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Drug Control: Status of U.S. International Counternarcotics Activities (Testimony, 03/12/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-98-116).

GAO discussed its observations on the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to
combat drug production and the movement of drugs into the United States,
focusing on: (1) the challenges of addressing international
counternarcotics issues; (2) obstacles to implementation of U.S. drug
control efforts; and (3) areas requiring attention to improve the
operational effectiveness of U.S. drug control efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) despite long-standing efforts and expenditures of
billions of dollars, illegal drugs still flood the United States; (2)
although U.S. counternarcotics efforts have resulted in the arrest of
major drug traffickers, the seizure of large amounts of drugs, and the
eradication of illicit drug crops, they have not materially reduced the
availability of drugs in the United States; (3) the United States and
drug-producing and -transiting nations face a number of obstacles in
attempting to reduce the production of and trafficking in illegal drugs;
(4) international drug-trafficking organizations are sophisticated,
multibillion-dollar industries that quickly adapt to new U.S. drug
control efforts; (5) as success is achieved in one area, the
drug-trafficking organizations change tactics, thwarting U.S. efforts;
(6) there are also other obstacles that impede U.S. and drug producing
and -transiting countries' drug control efforts; (7) in the
drug-producing and -transiting countries, counternarcotics efforts are
constrained by corruption, competing economic and political policies,
inadequate laws, limited resources and institutional capabilities, and
internal problems such as terrorism and civil unrest; (8) morever, drug
traffickers are increasingly resourceful in corrupting the countries'
institutions; (9) for its part, the United States has not been able to
maintain a well-organized and consistently funded international
counternarcotics program; (10) U.S. efforts have also been hampered by
competing U.S. foreign policy objectives, organizational and operational
limitations, and the lack of clear goals and objectives; (11) since
GAO's February 1997 report, some countries, with U.S. assistance, have
taken steps to improve their capacity to reduce the flow of illegal
drugs into the United States; (12) these countries have taken action to
extradite drug criminals; enacted legislation to control organized
crime, money laundering, and chemicals used in the production of illicit
drugs; and instituted reforms to reduce corruption; and (13) while these
actions represent positive steps, it is too early to determine their
impact, and challenges remain.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  T-NSIAD-98-116
     TITLE:  Drug Control: Status of U.S. International Counternarcotics 
             Activities
      DATE:  03/12/98
   SUBJECT:  Narcotics
             Drug trafficking
             Political corruption
             Law enforcement
             International relations
             Foreign policies
             Strategic planning
             Budget cuts
             Foreign governments
             International cooperation
IDENTIFIER:  National Drug Control Strategy
             Caribbean
             Mexico
             Colombia
             Peru
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Before the Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs,
and Criminal Justice, Committee on Government Reform and Oversight,
House of Representatives

For Release on Delivery
Expected at
1:00 p.m., EST
Thursday,
March 12, 1998

DRUG CONTROL - STATUS OF U.S. 
INTERNATIONAL COUNTERNARCOTICS
ACTIVITIES

Statement for the Record by Benjamin F.  Nelson, Director,
International Relations and Trade Issues, National Security and
International Affairs Division

GAO/T-NSIAD-98-116

GAO/NSIAD-98-116T

Drug Control

(711331)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  DEA - Drug Enforcement Administration
  ONDCP - Office of National Drug Control Policy

============================================================ Chapter 0

Mr.  Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We are pleased to be able to provide this statement for the record
which summarizes our observations on the effectiveness of U.S. 
efforts to combat drug production and the movement of drugs into the
United States.  Specifically, this statement discusses (1) the
challenges of addressing international counternarcotics issues, (2)
obstacles to implementation of U.S.  drug control efforts, and (3)
areas requiring attention to improve the operational effectiveness of
U.S.  drug control efforts.  The information in this statement is
based primarily on our February 1997 report, which was initiated at
the request of this Subcommittee.\1 (See also the list of related GAO
products at the end of this statement.)


--------------------
\1 Drug Control:  Long-Standing Problems Hinder U.S.  International
Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-97-75, Feb.  27, 1997). 


   SUMMARY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:1

Despite long-standing efforts and expenditures of billions of
dollars, illegal drugs still flood the United States.  Although U.S. 
counternarcotics efforts have resulted in the arrest of major drug
traffickers, the seizure of large amounts of drugs, and the
eradication of illicit drug crops, they have not materially reduced
the availability of drugs in the United States. 

The United States and drug-producing and -transiting nations face a
number of obstacles in attempting to reduce the production of and
trafficking in illegal drugs.  International drug-trafficking
organizations are sophisticated, multibillion-dollar industries that
quickly adapt to new U.S.  drug control efforts.  As success is
achieved in one area, the drug-trafficking organizations change
tactics, thwarting U.S.  efforts. 

There are also other obstacles that impede U.S.  and drug-producing
and -transiting countries' drug control efforts.  In the
drug-producing
and -transiting countries, counternarcotics efforts are constrained
by corruption, competing economic and political policies, inadequate
laws, limited resources and institutional capabilities, and internal
problems such as terrorism and civil unrest.  Moreover, drug
traffickers are increasingly resourceful in corrupting the countries'
institutions. 

