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Drug Control: Status of Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico (Testimony, 03/18/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-98-129).



Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its work on the
counternarcotics efforts of the United States in Mexico, focusing on
the: (1) nature of the drug threat from Mexico and results of efforts to
address this threat; (2) planning and coordination of U.S.
counternarcotics assistance to the Mexican military; and (3) need to
establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of U.S. and
Mexican counternarcotics efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) Mexico is the principle transit country for cocaine
entering the United States and, despite U.S. and Mexican
counternarcotics efforts, the flow of illegal drugs into the United
States from Mexico has not significantly diminished; (2) no country
poses a more immediate narcotics threat to the United States than
Mexico, according to the Department of State; (3) the 2,000-mile
U.S.-Mexican border and the daunting volume of legitimate cross-border
traffic provide near-limitless opportunities for smuggling illicit
drugs, weapons, and proceeds of crime, and for escape by fugitives; (4)
Mexico, with U.S. assistance, has taken steps to improve its capacity to
reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States; (5) among other
things, the Mexican government has taken action that could potentially
lead to the extradition of drug criminals to the United States and
passed new laws on organized crime, money laundering, and chemical
control; (6) it has also instituted reforms in law enforcement agencies
and expanded the role of the military in counternarcotics activities to
reduce corruption--the most significant impediment to successfully
diminishing drug-related activities; (7) while Mexico's actions
represent positive steps, it is too early to determine their impact, and
challenges to their full implementation remain; (8) no Mexico national
has actually been surrendered to the United States on drug charges, new
laws are not fully implemented, and building competent judicial and law
enforcement institutions continues to be a major challenge; (9) since
fiscal year 1996, Department of Defense (DOD) has provided the Mexican
military with $76 million worth of equipment, training, and spare parts;
(10) the Mexican military has used this equipment to improve its
counternarcotics efforts; (11) however, due, in part, to inadequate
planning and coordination within DOD, the assistance provided has been
of limited effectiveness and usefulness; (12) improved planning and
coordination could improve Mexico's counternarcotics effectiveness; (13)
although the Mexican government has agreed to a series of actions to
improve its counternarcotics capacity, and the United States has begun
to provide a larger level of assistance, at the present time there is no
system in place to assess their effectiveness; and (14) even though the
United States and Mexico have recently issued a binational drug control
strategy, it does not include performance measures.

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

 REPORTNUM:  T-NSIAD-98-129
     TITLE:  Drug Control: Status of Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
      DATE:  03/18/98
   SUBJECT:  Law enforcement
             Foreign military assistance
             International cooperation
             Foreign military training
             Narcotics
             Drug trafficking
             Foreign governments
             Political corruption
             Organized crime
             Strategic planning
IDENTIFIER:  Mexico
             UH-1H Helicopter
             Knox Class Frigate
             Foreign Military Sales Program
             C-26 Aircraft
             
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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; and the Caucus on International Narcotics
Control, U.S.  Senate

For Release on Delivery
Expected at
2:00 p.m., EST
Wednesday,
March 18, 1998

DRUG CONTROL - STATUS OF
COUNTERNARCOTICS EFFORTS IN MEXICO

Statement of Benjamin F.  Nelson, Director, International Relations
and Trade Issues, National Security and International Affairs
Division

GAO/T-NSIAD-98-129

GAO/NSIAD-98-129T

Drug Control

(711303)


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

  DOD - Department of Defense
  ONDCP - Office of National Drug Control Policy
  PGR -

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

Mr.  Chairmen and Members of the Caucus and Subcommittee: 

I am pleased to be here today to discuss our work on the
counternarcotics efforts of the United States and Mexico.  Our most
recent report on Mexico was issued in June 1996.\1

My statement today will highlight the preliminary findings from our
ongoing work to update that report as requested by Senator Grassley
and this Subcommittee.  I would like to discuss three broad topics: 
(1) the nature of the drug threat from Mexico and results of efforts
to address this threat, (2) the planning and coordination of U.S. 
counternarcotics assistance to the Mexican military, and (3) the need
to establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of U.S. 
and Mexican counternarcotics efforts.  Our final report on these
matters will be issued shortly. 


