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Friday, May 24, 2024

GAO: Report Highlights DoD Challenges in Counternarcotics Coordination and Effectiveness Assessment

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is facing challenges in its efforts to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs such as cocaine and fentanyl, a significant threat to national security. In response, the DoD has established a joint operation area that includes the western U.S. border and parts of Latin America to monitor and intercept drug trafficking. However, an assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed shortcomings in coordination and the evaluation of the effectiveness of these counternarcotics activities.

From fiscal year 2018 to 2022, funding for DoD’s counternarcotics operations saw a reduction from approximately $750 million to $580 million. The majority of these funds in fiscal year 2022 were allocated to detection and monitoring activities, with a smaller portion dedicated to intelligence and support efforts, including the construction of training facilities in partner nations.

Despite these efforts, there is confusion among DoD’s six geographic combatant commands, which are responsible for operations in designated areas. Three of these commands have overlapping responsibilities in the joint operation area, leading to uncertainties about who manages specific air and naval operations. This confusion has persisted because these commands have not fully documented their roles and responsibilities, hindering the efficiency of operations aimed at disrupting drug trafficking routes.

Furthermore, the GAO report criticizes the DoD for not assessing the overall effectiveness of its counternarcotics activities. The department has established strategic objectives and performance goals but lacks measurable outcomes for these objectives. Consequently, the DoD is unable to gauge progress or the impact of its efforts effectively. Additionally, there is no clear plan for future assessments, which are crucial for refining strategies and ensuring resources are allocated optimally.

This GAO study was conducted in response to provisions in the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, underscoring the legislative concern over narcotics and organized crime as they pertain to national security. The findings suggest that the DoD must improve its documentation of command responsibilities and develop a robust framework for evaluating the effectiveness of its counternarcotics efforts. Addressing these issues will be vital for enhancing the United States’ ability to combat drug trafficking and safeguard its borders. For a deeper dive into the complexities and recommendations surrounding the DoD’s counternarcotics strategies.

Read the full GAO report here.

author avatar
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.

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