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111th Congress

National Drug Control Strategy 2010

Office of National Drug Control Strategy - 2009 Annual Report

2009 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT
The 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2008. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control
Volume II: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

110th Congress

 

109th Congress

Security Assistance: Efforts to Secure Colombia's Cano Limon-Covenas Oil Pipeline Have Reduced Attacks, but Challenges Remain

Drug Control: Air Bridge Denial Program in Colombia Has Implemented New Safeguards, but Its Effect on Drug Trafficking Is Not Clear

Drug Control: Agencies Need to Plan for Likely Declines in Drug Interdiction Assests, and Develop Better Performance Measures for Transit Zone Operations

Terrorist Financing: Better Strategic Planning Needed to Coordinate U.S. Efforts to Deliver Counter-Terrorism Financing Training and Technical Assistance Abroad

Anabolic Steroids Are Easily Purchased Without a Perscription and Present Significant Challenges to Law Enforcement Officials

108th Congress

Aviation Programs Safety Concerns in Colombia Are Being Addressed, But State's Planning and Budgeting Process Can Be Improved

US Nonmilitary Assistance to Colombia Is Beginning to Show Intended Results, but Programs Are Not Readily Sustainable

Terrorist Financing: US Agencies Should Systematically Assess Terrorist Use of Alternative Financing Mechanisms US

Select GAO Reports
Drug Control: DOD Allocates Fewer Assets to Drug Control Efforts
Drug Control: Assests DOD Contributes to Reducing the Illegal Drug Supply Have Declined
Drug Control: DEA's Strategies and Operations in the 1990's
Drug Control: Narcotics Threat From Colombia Continues to Grow
Drug Control: INS and Customs Can Do More To Prevent Drug-Related Employee Corruption
Drug Control: U.S.-Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts Face Difficult Challenges
Drug Control: Status of Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
Drug Control: U.S. International Counternarcotics Activities
Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face Continuing Challenges
Drug Control: U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face Continuing Challenges
Drug Control: Planned Actions Should Clarify Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center's Impact
Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
 


Drug Control: DOD Allocates Fewer Assets to Drug Control Efforts (Testimony, 01/27/2000, GAO/T-NSIAD-00-77)

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the role of the
Department of Defense (DOD) in reducing the supply of illegal drugs
entering the United States, focusing on: (1) the decline in DOD's aerial
and maritime support allocated to counterdrug activities from fiscal years
1992 through 1999 and some of the consequences and reasons for the
decline; (2) the obstacles DOD faces in helping foreign governments
counter illegal drug activities; and (3) DOD's counterdrug strategy and
the need for performance measures to judge its counterdrug program effectiveness.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD has lead responsibility for aerial and maritime
detection and monitoring of illegal drug shipments to the United States;
(2) it also provides assistance and training to foreign governments to
combat drug-trafficking activities; (3) DOD supplies the ships, aircraft,
and radar to detect drug shipments, and training, equipment, and other
assistance to foreign governments; (4) DOD's counterdrug activities
support the efforts of U.S. law enforcement agencies, such as the
Customs Service and Coast Guard, and foreign governments to stem
the flow of illegal narcotics to the United States; (5) in fiscal year
(FY) 1998, DOD spent about $635 million to support these supply
reduction efforts; (6) since 1992, DOD's level of support to counter
drug-trafficking in Central and South America and the Caribbean has
significantly declined; (7) in FY 1999, U.S. Southern Command
reported that DOD was unable to meet 57 percent of the Command's
requests for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights to
support its detection and monitoring responsibilities; (8) according to
the Southern Command, the lack of assets hurts their ability to quickly
respond to changing drug-trafficking patterns; (9) as a result coverage
in key drug-trafficking routes to the United States is lower, leaving gaps
in detection areas; (10) DOD acknowledges that its coverage of key
drug-trafficking areas in South America and the Caribbean has gaps
and ascribes the decline in its support to the lower priority of the
counterdrug mission as compared to others such as war, peacekeeping,
and training, as well as decreases in its overall budget and force structure
during the 1990s; (11) DOD believes that despite the reduction in its
level of assets, its overall operations are more efficient, but DOD lacks
data to support this position; (12) DOD faces obstacles in providing
support to foreign government counterdrug efforts such as: (a) the
limited capabilities of foreign military and law enforcement organizations
to operate and repair the equipment and effectively use the training
provided by DOD; (b) training and intelligence restrictions to some
foreign military units and foreign counterdrug organizations based on
their record on human rights abuses and evidence of corruption within
these organizations; (13) DOD has plans and strategies that directly
support the goals of the U.S. National Drug Control Strategy to
reduce the demand and supply of illegal drugs; and (14) however,
DOD does not have a set of performance measures to evaluate its
counterdrug activities.