--------------------
\1 Drug Control:  Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
(GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996).  See also the attached list of
related GAO products. 


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

Almost 2 years ago I testified before this Subcommittee about
U.S.-Mexican counternarcotics issues.  During that hearing I stated
that Mexico was the primary transit country for cocaine entering the
United States from South America, as well as a major source country
for heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines.  That has not changed. 
Today, Mexico continues to be the principal transit country for
cocaine entering the United States and, despite U.S.  and Mexican
counternarcotics efforts, the flow of illegal drugs into the United
States from Mexico has not significantly diminished. 

No country poses a more immediate narcotics threat to the United
States than Mexico, according to the State Department.  The
2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border and the daunting volume of legitimate
cross-border traffic provide near-limitless opportunities for
smuggling illicit drugs, weapons, and proceeds of crime, and for
escape by fugitives. 

Since my last testimony on this subject, Mexico, with U.S. 
assistance, has taken steps to improve its capacity to reduce the
flow of illegal drugs into the United States.  Among other things,
the Mexican government has taken action that could potentially lead
to the extradition of drug criminals to the United States and passed
new laws on organized crime, money laundering, and chemical control. 
It has also instituted reforms in law enforcement agencies and
expanded the role of the military in counternarcotics activities to
reduce corruption--the most significant impediment to successfully
diminishing drug-related activities.  While Mexico's actions
represent positive steps, it is too early to determine their impact,
and challenges to their full implementation remain.  No Mexican
national has actually been surrendered to the United States on drug
charges, new laws are not fully implemented, and building competent
judicial and law enforcement institutions continues to be a major
challenge. 

Since fiscal year 1996, the Department of Defense (DOD) has provided
the Mexican military with $76 million worth of equipment, training,
and spare parts.\2 The Mexican military has used this equipment to
improve its counternarcotics efforts.  However, due, in part, to
inadequate planning and coordination within DOD, the assistance
provided has been of limited effectiveness and usefulness.  For
example, the UH-1H helicopters provided to Mexico in 1996 and 1997
have limited utility for some counternarcotics missions, and delays
in delivering spare parts for these helicopters have resulted in
operational rates of between 35 and 54 percent.  Similarly, the two
ships that the U.S.  Navy sold to the Mexican military have remained
inoperable, as they were not properly outfitted when they were
delivered.  We believe that improved planning and coordination could
increase Mexico's counternarcotics effectiveness. 

Although the Mexican government has agreed to a series of actions to
improve its counternarcotics capacity, and the United States has
begun to provide a larger level of assistance, at the present time
there is no system in place to assess their effectiveness.  Even
though the United States and Mexico have recently issued a binational
drug control strategy, it does not include performance measures.  We
are encouraged that the Office of National Drug Control Policy
(ONDCP) has recently recognized the need for such measures and has
indicated that it plans to develop methods for evaluating U.S.  and
Mexican counternarcotics performance as part of the binational drug
control strategy by the end of this year. 


--------------------
\2 Between fiscal years 1996 and 1997, the State Department provided
about $11 million to support Mexican law enforcement efforts and
plans to provide another $5 million in fiscal year 1998. 


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

The United States has assisted the Mexican government in its
counternarcotics efforts since 1973, providing about $350 million in
aid.  Since the later 1980s, U.S.  assistance has centered on
developing and supporting Mexican law enforcement efforts to stop the
flow of cocaine from Colombia, the world's largest supplier, into
Mexico and onward to the United States. 

In January 1993, the government of Mexico initiated a new drug policy
under which it declined U.S.  counternarcotics assistance and assumed
responsibility for funding its own counternarcotics efforts.  This
policy remained in effect until 1995 when, according to the State
Department, economic conditions and the growing drug-trafficking
threat prompted the Mexican government to again begin accepting U.S. 
counternarcotics assistance for law enforcement organizations. 

