the United States national counterncotics effort. This solution implies the fact

 

that the DOD have to choose the Service that will be responsible for the military side in the war on

 

drugs, working jointly with other Agencies to develop and execute the proper strategy that fulfills

 

the goals of the NDCS.

 

This alternative could be a good solution to centralize the efforts and to economy forces,

 

in order to develop a proper Military Drugs Control Strategy based upon the most adequate Service

 

capabilities, but it is also a potential source of conflicts among the Services because of the

 

selection represents resources and means to be the axis of the MDCS.

 

The third option, using the successful experience of the Gulf War, is to develop a joint

 

effort at the highest level of the DOD to build an MDCS that has identifiable objectives (ENDS) that

 

protects national interests; strategic concepts (WAYS) that describe how the job will get done in

 

its two-dimensional existence in time (current and mid-range); and resources (MEANS) that describe

 

what it will take to support the concept. These three elements of military strategy must be kept in

 

balance . The DOD must employ the proper capabilities of each Service to maximize both efficiency

 

and effectiveness to win the drug war. Throughout this joint effort, and using the best of each

 

Service in this arena, attacking the drug at its source, in transit, and at the distribution stage

 

in the continental United States, the results could be definitive.

 

Although each of the three alternatives would solve this problem with more or less

 

probabilities of success, the third solution is clearly superior. Using an adequate MDCS based upon

 

a joint effort according to the current doctrine, and using the best capabilities of each Service

 

according to the particular situation, it is clearly superior because it represents the best use of

 

the lessons learned, economy of effort, and joint thought during times of dwindling budgets and

 

force structure.

 

Finally, it is necessary to keep always in mind, that the war on drugs it is not a problem

 

between nations, or religions, or ideologies. It is a social problem with no easy solution. The end

 

of the Cold War and the consequently reduced national-security threat provides the U.S. military

 

with unprecedented opportunities to play non traditional roles. But, military action is not the

 

only answer, the right MDCS must dovetail with the economical policies to support the Host-Nation if

 

we are seriously determined to "win" the drug war.

 

ENDNOTES

 

 

 

(1) The White House, NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY OF THE UNITED

STATES, (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office,1991),

p.9O.

 

(2) Ibid. p.15.

 

(3) The White House, National Drug Control Strategy,(Washington,

DC: Government Printing Office,1991),p.90.

 

(4) U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics

Matters, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

March 1991,(Washington DC : Department of State Publication

9853-A) ,p.3.

 

(5) Ibid.p.155.

 

(6) Ibid.p.2.

 

(7) Ibid.p.114.

 

(8) Ibid.p.118.

 

(9) Military Review December 1992, Narcotics Trafficking in

Central Asia : A New Colombia ?,(Headquarters,Department of

the Army),p.62.

 

(10) Kellner William Major USMC, The War on Drugs GET CONTROL OR

GET OUT!, Military Issue Paper Command and Staff College

1992/93,p. 10.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

1.- Dale Scott,Peter and Jonathan Marshall. Cocaine Politics.

University of California Press,1984.

 

2.- Kellner,Major USMC.The war on Drugs:Get in or Get Out!.

Military Issue Paper,non published,Command and Staff

College,1992/93.

 

3.- Mabry,Donald J. .The latin American Narcotics Trade and U.S.

National Security.Greenwood Press,1989.

 

4.- US Army Command and General Staff College.Military Review,

June-92,December-92,March-93.Headquarters,Department of the

Army.

 

5.- Morales,Edmundo. Cocaine,White Gold Rush in Peru. The

University of Arizona Press,1989.

 

6.- Scott Palmer,David. Shining Path of Peru.Boston University,

1992.

 

7.- Sollis,LCol. John,USMC. The March of Folly:A Brief

Assessment of the Military Proper Place in the Andean Drug

War. Marine Corps War College,non published,1992.

 

8.- The White House. National Drug Control Strategy.Government

Printing Office,1991.

 

9.- United States General Accounting Office. The Drug War,Extent

of Problems in Brazil,Ecuador and Venezuela. June 1992.

 

10.- U.S. Department of Justice. Worldwide Cocaine Situation

1992. Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

11.- U.S. Department of State. 1990 International Narcotics

Control. Bureau of Public Affairs.

 

12.- U.S. Department of State. International Narcotics Control

Strategy Report,March 1991. Bureau of International

Narcotics Matters.



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