Drug Control: Assests DOD Contributes to Reducing the Illegal Drug Supply Have Declined (Letter Report, 12/21/1999, GAO/NSIAD-00-9)

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the assets the
Department of Defense (DOD) has contributed to reducing the illegal
drug supply, focusing on: (1) DOD's plan for supporting U.S. counterdrug
efforts and how DOD measures its effectiveness; (2) changes in the level
of DOD support for counterdrug activities from fiscal year (FY) 1992
through FY 1999 and the reasons for the changes; and (3) obstacles DOD
faces in providing counterdrug assistance to foreign governments.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD has plans and strategies that support the goal
of reducing the nation's illegal drug supply by providing military personnel,
detection and monitoring equipment, intelligence support, communication
systems, and training; (2) however, DOD has not yet developed a set
of performance measures to assess its effectiveness in contributing to this
goal but has taken some initial steps to develop such measures; (3) these
steps include the development of a database to capture information that
can be used to assess the relative performance of DOD's detection and
monitoring assets; (4) DOD's level of support to international drug control
efforts has declined significantly since 1992; (5) some of the decline in air
and maritime support has been partially offset by increased support provided
by the Coast Guard and Customs Service; (6) nevertheless, DOD officials
have stated that coverage in key, high-threat drug-trafficking areas in the
Caribbean and in cocaine-producing countries is limited; (7) the decline in
assets DOD uses to carry out its counterdrug responsibilities is due to:
(a) the lower priority assigned to the counterdrug mission compared with
that assigned to other military missions that might involve contact with hostile
forces such as peacekeeping; and (b) overall reductions in defense budgets
and force levels; (8) DOD officials believe that their operations are more
efficient today than in the past and that this has partially offset the decline
in assets available for counterdrug operations; (9) because of a lack of
data, however, the impact of the reduced level of DOD support on drug
trafficking is unknown; (10) DOD faces several challenges in providing
counterdrug support to host-nation military and law enforcement
organizations; (11) these organizations often lack the capability to operate
and repair equipment and effectively utilize training provided by the United
States; and (12) in addition, DOD faces restrictions on providing training
support to some foreign military units and sharing intelligence information
with certain host-nation counterdrug organizations because of past evidence
of human rights violations and corruption within these organizations.

Drug Control: DEA'S Strategies and Operations in the 1990's (Chapter Report, 07/21/1999, GAO/GGD-99-108)

High demand for illegal drugs in the United States has persisted
throughout the 1990s, as has the flow of illegal drugs into this
country. The cost of illegal drug use in this country has been
pegged at about $110 billion annually, including lost jobs and
productivity, health problems, and economic hardships to families.
Also, many violent crimes are drug related. Funding for federal
drug control efforts has risen by nearly 50 percent during the 1990s,
reaching about $18 billion in fiscal year 1999. Funding for the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) nearly doubled, from $806 million
in 1990 to about $1.5 billion in 1999. DEA staff grew from 6,000
in 1990 to 8,400 in 1998. During the 1990s, DEA strengthened many
of its operations. The agency began to work more closely with state
and local law enforcement and help combat drug-related violent crime
in local communities. DEA intercepted the communications of drug
trafficking groups at home and abroad in order to target their leaders
and dismantle their operations. DEA began to participate in two interagency
programs to investigate major drug trafficking groups in Latin America
and Asia. DEA also changed its foreign operations by screening and training
special foreign policy units to combat drug trafficking in key foreign
countries. DEA has major responsibilities under the Office of National
Drug Control Policy's national drug control strategy for reducing the drug
supply. However, DEA has yet to develop measurable performance targets
for its programs and initiatives that are consistent with those adopted for
the national strategy. Consequently, it is difficult to assess how successful
DEA's programs have been in reducing the supply of illegal drugs into the
United States. GAO summarized this report in testimony before Congress;
see: Drug Control: DEA's Strategies and Operations in the 1990s, by
Norman J. Rabkin, Director of Administration of Justice Issues, before the
Subcommittee on Crime, House Committee on the Judiciary.
GAO/T-GGD-99-149, July 29 (13 pages).

