“Countering Drugs: Communicate the ‘Why’” –USNI Proceedings

US Naval Institute Proceedings web site has a well argued case for attempting to better explain the rationale for the Coast Guard’s drug enforcement operations to both its members and to the public. It was written by By Lieutenant Commander Jeff Garvey, USCG.

As a law enforcement and military arm, it is imperative that the Coast Guard fight violent TCOs, enforce our sovereign border, and maintain the rule of law that holds our society together. We cannot rest, as the work will never be finished. If the nation decides to alter our drug laws, that may change but not end the overall effort. As Plato pronounced, we are the guardians of the Republic, but guardians are humans who need a visceral understanding of the “why” behind their mission. Coast Guardsmen need to understand they are fighting transnational criminals, protecting our borders, and upholding the law.

There was one paragraph that, I thought particularly interesting.

Unfortunately, many Coast Guard and law enforcement partners are still focused on drug busts as the end result. Tactical questioning and intelligence collection for boarding teams is often a side effort and not a key line of effort. If we have information on a maritime drug shipment, the best course of action may not be to interdict it at sea, but rather to follow it or turn a crew member to get a more complete understanding of the network. This requires a change in mindset and how we build and share information across the interagency. Our measures of success should focus on how we are building an understanding of networks and dismantling them, not just the quantity of drugs seized. Understanding networks is harder to quantify and will take longer, but it will yield a more significant and lasting impact.

3 thoughts on ““Countering Drugs: Communicate the ‘Why’” –USNI Proceedings

  1. I somewhat agree with the assertion that the busts are not the end
    goal. After a few years in the RS and AG with CTF 55 /
    CDS 50 immediately prior to conducting CIT operations brought a
    different mind and skill set to bear. But this is where the C4F MIOC
    and JIATF-S are imperative and informative. The team at C4F did a lot
    to keep me engaged in the end-game, and the Navy skills learned in the AG paid huge dividends in CIT operations.

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