For its part, the United States has not been able to maintain a
well-organized and consistently funded international counternarcotics
program.  U.S.  efforts have also been hampered by competing U.S. 
foreign policy objectives, organizational and operational
limitations, and the lack of clear goals and objectives. 

Since our February 1997 report, some countries, with U.S. 
assistance, have taken steps to improve their capacity to reduce the
flow of illegal drugs into the United States.  Among other things,
these countries have taken action to extradite drug criminals;
enacted legislation to control organized crime, money laundering, and
chemicals used in the production of illicit drugs; and instituted
reforms to reduce corruption.  While these actions represent positive
steps, it is too early to determine their impact, and challenges
remain. 

There is no panacea for resolving all of the problems associated with
illegal drug trafficking, but based on our work over the past 10
years, we believe U.S.  efforts could be better organized and that
implementation can be improved.  Thus, we recommended in our February
1997 report that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
develop a multiyear plan that includes performance measures and
long-term funding needs linked to the goals and objectives of the
international drug control strategy.\2 We believe such a plan
describing where, when, and how U.S.  agencies intend to apply
resources would provide a framework for the overall U.S.  effort.  In
February 1998, ONDCP issued its 1998 National Drug Control Strategy
and specific performance measures linked to the strategy.  We are
encouraged by ONDCP's latest effort to outline specific performance
measures to assess the effectiveness of its strategy. 


--------------------
\2 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-97-75, Feb.  27, 1997). 


   BACKGROUND
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:2

Illegal drug use, particularly of cocaine and heroin, continues to be
a serious health problem in the United States.  Under the National
Drug Control Strategy, the United States has established domestic and
international efforts to reduce the supply and demand for illegal
drugs.  Over the past 10 years, the United States has spent over $19
billion on international drug control and interdiction efforts to
reduce the supply of illegal drugs. 

The United States has developed a multifaceted drug control strategy
intended to reduce the supply and demand for illegal drugs.  The 1998
National Drug Control Strategy includes five goals:  (1) educate and
enable America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and
tobacco; (2) increase the safety of U.S.  citizens by substantially
lowering drug-related crime and violence; (3) reduce health and
social costs to the public of illegal drug use; (4) shield America's
air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug threat; and (5) break
foreign and domestic drug supply sources.  The last two goals are the
primary emphasis of U.S.  international drug control and interdiction
efforts.  These are aimed at assisting the source and transiting
nations\3 in their efforts to reduce drug cultivation and
trafficking, improve their capabilities and coordination, promote the
development of policies and laws, support research and technology,
and conduct other related initiatives. 

Section 490 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 requires the
President to annually certify which drug-producing and -transiting
countries are cooperating fully with the United States or taking
adequate steps on their own to achieve full compliance with the goals
and objectives established by the 1988 United Nations Convention
Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
during the previous year.\4 On February 26, 1998, the President
issued his certification in which
22 countries were certified; 4 were certified with a national
interest waiver (Cambodia, Colombia, Pakistan, and Paraguay); and 4
were denied certification or "decertified" (Afghanistan, Burma, Iran,
and Nigeria). 

ONDCP is responsible for producing the National Drug Control Strategy
and coordinating its implementation with other federal agencies. 
ONDCP has authority to review various agencies' funding levels to
ensure they are sufficient to meet the goals of the national
strategy, but it has no direct control over how these resources are
used.  The Departments of State and Defense and the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) are the principle agencies involved in
implementing the international portion of the drug control strategy. 
Other U.S.  agencies involved in counternarcotics activities overseas
include the U.S.  Agency for International Development, the U.S. 
Coast Guard, the U.S.  Customs Service, various U.S.  intelligence
organizations, and other U.S.  agencies. 


--------------------
\3 The major source countries for coca and cocaine are Colombia,
Bolivia, and Peru.  The major source nations for opium are Burma,
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Laos, Colombia, and Mexico.  The major drug
transit areas include Mexico, the eastern Pacific, the Caribbean, and
the nations of Central America. 

\4 Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C.  2291j). 


   ILLEGAL DRUGS REMAIN READILY
   AVAILABLE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

Over the past 10 years, the U.S.  agencies involved in
counternarcotics efforts have attempted to reduce the supply and
availability of illegal drugs in the United States through the
implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy.  Although they
have achieved some successes, the cultivation of drug crops has not
been reduced significantly, and cocaine, heroin, and other illegal
drugs remain readily available in the United States.  According to a
July 1997 report of the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers
Committee,\5 cocaine and heroin were readily available in all major
U.S.  metropolitan areas during 1996.  The report also states that
methamphetamine trafficking and abuse in the United States have been
increasing during the past few years. 

Despite long-term efforts by the United States and many
drug-producing countries to reduce drug cultivation and eradicate
illegal crops, the total net cultivation of coca leaf and opium poppy
has actually increased.  While the areas under cultivation have
changed from year to year, farmers have planted new coca faster than
existing crops have been eradicated.  For example, while the amount
of coca under cultivation in the primary growing area of Colombia was
reduced by 9,600 hectares\6 between 1996 and 1997, cultivation in two
other Colombian growing areas increased by 21,900 hectares during
this period.  Overall, there has been very little change in the net
area under coca cultivation since 1988.  At the same time, the amount
of opium poppy under cultivation increased by over 59,000 hectares,
or by more than 30 percent between 1988 and 1997. 