Drug Control: Narcotics Threat From Colombia Continues to Grow
(Letter Report, 06/22/99, GAO/NSIAD-99-136)

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the
narcotics threat from Colombia, focusing on: (1) the nature of the drug
threat from Colombia; (2) recent initiatives of the Colombian government
to address the threat, and obstacles it faces; and (3) the status of U.S.
efforts to assist the Colombian government in furthering its counternarcotics
activities and reducing the flow of illegal narcotics to the United States.

GAO noted that: (1) despite the efforts of U.S. and Colombian authorities,
the illegal narcotics threat from Colombia has grown; (2) Colombia remains
the primary source country for cocaine products for the U.S. market;
(3) for the third year in a row, coca cultivation has increased so that
Colombia is now the world's leading cultivator of coca; (4) more potent
coca leaf is being grown within Colombia, which is likely to lead to an
estimated 50-percent increase in cocaine production in the next 2 years;
(5) Colombia is now the major supplier of heroin to the eastern part
of the United States; (6) the Colombian government has lost a number
of battles to insurgent groups who, along with paramilitary groups, have
increased their involvement in illicit narcotics activities and gained greater
control over large portions of Colombia where drug-trafficking activities
occur; (7) the government of Colombia has undertaken a number of
initiatives to address the narcotics threat; (8) these include: (a) the initiation
of peace talks with the insurgents; (b) the development of a national drug
control strategy; (c) the establishment of a joint military-police task force to
combat drug traffickers; (d) the development of a new counternarcotics
unit within the Colombian army that will be fully screened for human rights
abuses; and (e) the implementation of legislative reforms on extradition,
money laundering, and asset forfeiture; (9) in 1998, these efforts led to the
seizure of record amounts of cocaine and arrests of drug traffickers; (10)
the government of Colombia faces a formidable challenge in overcoming
a number of significant obstacles in addressing the narcotics problem;
(11) the Colombian military has several institutional weaknesses that have
limited its capability to support counternarcotics operations; (12)
government corruption, budgetary constraints, and a weak judicial
system have hindered the Colombian government's ability to reduce drug-trafficking
activities; (13) the United States has had limited success in
achieving its primary objective of reducing the flow of illegal drugs from
Colombia; (14) despite 2 years of extensive herbicide spraying, U.S.
estimates show there has not been any net reduction in coca cultivation
--net coca cultivation actually increased 50 percent; and (15) the growing
involvement and strength of insurgent groups in the areas where coca and
opium poppy are grown complicate U.S. support for counternarcotics activities.



Drug Control: INS and Customs Can Do More To Prevent Drug-Related Employee Corruption
(Chapter Report, 03/30/99, GAO/GGD-99-31).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Immigration and
Naturalization Service's (INS) and the U.S. Customs Service's efforts to
address employee corruption on the Southwest Border, focusing on: (1)
the extent to which INS and Customs have and comply with policies and
procedures for ensuring employee integrity; (2) identifying and
comparing the Department of Justice's (DOJ) and Department of the
Treasury's organizational structures, policies, and procedures for
handling allegations of drug-related employee misconduct and whether the
policies and procedures are followed; (3) the types of illegal
drug-related activities in which INS and Customs employees on the
Southwest Border have been involved; and (4) the extent to which lessons
learned from corruption cases closed in fiscal years 1992 through 1997
have led to changes in policies and procedures for preventing the
drug-related corruption of INS and Customs employees.

