"Mention military involvement in counter-drugs, and the fictional Tom Clancy-conceived scenario above may provide the sort of images that come to the average American's mind. Bloody, violent acts committed against culpable drug smugglers are the stuff of best-selling fiction, but they are just that--fiction. The reality of military support is not so dramatic, but it constitutes a solid contribution to law enforcement and valuable, real-world training for the participating units. This is true wherever the military is involved and especially on the Southwest land border. Although the military has provided counter-drug support for a number of years, the issue came to the fore in the fall of 1989 when President Bush declared drug abuse to be the gravest domestic problem facing our nation and a threat to the national security. These sentiments were seconded by Secretary of Defense Cheney. who declared, The detection and countering of the production, trafficking, and use of illegal drugs is a high priority national security mission of the Department of Defense. Cheney further charged the military's major commanders with hemispheric responsibilities to draft plans on how they could contribute to the counter-drug effort. That these statements were reaffirmed one year later in the midst of Desert Shield is testament to their enduring importance and a tocsin call for military support. The danger that drugs pose to our nation needs little elaboration."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/