The amount of cocaine and heroin seized between 1990 and 1996 made
little impact on the availability of illegal drugs in the United
States and on the amount needed to satisfy the estimated U.S. 
demand.  The July 1997 report by the National Narcotics Intelligence
Consumers Committee estimates potential cocaine production at about
760 metric tons for 1996, of which about 200 metric tons were seized
worldwide.  The remaining amount was more than enough to meet U.S. 
demand, which is estimated at about 300 metric tons per year. 


--------------------
\5 The National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee is a
multiagency U.S.  government panel that was established in 1978 to
coordinate foreign and domestic collection, analysis, dissemination,
and evaluation of drug-related intelligence. 

\6 One hectare equals 2.47 acres. 


   DRUG-TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS
   HAVE SUBSTANTIAL RESOURCES,
   CAPABILITIES, AND OPERATIONAL
   FLEXIBILITY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4

A primary reason that U.S.  and foreign governments' counternarcotics
efforts are constrained is the growing power, influence,
adaptability, and capabilities of drug-trafficking organizations. 
Because of their enormous financial resources, power to corrupt
counternarcotics personnel, and operational flexibility,
drug-trafficking organizations are a formidable threat.  Despite some
short-term achievements by U.S.  and foreign government law
enforcement agencies in disrupting the flow of illegal drugs into the
United States, drug-trafficking organizations have found ways to
continue to meet and exceed the demand of U.S.  drug consumers. 

According to U.S.  agencies, drug-traffickers' organizations use
their vast wealth to acquire and make use of expensive modern
technology such as global positioning systems and cellular
communications equipment.  They use this technology to communicate
and to coordinate transportation as well as to monitor and report on
the activities of government organizations involved in counterdrug
activities.  In some countries, the complexity and sophistication of
their equipment exceed the capabilities of the foreign governments
trying to stop them.  For example, we reported in October 1997 that
many Caribbean countries continue to be hampered by inadequate
counternarcotics capabilities and have insufficient resources for
conducting law enforcement activities in their coastal waters.\7

When confronted with threats to their activities, drug-trafficking
organizations use a variety of techniques to quickly change their
modes of operation, thus avoiding capture of their personnel and
seizure of their illegal drugs.  For example, when air interdiction
efforts have proven successful, traffickers have increased their use
of maritime and overland transportation routes.\8 According to recent
U.S.  government reports, even after the capturing or killing of
several drug cartel leaders in Colombia and Mexico, other leaders or
organizations soon filled the void and adjusted their areas of
operations.  For example, we reported in February 1998 that, although
the Colombian government had disrupted the activities of two major
drug-trafficking organizations, the disruption had not reduced
drug-trafficking activities and a new generation of relatively young
traffickers was emerging.\9


--------------------
\7 Drug Control:  Update on U.S.  Interdiction Efforts in the
Caribbean and Eastern Pacific (GAO/NSIAD-98-30, Oct.  15, 1997). 

\8 Drug Control:  Revised Drug Interdiction Approach Is Needed in
Mexico (GAO/NSIAD-93-152, May 10, 1993). 

\9 Drug Control:  U.S.  Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face
Continuing Challenges (GAO/NSIAD-98-60, Feb.  12, 1998). 


   OBSTACLES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
   IMPEDE U.S.  DRUG CONTROL
   EFFORTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

The United States is largely dependent on the countries that are the
source of drug production and are transiting points for
trafficking-related activities to reduce the amount of coca and opium
poppy being cultivated and to make the drug seizures, arrests, and
prosecutions necessary to stop the production and movement of illegal
drugs.  While the United States can provide assistance and support
for drug control efforts in these countries, the success of those
efforts depends on the countries' willingness and ability to combat
the drug trade within their borders. 

Like the United States, source and transiting countries face
long-standing obstacles that limit the effectiveness of their drug
control efforts.  These obstacles, many of which are interrelated,
are competing economic, political, and cultural problems, including
terrorism and internal unrest; corruption; and inadequate law
enforcement resources and institutional capabilities.  The extent to
which the United States can affect many of these obstacles is
minimal. 


      DRUG CONTROL COMPETES WITH
      OTHER ECONOMIC, POLITICAL,
      AND CULTURAL PROBLEMS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5.1

The governments involved in drug eradication and control have other
problems that compete for limited resources.  As we reported over the
years, drug-producing countries' efforts to curtail drug cultivation
were constrained by political, economic, and/or cultural problems
that far exceeded counternarcotics program managers' abilities to
resolve.  For example, these countries often had ineffective central
government control over drug cultivation areas, competing demands for
scarce host nation resources, weak economies that enhanced financial
incentives for drug cultivation, corrupt or intimidated law
enforcement and judicial officials, and legal cultivation of drug
crops and traditional use of drugs.\10