GAO noted that: (1) both INS and Customs have policies and procedures
designed to ensure the integrity of their employees; (2) however,
neither agency is taking full advantage of its policies, procedures, and
the lessons to be learned from closed corruption cases to fully address
the increased threat of employee corruption on the Southwest Border; (3)
these policies and procedures consist mainly of mandatory background
investigations for new staff and 5-year reinvestigations of employees,
as well as basic integrity training; (4) while the agencies generally
completed background investigations for new hires by the end of their
first year on the job, as required, reinvestigations were typically
overdue, in some instances, by as many as 3 years; (5) both INS and
Customs said the basic training that new employees are to receive
includes integrity training; (6) agency records for 284 of 301 randomly
selected INS and Customs employees on the Southwest Border showed that
they received several hours of integrity training as part of their basic
training; (7) DOJ and Treasury have different organizational structures
but similar policies and procedures for handling allegations of
drug-related misconduct by INS and Customs employees; (8) DOJ's Office
of the Inspector General (OIG) is generally responsible for
investigating criminal allegations against INS employees; (9) GAO found
that the Justice OIG generally complies with its policies and
procedures; (10) at the Treasury, Customs' Office of Internal Affairs is
generally responsible for investigating both criminal and noncriminal
allegations against Customs employees; (11) GAO could not assess
Customs' compliance with its procedures because its automated case
management system and case files did not provide the necessary
information; (12) some INS and Customs employees on the Southwest Border
have engaged in a variety of illegal drug-related activities; (13) INS
and Customs have missed opportunities to learn lessons and change their
policies and procedures for preventing the drug-related corruption of
their employees; (14) the Justice OIG and Customs' Internal Affairs
Office are required to formally report internal control weaknesses
identified from closed corruption cases, but have not done so; and (15)
GAO's review of 28 cases involving INS and Customs employees assigned to
the Southwest Border, who were convicted of drug-related crimes in
fiscal years 1992-1997, revealed internal control weaknesses that were
not formally reported or corrected.


Drug Control: U.S.-Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts Face Difficult Challenges
(Letter Report, 06/30/98, GAO/NSIAD-98-154).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided an update on the
status of counternarcotics activities in Mexico, focusing on: (1) the
nature of the drug threat from Mexico; (2) the progress that Mexico has
made in improving its counternarcotics efforts; (3) issues related to
the provision of U.S. counternarcotics assistance to the Mexican
military; and (4) the plans that the U.S. government has to assess the
effectiveness of U.S. and Mexican counternarcotics efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) Mexico continues to be the primary transit country
for cocaine entering the United States from South America, as well as a
major source country for heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines; (2)
according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, drug-trafficking
organizations are increasing their activities, posing a threat to
citizens in the United States and Mexico; (3) Mexico, with U.S.
assistance, has taken steps to improve its capacity to reduce the flow
of illegal drugs into the United States by: (a) increasing the
eradication of marijuana and opium poppy and seizing significant amounts
of cocaine; (b) enhancing its counternarcotics cooperation with the
United States; (c) initiating efforts to extradite Mexican criminals to
the United States; (d) passing new laws on organized crime, money
laundering, and chemical control; and (e) instituting reforms in law
enforcement agencies and expanding the role of the military in
counternarcotics activities to reduce corruption; (4) the results of
these actions have yet to be realized because many of them are in the
early stages of implementation and some are limited in scope; (5) also,
the Mexican government faces a shortage of trained personnel, a lack of
adequate funding to support operations, and extensive corruption; (6)
U.S. counternarcotics assistance has enhanced the ability of the Mexican
military to conduct counternarcotics missions by allowing it to perform
reconnaissance, increase eradication missions, and bolster the air
mobility of its ground troops; (7) however, key elements of the
Department of Defense's counternarcotics assistance were of limited
usefulness or could have been better planned and coordinated by U.S. and
Mexican military officials; (8) although the Mexican government has
agreed to a series of actions to enhance its counternarcotics capacity
and the United States has begun to provide a larger level of assistance,
no performance measures have been established to assess the
effectiveness of these efforts; and (9) the Office of National Drug
Control Policy has recognized the need to develop such measures and has
indicated that it plans to devise methods for evaluating U.S. and
Mexican counternarcotics performance by the end of 1998 as part of the
binational drug control strategy.


