Combating Transnational Organized Crime (TOC)

The Administration has recently published its “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime” (TOC).

There is commentary from Stewart M. Patrick at Council on Foreign Relations here and from Chris Rawley at Informationdissemination here.

This is certainly a topic that deserves some attention, particularly with the emergence of apparent links between terrorists, criminals, and hostile state actors.

The “strategy” is fairly long and general. It includes 56 “priority actions,” so once again we have decided to do everything everywhere–When you have 56 priorities, you have no priorities.

There is only one specific reference to the Coast Guard. In the section “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Strengthen Interdiction, Investigations, and Prosecutions,” the Coast Guard does not get a mention, although ICE, CBP, and Secret Service do.  It does include the following, as one of ten priority actions in this subsection, “Strengthen efforts to interdict illicit trafficking in the air and maritime domains.” for what that is worth. The section “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Disrupt Drug Trafficking and Its Facilitation of Other Transnational Threats” includes the following reference to the CG, “We must attack these organizations as close to the source as we can by forward deploying our law enforcement and intelligence assets. All-source intelligence is used by U.S. Coast Guard assets in the transit zone to extend our borders by interdicting and apprehending traffickers.” I’m not sure why that was in a strategy, but there seem to be examples of “good work” agencies are doing throughout the document that suggest this is more PR than an actionable plan.

The Section “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Start at Home: Taking Shared Responsibility for Transnational Organized Crime” which talks about efforts to stem the flow of guns south from the US to Mexico does raise the question in my own mind, Is the Coast Guard attempting to stop the shipment of weapons out of the US by sea?

The document has some interesting material. If it had a different title, I might have been less critical, but unfortunately this is not a strategy, which would have identified objectives, forces allocated, actions to be taken, and milestones to be achieved. There is no attempt to identify the enemy’s Center of Gravity or “Schwerpunkt.” This is just a series of laundry lists–of threats, programs that have had some success, things we hope to accomplish, and conferences to be held, without any application of judgment or priority.

 

5 thoughts on “Combating Transnational Organized Crime (TOC)

  1. “The document has some interesting material. If it had a different title, I might have been less critical, but unfortunately this is not a strategy, which would have identified objectives, forces allocated, actions to be taken, and milestones to be achieved. There is no attempt to identify the enemy’s Center of Gravity or “Schwerpunkt.” This is just a series of laundry lists–of threats, programs that have had some success, things we hope to accomplish, and conferences to be held, without any application of judgment or priority.”

    Well said.

    Some of us tried to make it a real strategy, but the NSS was not interested in real results, just something that they could produce and have a press conference to say “look what we did.” As you point out, it is mere PR, not an actionable plan. It will not produce a single change in the way federal law enforcement operates on a daily basis.

    It doesn’t even have an attractive cover. If it did, it would at least have looked good sitting on a table in the office, which is what most governmental “strategies” end up doing – serving as an office prop.

    • Great point Mouse!

      I also think it is noteworthy that this site of Trotskyists has criticized this administration for the first time ever in its history.

      • Wow, I’ve been called a war-monger before, but never a Trotskyist. The site is about the Coast Guard, that is where I try to keep the focus. This was about one of the Coast Guard’s missions, and so far none of the administrations has “administered” it very well.

      • The concept of guilty by association is enough to stigmitize anything you might have to say about the Coast Guard, Chuck.

        Back on topic, I agree none has administered it very well, but this one promised us all they were smarter and better than any other which had came before, which is why they get no quarter from me on the issue.

      • For the past 14 months I’ve written 95% of the posts on the blog so you’ll understand if I thought you were talking about me.

        Every administration thinks it is way smarter than the guys who went before. But if you write something and you call it a strategy, but it isn’t a strategy, it’s worse than having a bad strategy, because you don’t even have something to improve. It shows a total lack of understanding of where to start.

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