International Drug Trafficking- A Growing National Security Concern for Low Intensity Conflict   [open pdf - 5MB]

"Since 1981, U.S. authorities repeatedly recognized international drug trafficking as a national security concern, domestic legal restrictions were lifted to allow military support to civil law enforcement agencies, and the U.S. armed forces provided increasingly unprecedented levels of assistance. However, the levels of drug abuse nationwide continue to increase, the drug threat from Third World and domestic sources continues to expand, and drug-related destabilizing events in the Third World may well serve as a catalyst for future low-intensity conflict (LIC). The U.S. military finds itself with an unwanted but legislated and formal mission--lead agency for air and maritime detection and monitoring of drug smuggling to the United States. Accordingly, formally stated national security concerns, the long-term nature of the drug problem, and the newly legislated U.S. military mission warrant a careful review of future domestic and overseas involvement in the war on drugs. Several significant and presently debated counterdrug issues deserve high-level consideration. These include the further possibilities for legislated changes that eliminate legal restrictions and increase the military role; expanded foreign involvement; organizational questions; and military budgeting/acquisition alternatives. This paper addresses these issues and their implications for our future Air Force."

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