Internal strife in the source countries is another problem that
competes for resources.  Two primary source countries--Peru and
Colombia--have had to allocate scarce funds to support military and
other internal defense operations to combat guerrilla groups, which
negatively affects counternarcotics operations.  We reported that in
Peru, for example, terrorist activities had hampered antidrug
efforts.\11 The December 1996 hostage situation at the Japanese
Ambassador's residence in Lima is an example of the Peruvian
government's having to divert antidrug resources to confront a
terrorist threat.  Although some key guerrilla leaders in Peru and
Colombia have been captured, terrorist groups will continue to hinder
efforts to reduce coca cultivation and efforts to reduce its
dependence on coca as a contributor to the economy.  In 1991, 1993,
and 1998, we reported similar problems in Colombia, where several
guerrilla groups made it difficult to conduct effective antidrug
operations in many areas of the country.\12 Colombia has also
encountered resistance from farmers when it has tried to eradicate
their coca crops. 


--------------------
\10 Controlling Drug Abuse:  A Status Report (GAO/GGD-88-39, Mar.  1,
1988). 

\11 The Drug War:  U.S.  Programs in Peru Face Serious Obstacles
(GAO/NSIAD-92-36, Oct.  21, 1991) and The Drug War:  Observations on
Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia and Peru (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2,
Oct.  23, 1991). 

\12 The Drug War:  Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia and Peru
(GAO/T-NSIAD-92-9, Feb.  20, 1992); The Drug War:  Colombia Is
Implementing Antidrug Efforts, but Impact Is Uncertain
(GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct.  5, 1993); and Drug Control
(GAO/NSIAD-98-60, Feb.  12, 1998). 


      CORRUPTION PERMEATES
      INSTITUTIONS IN COUNTRIES
      INVOLVED IN DRUG PRODUCTION
      AND MOVEMENT
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5.2

Narcotics-related corruption is a long-standing problem impacting
U.S.  and foreign governments' efforts to reduce drug-trafficking
activities.  Our work has identified widespread corruption in Burma,
Pakistan, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and the
countries of Central America and the Caribbean--among the countries
most significantly involved in the cultivation, production, and
transit of illicit narcotics.\13

Corruption remains a serious, widespread problem in Colombia and
Mexico, the two countries most significantly involved in producing
and shipping cocaine.\14 According to the U.S.  Ambassador to
Colombia, corruption in Colombia is the most significant impediment
to a successful counternarcotics effort.  The State Department also
reported that persistent corruption within Mexico continued to
undermine both police and law enforcement operations.  Many law
enforcement officers have been arrested and dismissed due to
corruption.  The most noteworthy was the February 1997 arrest of
General Jos‚ Gutierrez Rebollo--former head of the Mexican equivalent
of DEA.  He was charged with drug trafficking, organized crime and
bribery, illicit enrichment, and association with one of the leading
drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico.  In February 1998, the U.S. 
embassy reported that three Mexican law enforcement officials who had
successfully passed screening procedures were arrested for stealing
seized cocaine--illustrating that corruption continues despite
measures designed to root it out.  The government of Mexico
acknowledges that narcotics-related corruption is pervasive and
entrenched within the criminal justice system and has placed
drug-related corruption in the forefront of its national priorities. 


--------------------
\13 Drug Control:  U.S.-Supported Efforts in Burma, Pakistan, and
Thailand (GAO/NSIAD-88-94, Feb.  26, 1988); The Drug War
(GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct.  23, 1991); The Drug War:  Colombia Is
Undertaking Antidrug Programs, but Impact Is Uncertain
(GAO/NSIAD-93-158, Aug.  10, 1993); The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53,
Oct.  5, 1993); Drug Control:  Interdiction Efforts in Central
America Have Had Little Impact on the Flow of Drugs
(GAO/NSIAD-94-233, Aug.  2, 1994); Drug Control:  U.S.  Interdiction
Efforts in the Caribbean Decline (GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr.  17, 1996);
and Drug Control:  Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
(GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996). 

\14 Drug War:  Observations on the U.S.  International Drug Control
Strategy (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182,
June 27, 1995) and Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996). 


      INADEQUATE RESOURCES AND
      INSTITUTIONAL CAPABILITIES
      LIMIT ARRESTS AND
      CONVICTIONS OF DRUG
      TRAFFICKERS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5.3

Effective law enforcement operations and adequate judicial and
legislative tools are key to the success of efforts to stop the flow
of drugs from the source and transiting countries.  Although the
United States can provide assistance, these countries must seize the
illegal drugs and arrest, prosecute, and extradite the traffickers,
when possible, in order to stop the production and movement of drugs
internationally.  However, as we have reported on several occasions,
these countries lack the resources and capabilities necessary to stop
drug-trafficking activities within their borders. 