Drug Control: Status of Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico (Testimony,
03/18/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-98-129).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its work on the
counternarcotics efforts of the United States in Mexico, focusing on
the: (1) nature of the drug threat from Mexico and results of efforts to
address this threat; (2) planning and coordination of U.S.
counternarcotics assistance to the Mexican military; and (3) need to
establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of U.S. and
Mexican counternarcotics efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) Mexico is the principle transit country for cocaine
entering the United States and, despite U.S. and Mexican
counternarcotics efforts, the flow of illegal drugs into the United
States from Mexico has not significantly diminished; (2) no country
poses a more immediate narcotics threat to the United States than
Mexico, according to the Department of State; (3) the 2,000-mile
U.S.-Mexican border and the daunting volume of legitimate cross-border
traffic provide near-limitless opportunities for smuggling illicit
drugs, weapons, and proceeds of crime, and for escape by fugitives; (4)
Mexico, with U.S. assistance, has taken steps to improve its capacity to
reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States; (5) among other
things, the Mexican government has taken action that could potentially
lead to the extradition of drug criminals to the United States and
passed new laws on organized crime, money laundering, and chemical
control; (6) it has also instituted reforms in law enforcement agencies
and expanded the role of the military in counternarcotics activities to
reduce corruption--the most significant impediment to successfully
diminishing drug-related activities; (7) while Mexico's actions
represent positive steps, it is too early to determine their impact, and
challenges to their full implementation remain; (8) no Mexico national
has actually been surrendered to the United States on drug charges, new
laws are not fully implemented, and building competent judicial and law
enforcement institutions continues to be a major challenge; (9) since
fiscal year 1996, Department of Defense (DOD) has provided the Mexican
military with $76 million worth of equipment, training, and spare parts;
(10) the Mexican military has used this equipment to improve its
counternarcotics efforts; (11) however, due, in part, to inadequate
planning and coordination within DOD, the assistance provided has been
of limited effectiveness and usefulness; (12) improved planning and
coordination could improve Mexico's counternarcotics effectiveness; (13)
although the Mexican government has agreed to a series of actions to
improve its counternarcotics capacity, and the United States has begun
to provide a larger level of assistance, at the present time there is no
system in place to assess their effectiveness; and (14) even though the
United States and Mexico have recently issued a binational drug control
strategy, it does not include performance measures.



Drug Control: Status of U.S. International Counternarcotics Activities
(Testimony, 03/12/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-98-116).

GAO discussed its observations on the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to
combat drug production and the movement of drugs into the United States,
focusing on: (1) the challenges of addressing international
counternarcotics issues; (2) obstacles to implementation of U.S. drug
control efforts; and (3) areas requiring attention to improve the
operational effectiveness of U.S. drug control efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) despite long-standing efforts and expenditures of
billions of dollars, illegal drugs still flood the United States; (2)
although U.S. counternarcotics efforts have resulted in the arrest of
major drug traffickers, the seizure of large amounts of drugs, and the
eradication of illicit drug crops, they have not materially reduced the
availability of drugs in the United States; (3) the United States and
drug-producing and -transiting nations face a number of obstacles in
attempting to reduce the production of and trafficking in illegal drugs;
(4) international drug-trafficking organizations are sophisticated,
multibillion-dollar industries that quickly adapt to new U.S. drug
control efforts; (5) as success is achieved in one area, the
drug-trafficking organizations change tactics, thwarting U.S. efforts;
(6) there are also other obstacles that impede U.S. and drug producing
and -transiting countries' drug control efforts; (7) in the
drug-producing and -transiting countries, counternarcotics efforts are
constrained by corruption, competing economic and political policies,
inadequate laws, limited resources and institutional capabilities, and
internal problems such as terrorism and civil unrest; (8) morever, drug
traffickers are increasingly resourceful in corrupting the countries'
institutions; (9) for its part, the United States has not been able to
maintain a well-organized and consistently funded international
counternarcotics program; (10) U.S. efforts have also been hampered by
competing U.S. foreign policy objectives, organizational and operational
limitations, and the lack of clear goals and objectives; (11) since
GAO's February 1997 report, some countries, with U.S. assistance, have
taken steps to improve their capacity to reduce the flow of illegal
drugs into the United States; (12) these countries have taken action to
extradite drug criminals; enacted legislation to control organized
crime, money laundering, and chemicals used in the production of illicit
drugs; and instituted reforms to reduce corruption; and (13) while these
actions represent positive steps, it is too early to determine their
impact, and challenges remain.



Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face Continuing
Challenges (Testimony, 02/26/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-98-103).

GAO discussed its review of counternarcotics efforts in Colombia,
focusing on: (1) the nature of the drug-trafficking threat in and from
Colombia; (2) the political, economic, and operational implications of
the U.S. decisions to decertify Colombia in 1996 and 1997; and (3) U.S.
efforts to plan and manage counternarcotics activities in Colombia.

