WASHINGTON: As terrorist groups increasingly work with drug gangs and other international criminals, they pose new threats to the United States – but they also create new vulnerabilities that savvy Americans can use to attack them, said the Pentagon’s top drug war expert, William Wechsler.
The US needs to go beyond thinking of terrorist groups purely as terrorists and attack them “as business enterprises and criminal enterprises,” said Wechsler, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, addressing a small audience at the annual irregular warfare conference hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, IDGA. Tactically, Wechsler said, that approach offers new ways to target terrorist finances and logistics. Strategically, it opens the possibility of a moral judo in which the terrorists discredit themselves. When the US exposes terrorists’ ties to crime, said Wechsler, “it undermines their support within their own populations because most people in the world don’t like this kind of activity. There aren’t a lot of people in the world who love drug trafficking and think it would be great if their son or daughter was hooked on drugs.” Keep reading →
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: The Coast Guard is shrinking and may have to cut back on traditional missions like fisheries protection and drug interdiction to free up resources for new issues like cybersecurity and the thawing of the Arctic, warned the service’s commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp, this morning at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space convention. Keep reading →
The Air Force’s MC-12 Liberty surveillance plane, in heavy use in Afghanistan, is one of the scarce assets Southern Command chief Gen. Doug Fraser hopes to see freed up for drug interdiction as the war winds down.
The U.S. military command covering South America intercepts only about a third of the drug shipments and other illegal traffic that it knows about, because it and allied nations simply lack the assets to intercept most of the suspect boats and aircraft that their intelligence identifies, locates, and tracks. That shortfall in interception results in part from a shrinking U.S. Navy and the diversion of Air Force reconnaissance assets to the war zone in Afghanistan. “We intercept about 33 percent of what we know is out there, and that’s just a limitation on the number of assets,” said Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, chief of the U.S. Southern Command, at a breakfast with reporters this morning. And, Fraser admitted, that percentage is “going down… More is getting through.” Keep reading →