In 1991, we reported that the lack of resources and adequately
trained police personnel hindered Panama's ability to address
drug-trafficking and money-laundering activities.\15

Also, in 1994, we reported that Central American countries did not
have the resources or institutional capability to combat drug
trafficking and depended heavily on U.S.  counternarcotics
assistance.\16 In June 1996, we reported that equipment shortcomings
and inadequately trained personnel limited the government of Mexico's
ability to detect and interdict drugs and drug traffickers, as well
as to aerially eradicate drug crops.\17 Our more recent work in
Mexico indicates that these problems persist.  For example, in 1997
the U.S.  embassy reported that the 73 UH-1H helicopters provided by
the United States to the Mexican military for eradication and
reconnaissance purposes were of little utility above 5,000 feet,
where most of the opium poppy is cultivated.  Furthermore, the
Bilateral Border Task Forces, which were established to investigate
and dismantle the most significant drug-trafficking organizations
along the U.S.-Mexico border, face operational and support problems,
including inadequate Mexican government funding for equipment, fuel,
and salary supplements for personnel assigned to the units. 


--------------------
\15 The War on Drugs:  Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama
(GAO/NSIAD-91-233, June 16, 1991). 

\16 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-94-233, Aug.  2, 1994). 

\17 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996). 


   OTHER OBSTACLES INHIBIT SUCCESS
   IN FULFILLING U.S. 
   INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL
   STRATEGY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6

Our work over the past 10 years has identified other obstacles to
implementing the U.S.  international drug control strategy:  (1)
competing U.S.  foreign policy objectives, (2) organizational and
operational limitations among and within the U.S.  agencies involved,
and (3) inconsistent U.S.  funding levels. 


      U.S.  FOREIGN POLICY
      OBJECTIVES COMPETE FOR
      ATTENTION AND RESOURCES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6.1

In carrying out its foreign policy, the United States seeks to
promote U.S.  business and trade, improve human rights, and support
democracy, as well as to reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the
United States.  These objectives compete for attention and resources,
and U.S.  officials must make tough choices about which to pursue
more vigorously.  As a result of U.S.  policy decisions,
counternarcotics issues have often received less attention than other
objectives.  According to an August 1996 Congressional Research
Service report, inherent contradictions regularly appear between U.S. 
counternarcotics policy and other policy goals and concerns.\18

Our work has shown the difficulties in balancing counternarcotics and
other U.S.  foreign policy objectives.  For example, in 1990 we
reported that the U.S.  Department of Agriculture and the U.S. 
Agency for International Development disagreed over providing
assistance to Bolivia for the growth of soybeans as an alternative to
coca plants.\19 The Agriculture Department feared that such
assistance would interfere with U.S.  trade objectives by developing
a potential competitor for U.S.  exports of soybeans.  In 1995, we
reported that countering the drug trade was the fourth highest
priority of the U.S.  embassy in Mexico.\20 During our May 1995 visit
to Mexico, the U.S.  Ambassador told us that he had focused his
attention during the prior 18 months on higher priority issues of
trade and commerce such as the North American Free Trade Agreement
and the U.S.  financial support program for the Mexican peso.  In
1996, the embassy elevated counternarcotics to an equal priority with
the promotion of U.S.  business and trade as the top priorities of
the embassy, and it still remains that way.\21

In addition, resources allocated for counternarcotics efforts are
sometimes shifted to satisfy other policy objectives.  For example,
as we reported in 1995, $45 million originally intended for
counternarcotics assistance for cocaine source countries was
reprogrammed by the Department of State to assist Haiti's democratic
transition.\22 The funds were used to pay for such items as the cost
of non-U.S.  personnel assigned to the multinational force, training
of a police force, and development of a job creation and feeding
program.  A similar diversion occurred in the early 1990s when U.S. 
Coast Guard assets in the Caribbean were reallocated from
counternarcotics missions to the humanitarian mission of aiding
emigrants in their mass exodus from Cuba and Haiti. 

The United States terminated most of its efforts to address opium
cultivation in Burma, the world's largest opium producer, because of
its human rights policies and the failure of the Burmese government
to recognize the democratically elected government.\23


--------------------
\18 International Drug Trade and Its Impact on the United States,
Congressional Research Service, 96-671F, August 9, 1996. 

\19 Restrictions on U.S.  Aid to Bolivia for Crop Development Is
Competing With U.S.  Agricultural Exports and Their Relationship to
U.S.  Anti-Drug Efforts (GAO/T-NSIAD-90-52, June 27, 1990). 

\20 Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995). 

\21 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996). 

\22 Drug War:  Observations on U.S.  International Drug Control
Efforts (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-194, Aug.  1, 1995). 

\23 Drug Control:  U.S.  Heroin Program Encounters Many Obstacles in
Southeast Asia (GAO/NSIAD-96-83, Mar.  1, 1996). 


      ORGANIZATIONAL AND
      OPERATIONAL LIMITATIONS
      HAMPER DRUG CONTROL EFFORTS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6.2

The United States faces several organizational and operational
challenges that limit its ability to implement effective antidrug
efforts.  Many of these challenges are long-standing problems. 
Several of our reports have identified problems involving competing
priorities, interagency rivalries, lack of operational coordination,
inadequate staffing of joint interagency task forces, and lack of
oversight. 