GAO noted that: (1) the narcotics threat from Colombia continues and may
be expanding, as Colombia remains the world's leading manufacturer and
distributor of cocaine; (2) according to recent reports, the cultivation
of coca leaf in Colombia increased by 50 percent between 1994 and 1996,
and the prevalence of Colombian heroin on the streets of the United
States has steadily increased; (3) significant obstacles, such as
corruption, violence, and involvement of Colombian insurgent groups in
drug-trafficking, impede U.S. and Colombian counternarcotics efforts;
(4) since the initial decertification decision in March 1996, Colombia
has taken several actions to address U.S. concerns, but U.S. officials
believe Colombia must now fully implement newly passed laws on asset
forfeiture, money-laundering, and trafficker sentencing and show a
willingness to investigate and punish corrupt officials; (5)
decertification had little impact on Colombia's economy because
discretionary sanctions were not applied by the President; (6) however,
mandatory economic sanctions required by the decertification decisions
led to the termination of some U.S. economic aid and resulted in actions
that may have hurt some U.S. businesses; (7) when the initial
decertification decision was made in March 1996, the Department of State
was not prepared to determine whether some assistance intended for
Colombian police and military could continue to be provided; (8) it took
State, in conjunction with other executive branch agencies, about 8
months to make this decision, resulting in the delay or cancellation of
about $35 million in programmed counternarcotics assistance; (9) the
U.S. counternarcotics program in Colombia has continued to experience
management challenges, (10) State and the U.S. Embassy were unprepared
for the financial consequences of State's 1996 decision to expand aerial
crop eradication; (11) due to unplanned expenditures to support the
effort, other Embassy counternarcotics activities, including
interdiction efforts, demand reduction within Colombia, and efforts to
strengthen Colombian law enforcement institutions, were scaled back or
lost support; (12) State did not take adequate steps to ensure that
equipment included in a $40 million assistance package from Department
of Defense inventories could be integrated into the Embassy's plans and
strategies to support the Colombian forces; (13) as a result, the
package included items that had limited usefulness; and (14) assistance
was delayed for months while State and the Embassy sought to ensure that
assistance was not going to units suspected of human rights violations.



Drug Control: U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face Continuing
Challenges (Chapter Report, 02/12/98, GAO/NSIAD-98-60).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of drug
control efforts in Colombia and the impact of the 1996 and 1997 U.S.
decisions to decertify Colombia as a drug-fighting ally, focusing on:
(1) the nature of the drug-trafficking threat from Colombia; (2) the
political, economic, and operational implications of the decertification
decisions; and (3) U.S. efforts to plan and manage counternarcotics
activities in Colombia.

GAO noted that: (1) the narcotics threat from Colombia remains and may
be growing, and U.S. efforts in Colombia continue to face major
challenges; (2) the United States has had limited success in persuading
the Colombian government to take aggressive actions to address
corruption within the government, which limits its ability to arrest and
convict traffickers; (3) for its part, the United States has had
difficulty implementing a well-planned and coordinated strategy to
assist Colombian authorities; (4) according to recent Department of
State and Drug Enforcement Administration reports, the cultivation of
coca leaf in Colombia increased by 50 percent between 1994 and 1996, and
the prevalence of Colombian heroin on the streets of the United States
has steadily increased; (5) since the initial decertification decision
in March 1996, Colombia has taken several actions to address U.S.
concerns; (6) at the initial decertification decision in March 1996,
State was not prepared to determine whether some programmed assistance
intended for the Colombian police and military could continue to be
provided; (7) it took State, in conjunction with other executive branch
agencies, about 8 months to decide what could be provided; (8) as a
consequence, about $35 million in programmed counternarcotics assistance
was cancelled or delayed; (9) however, the overall operational
implications of the cut off on U.S. and Colombian counternarcotics
program is unclear; (10) the U.S. counternarcotics effort in Colombia
has continued to experience management challenges; (11) State did not
take adequate steps to ensure that equipment included in a 1996 $40
million assistance package from the Department of Defense inventories
could be integrated into the U.S. Embassy's plans and strategies to
support the Colombian police and military counternarcotics forces; (12)
as a result, the assistance package contained items that had limited
immediate usefulness to the Colombian police and military and will
require substantial additional funding to become operational; and (13)
moreover, the military assistance was also delayed for 10 months because
State and the Embassy could not reach agreement with the government of
Colombia over acceptable end-use provisions to ensure that the
assistance was not being provided to units suspected of human rights
violations.



Drug Control: Planned Actions Should Clarify Counterdrug Technology
Assessment Center's Impact (Letter Report, 02/03/98, GAO/GGD-98-28).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the operations and
contributions of the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC),
focusing on: (1) how CTAC coordinates its counterdrug research and
development (R&D) efforts with other federal agencies to address
counterdrug R&D needs that are not being met by other agencies and to
avoid unnecessary duplication; and (2) what contributions CTAC has made
to counterdrug R&D efforts since its creation.

GAO noted that: (1) CTAC has a coordination process in place for
identifying counterdrug technology needs and selecting and funding R&D
projects to meet those needs; (2) however, GAO identified the following
shortcomings in CTAC's design and execution of the process: (a) the
Science and Technology (S&T) Committee's charter, which was created
before CTAC existed, does not reflect the Committee's current
composition, responsibilities, and relationship to CTAC; (b) CTAC did
not regularly and consistently involve the S&T Committee in its
coordination process; (c) CTAC did not regularly evaluate and prioritize
the agencies' counterdrug R&D technology needs to ensure that it funded
otherwise unfunded projects with the highest priority; (d) CTAC did not
systematically identify and consider the counterdrug technology needs of
state and local agencies, in conjunction with federal agencies' needs,
as part of its regular process for selecting and funding projects, and
state and local agencies were only recently represented on the S&T
Committee; (e) agencies generally did not submit transitional or
acquisition plans to CTAC; and (f) although a few agencies cited
instances where duplication was avoided as a result of CTAC's efforts,
CTAC had not developed any means for determining the extent to which
unnecessary duplication had been identified and avoided due to its
efforts; (3) as a result of these shortcomings, neither GAO nor CTAC
could determine the extent to which its coordination process was meeting
its mission; (4) GAO's task of determining CTAC's contribution to
federal drug control efforts was complicated by CTAC's lack of
meaningful performance measures to enable it to: (a) assess its progress
in achieving its mission and contributing to the development and
deployment of counterdrug technology; and (b) identify and implement any
needed improvements to better achieve its mission; (5) CTAC's Chief
Scientist told GAO that he considered not just technologies that are
completed and in use as contributions, but also uncompleted projects
that have reached various stages of development; and (6) the contact
officials of the lead R&D agencies identified by CTAC told GAO that they
considered 10 of the 36 projects cited as contributions by CTAC to be
actual contributions.



Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico (Letter Report,
06/12/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-163).

Hampered by declining U.S. funding, staff cutbacks, and corruption among
key Mexican institutions, drug interdiction efforts in Mexico have
failed to stem the flow of illegal drugs reaching the United States.
Mexico remains the primary transit route for cocaine, heroin, marijuana,
and methamphetamine smuggled into this country. U.S. narcotics
activities in Mexico and the transit zone have declined since 1992. U.S.
funding for counternarcotics efforts in the transit zone and Mexico fell
from $1 billion in fiscal year 1992 to $570 million in fiscal year 1995.
Moreover, since 1992, direct U.S. assistance to Mexico has been
negligible because of Mexico's 1993 policy of refusing most U.S.
counternarcotics assistance. Staffing reductions in the State
Department's Narcotics Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico
City have limited monitoring of earlier U.S. assistance, mainly
helicopters and spare parts. Since GAO's June 1995 testimony before
Congress (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182), the U.S. embassy has elevated drug
control issues in importance and has developed a drug control operating
plan with measurable goals; the Mexican government has indicated a
willingness to develop a mutual counternarcotics assistance program and
has taken action on important law enforcement and money laundering
legislation; and the United States and Mexico have created a framework
for greater cooperation and are expected to develop a joint
counternarcotics strategy by the end of the year. Following through on
these efforts is critical to combatting drug trafficking in Mexico. GAO
summarized this report in testimony before Congress; see: Drug Control:
Observations on Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico, by Benjamin F.
Nelson, Director of International Relations and Trade Issues, before the
Subcommittee on National Security, International Relations and Criminal
Justice, House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.
GAO/T-NSIAD-96-182, June 12 (10 pages).


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