For example, our 1995 work in Colombia indicated that there was
confusion among U.S.  embassy officials about the role of the offices
involved in intelligence analysis and related operational plans for
interdiction.\24 In 1996, we reported that several agencies,
including the U.S.  Customs Service, DEA, and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, had not provided personnel, as they had agreed, to the
Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West because of budgetary
constraints.\25 With the exception of a few positions that have been
filled at the Task Force since then, staffing shortfalls continued to
exist when we reported in October 1997.\26

Furthermore, we have reported that in some cases, the United States
did not adequately control the use of U.S.  counternarcotics
assistance and was unable to ensure that it was used as intended. 
Despite legislative requirements mandating controls over
U.S.-provided assistance, we found instances of inadequate oversight
of counternarcotics funds.  For example, between 1991 and 1994, we
issued four reports in which we concluded that U.S.  officials lacked
sufficient oversight of aid to ensure that it was being used
effectively and as intended in Peru and Colombia.\27 We also reported
that the government of Mexico had misused U.S.-provided
counternarcotics helicopters to transport Mexican military personnel
during the 1994 uprising in the Mexican state of Chiapas.\28

Our recent work in Mexico indicates that oversight and accountability
of counternarcotics assistance continues to be a problem.  We found
that embassy records on UH-1H helicopter usage for the civilian law
enforcement agencies were incomplete.  Additionally, we found that
the U.S.  military's ability to provide adequate oversight is limited
by the end-use monitoring agreement signed by the governments of the
United States and Mexico. 

We also found instances where lessons learned from past
counternarcotics efforts were not known to current planners and
operators, both internally in an agency and within the U.S.  antidrug
community.  For example, the United States initiated an operation to
support Colombia and Peru in their efforts to curtail the air
movement of coca products between the two countries.  However, U.S. 
Southern Command personnel stated that while they were generally
aware of the previous operation, they were neither aware of the
problems that had been encountered, nor of the solutions developed in
the early 1990s when planning the current operation.  U.S.  Southern
Command officials attributed this problem to the continual turnover
of personnel and the requirement to destroy most classified documents
and reports after 5 years.  These officials stated that an
after-action reporting system for counternarcotics activities is now
in place at the U.S.  Southern Command. 


--------------------
\24 Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995). 

\25 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr.  17, 1996). 

\26 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-98-30, Oct.  15, 1997). 

\27 Drug War:  Observations on Counternarcotics Aid to Colombia
(GAO/NSIAD-91-296, Sept.  30, 1991); The Drug War (GAO/NSIAD-92-36,
Oct.  21, 1991); The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct.  23, 1991); and
The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct.  5, 1993). 

\28 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996). 


      FUNDING LEVELS HAVE
      COMPLICATED DRUG CONTROL
      EFFORTS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6.3

From 1988 to 1997, the United States spent about $110 billion on
domestic and international efforts to reduce the use and availability
of illegal drugs in the United States.  Of this amount, over $19
billion was expended on international counternarcotics efforts
supporting (1) the eradication of drug crops, the development of
alternative forms of income for drug crop farmers, and increased
foreign law enforcement capabilities ($4.2 billion) and (2)
interdiction activities ($15.3 billion).  However, from year to year,
funding for international counternarcotics efforts has fluctuated and
until recently had declined.  In some instances, because of budgetary
constraints, Congress did not appropriate the level of funding
agencies requested; in others, the agencies applied funding
erratically, depending on other priorities.  The reduction in funding
has sometimes made it difficult to carry out U.S.  operations and has
also hampered source and transiting countries' operations. 

For fiscal year 1998, the funding levels for counternarcotics
activities were increased.  For example, the State Department's
international narcotics control and law enforcement programs were
fully funded for fiscal
year 1998 at $210 million.  However, without longer-term budget
stability, it may be difficult for agencies to plan and implement
programs that they believe will reduce drug production and drug
trafficking. 


   NEED FOR LONG-TERM PLANS THAT
   INCLUDE MEASURABLE GOALS AND
   OBJECTIVES
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:7

There is no easy remedy for overcoming all of the obstacles posed by
drug-trafficking activities.  International drug control efforts
aimed at stopping the production of illegal drugs and drug-related
activities in the source and transiting countries are only one
element of an overall national drug control strategy.  Alone, these
efforts will not likely solve the U.S.  drug problem.  Overcoming
many of the long-standing obstacles to reducing the supply and
smuggling of illegal drugs requires a long-term commitment.  In our
February 1997 report, we pointed out that the United States can
improve the effectiveness of planning and implementing its current
international drug control efforts by developing a multiyear plan
with measurable goals and objectives and a multiyear funding plan.\29

We have been reporting since 1988 that U.S.  counternarcotics efforts
have been hampered by the absence of a long-term plan outlining each
agency's commitment to achieving the goals and objectives of the
international drug control strategy.  We pointed out that judging
U.S.  agencies' performance in reducing the supply of and
interdicting illegal drugs is difficult because the agencies have not
established meaningful measures to evaluate their contribution to
achieving these goals.  Also, agencies have not devised multiyear
funding plans that could serve as a more consistent basis for
policymakers and program managers to determine requirements for
effectively implementing a plan and determining the best use of
resources. 

We have issued numerous reports citing the need for an overall
implementation plan with specific goals and objectives and
performance measures linked to them.  In 1988, we reported that goals
and objectives had not been established in the drug-producing
countries examined and, in 1993, we recommended that ONDCP develop
performance measures to evaluate agencies' drug control efforts and
incorporate the measures in the national drug control strategy.\30
Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (P.L. 
103-62), federal agencies are required to develop strategic plans
covering at least 5 years, with results-oriented performance
measures. 

In February 1998, ONDCP issued its annual National Drug Control
Strategy.  The strategy contains various performance measures to
assess the strategy's effectiveness.  In March 1998, ONDCP issued
more specific and comprehensive performance measures for this
strategy.  In the near future, ONDCP plans to publish a classified
annex to the strategy which, according to ONDCP officials, will be
regional and, in some instances, country specific, and will be
results oriented.  While we have not reviewed the 1998 Strategy and
its related performance measures in detail, we believe this parallels
the recommendations we have made over the years to develop a
long-term plan with meaningful performance measures.  Additionally,
the United States and Mexico issued a bi-national drug strategy in
February 1998, but it did not contain critical performance measures
and milestones for assessing performance.  ONDCP officials told us
that they plan to issue comprehensive performance measures for the
bi-national strategy by the end of the year. 


--------------------
\29 Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-97-75, Feb.  27, 1997). 

\30 Drug Control:  U.S.  International Narcotics Control Activities
(GAO/NSIAD-88-114, Mar.  1, 1988) and Drug Control:  Reauthorization
of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (GAO/GGD-93-144,
Sept.  29, 1993). 


-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:7.1

Mr.  Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, this concludes our
statement for the record.  Thank you for permitting us to provide you
with this information. 


RELATED GAO PRODUCTS
=========================================================== Appendix 1

Drug Control:  Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face Continuing
Challenges (GAO/T-NSIAD-98-103, Feb.  26, 1998). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face
Continuing Challenges (GAO/NSIAD-98-60, Feb.  12, 1998). 

Drug Control:  Planned Actions Should Clarify Counterdrug Technology
Assessment Center's Impact (GAO/GGD-98-28, Feb.  3, 1998). 

Drug Control:  Update on U.S.  Interdiction Efforts in the Caribbean
and Eastern Pacific (GAO/NSIAD-98-30, Oct.  15, 1997). 

Drug Control:  Delays in Obtaining State Department Records Relating
to Colombia (GAO/T-NSIAD-97-202, July 9, 1997). 

Drug Control:  Reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy (GAO/T-GGD-97-97, May 1, 1997). 

Drug Control:  Observations on Elements of the Federal Drug Control
Strategy (GAO/GGD-97-42, Mar.  14, 1997). 

Drug Control:  Long-standing Problems Hinder U.S.  International
Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-97-75, Feb.  27, 1997). 

Customs Service:  Drug Interdiction Efforts (GAO/GGD-96-189BR, Sept. 
26, 1996). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Heroin Control Efforts in Southeast Asia
(GAO/T-NSIAD-96-240, Sept.  19, 1996). 

Drug Control:  Observations on Counternarcotics Activities in Mexico
(GAO/T-NSIAD-96-239, Sept.  12, 1996). 

Terrorism and Drug Trafficking:  Technologies for Detecting
Explosives and Narcotics (GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-252, Sept.  4, 1996). 

Drug Control:  Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico (GAO/NSIAD-96-163,
June 12, 1996). 

Drug Control:  Observations on Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
(GAO/T-NSIAD-96-182, June 12, 1996). 

Drug Control:  Observations on U.S.  Interdiction in the Caribbean
(GAO/T-NSIAD-96-171, May 23, 1996). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Interdiction Efforts in the Caribbean Decline
(GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr.  17, 1996). 

Terrorism and Drug Trafficking:  Threats and Roles of Explosives and
Narcotics Detection Technology (GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-76BR, Mar.  27,
1996). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Heroin Program Encounters Many Obstacles in
Southeast Asia (GAO/NSIAD-96-83, Mar.  1, 1996). 

Review of Assistance to Colombia (GAO/NSIAD-96-62R, Dec.  12, 1995). 

Drug War:  Observations on U.S.  International Drug Control Efforts
(GAO/T-NSIAD-95-194, Aug.  1, 1995). 

Drug War:  Observations on the U.S.  International Drug Control
Strategy (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995). 

Honduras:  Continuing U.S.  Military Presence at Soto Cano Base Is
Not Critical (GAO/NSIAD-95-39, Feb.  8, 1995). 

Drug Activity in Haiti (GAO/OSI-95-6R, Dec.  28, 1994). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Antidrug Efforts in Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley
(GAO/NSIAD-95-11, Dec.  7, 1994). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Drug Interdiction Issues in Latin America
(GAO/T-NSIAD-95-32, Oct.  7, 1994). 

Drug Control in Peru (GAO/NSIAD-94-186BR, Aug.  16, 1994). 

Drug Control:  Interdiction Efforts in Central America Have Had
Little Impact on the Flow of Drugs (GAO/NSIAD-94-233, Aug.  2, 1994). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  Counterdrug Activities in Central America
(GAO/T-NSIAD-94-251, Aug.  2, 1994). 

Illicit Drugs:  Recent Efforts to Control Chemical Diversion and
Money Laundering (GAO/NSIAD-94-34, Dec.  8, 1993). 

Drug Control:  The Office of National Drug Control Policy-Strategies
Need Performance Measures (GAO/T-GGD-94-49, Nov.  15, 1993). 

Drug Control:  Expanded Military Surveillance Not Justified by
Measurable Goals (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-14, Oct.  5, 1993). 

The Drug War:  Colombia Is Implementing Antidrug Efforts, but Impact
Is Uncertain (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct.  5, 1993). 

Drug Control:  Reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy (GAO/GGD-93-144, Sept.  29, 1993). 

Drug Control:  Heavy Investment in Military Surveillance Is Not
Paying Off (GAO/NSIAD-93-220, Sept.  1, 1993). 

The Drug War:  Colombia Is Undertaking Antidrug Programs, but Impact
Is Uncertain (GAO/NSIAD-93-158, Aug.  10, 1993). 

Drugs:  International Efforts to Attack a Global Problem
(GAO/NSIAD-93-165, June 23, 1993). 

Drug Control:  Revised Drug Interdiction Approach Is Needed in Mexico
(GAO/NSIAD-93-152, May 10, 1993). 

Drug Control:  Coordination of Intelligence Activities
(GAO/GGD-93-83BR, Apr.  2, 1993). 

Drug Control:  Increased Interdiction and its Contribution to the War
on Drugs (GAO/T-NSIAD-93-04, Feb.  25, 1993). 

Drug War:  Drug Enforcement Administration's Staffing and Reporting
in Southeast Asia (GAO/NSIAD-93-82, Dec.  4, 1992). 

The Drug War:  Extent of Problems in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela
(GAO/NSIAD-92-226, June 5, 1992). 

Drug Control:  Inadequate Guidance Results in Duplicate Intelligence
Production Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-92-153, Apr.  14, 1992). 

The Drug War:  Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia and Peru
(GAO/T-NSIAD-92-9, Feb.  20, 1992). 

Drug Policy and Agriculture:  U.S.  Trade Impacts of Alternative
Crops to Andean Coca (GAO/NSIAD-92-12, Oct.  28, 1991). 

The Drug War:  Observations on Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia
and Peru (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct.  23, 1991). 

The Drug War:  U.S.  Programs in Peru Face Serious Obstacles
(GAO/NSIAD-92-36, Oct.  21, 1991). 

Drug War:  Observations on Counternarcotics Aid to Colombia
(GAO/NSIAD-91-296, Sept.  30, 1991). 

Drug Control:  Impact of DOD's Detection and Monitoring on Cocaine
Flow (GAO/NSIAD-91-297, Sept.  19, 1991). 

The War On Drugs:  Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama
(GAO/NSIAD-91-233, July 16, 1991). 

Drug Interdiction:  Funding Continues to Increase but Program
Effectiveness Is Unknown (GAO/GGD-91-10, Dec.  11, 1990). 

Restrictions on U.S.  Aid to Bolivia for Crop Development Competing
With U.S.  Agricultural Exports and Their Relationship to U.S. 
Anti-Drug Efforts (GAO/T-NSIAD-90-52, June 27, 1990). 

Drug Control:  How Drug Consuming Nations Are Organized for the War
on Drugs (GAO/NSIAD-90-133, June 4, 1990). 

Drug Control:  Anti-Drug Efforts in the Bahamas (GAO/GGD-90-42, Mar. 
8, 1990). 

Drug Control:  Enforcement Efforts in Burma Are Not Effective
(GAO/NSIAD-89-197, Sept.  11, 1989). 

Drug Smuggling:  Capabilities for Interdicting Airborne Private
Aircraft Are Limited and Costly (GAO/GGD-89-93, June 9, 1989). 

Drug Smuggling:  Capabilities for Interdicting Airborne Drug
Smugglers Are Limited and Costly (GAO/T-GGD-89-28, June 9, 1989). 

Drug Control:  U.S.-Supported Efforts in Colombia and Bolivia
(GAO/NSIAD-89-24, Nov.  1, 1988). 

Drug Control:  U.S.  International Narcotics Control Activities
(GAO/NSIAD-88-114, Mar.  1, 1988). 

Controlling Drug Abuse:  A Status Report (GAO/GGD-88-39, Mar.  1,
1988). 

Drug Control:  U.S.-Supported Efforts in Burma, Pakistan, and
Thailand (GAO/NSIAD-88-94, Feb.  26, 1988). 

Drug Control:  River Patrol Craft for the Government of Bolivia
(GAO/NSIAD-88-101FS, Feb.  2, 1988). 

Drug Control:  U.S.-Mexico Opium Poppy and Marijuana Aerial
Eradication Program (GAO/NSIAD-88-73, Jan.  11, 1988). 

U.S.-Mexico Opium Poppy and Marijuana Aerial Eradication Program
(GAO/T-NSIAD-87-42, Aug.  5, 1987). 

Status Report on GAO Review of the U.S.  International Narcotics
Control Program (GAO/T-NSIAD-87-40, July 29, 1987). 

Drug Control:  International Narcotics Control Activities of the
United States (GAO/NSIAD-87-72BR, Jan.  30, 1987). 


*** End of document. ***