Among other things, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended,
requires the President to certify annually that major drug-producing
and -transit countries are fully cooperating with the United States
in their counternarcotics efforts.  As part of this process, the
United States has established specific objectives for evaluating the
performance of these countries.  In 1997, the United States set the
following objectives for evaluating Mexico's counternarcotics
cooperation as part of the 1998 certification process:  (1) reducing
the flow of drugs into the United States from Mexico, (2) disrupting
and dismantling narco-trafficking organizations, (3) bringing
fugitives to justice, (4) making progress in criminal justice and
anticorruption reform, (5) improving money laundering and chemical
diversion control, and (6) continuing improvement in cooperating with
the United States.  In February 1998, the President certified Mexico
as fully cooperating with the United States. 


   PROGRESS OF MEXICO'S
   COUNTERNARCOTICS EFFORTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

Since our 1996 report, Mexico has undertaken actions intended to
enhance its counternarcotics efforts and improve law enforcement and
other capabilities.  The results of these actions are yet to be
realized because (1) many of them are in the early stages of
implementation and (2) some are limited in scope.  According to U.S. 
and Mexican officials, it may take several years or more before the
impact of these actions can be determined.  Some of the actions
include (1) increasing counternarcotics cooperation with the United
States; (2) initiating efforts to extradite Mexican criminals to the
United States; (3) passing an organized crime law that enhanced the
government's authority against money laundering and illegal use and
diversion of precursor and essential chemicals; and (4) implementing
measures aimed at reducing corruption, such as increasing the role of
Mexico's military forces in law enforcement activities. 


      U.S.-MEXICO COUNTERNARCOTICS
      COOPERATION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3.1

With respect to U.S.-Mexico counternarcotics cooperation, since we
reported on these matters in 1996 additional activities have taken
place.  For example, the High-Level Contact Group on Drug Control,
comprised of senior officials from both governments responsible for
drug control, has met several times.  Results of these meetings
include the following: 

  -- A U.S.-Mexico Binational Drug Threat Assessment was issued in
     May 1997, which addressed illegal drug demand and production,
     drug trafficking, money laundering, and other drug-related
     issues. 

  -- A joint U.S.-Mexico Declaration was issued in May 1997 that
     includes pledges from both governments to work toward reducing
     illegal drug demand, production, and distribution; improving
     interdiction capacity; and controlling essential and precursor
     chemicals, among other issues. 

  -- On February 6, 1998, a joint U.S.-Mexico binational drug
     strategy was issued. 


      EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE
      ACTIONS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3.2

Mexican executive and legislative actions include instituting
extradition efforts, passing various laws to address illegal
drug-related activities, and passing several anticorruption measures. 


         EXTRADITION
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 0:3.2.1

The United States and Mexico have had a mutual extradition treaty
since 1980.  Although no Mexican national has ever been surrendered
to the United States on drug-related charges, since 1996 Mexico has
approved the extradition of 4 of 27 Mexican nationals charged with
drug-related offenses.  Two are currently serving criminal sentences
in Mexico, and two are appealing their convictions in Mexico.  The
remaining drug-related extradition requests include 5 persons
currently under prosecution in Mexico and 14 persons still at large. 
It is not clear whether any Mexican national will be surrendered on
such charges before the end of 1998. 

Another example of increased cooperation is the November 1997 signing
of a joint United States and Mexico "temporary extradition protocol."
This protocol allows suspected criminals who are charged in both
countries to be temporarily surrendered for trial while evidence is
current and witnesses are available.  The protocol is not yet in
effect because it requires legislative approval in the United States
and Mexico, and it has not been submitted to either body. 


         ORGANIZED CRIME LAW
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 0:3.2.2

In November 1996, Mexico passed an organized crime law that provides
authority for Mexican law enforcement organizations to employ modern
techniques to combat crime.  These include authority to use plea
bargaining and confidential informants, establish a witness
protection program, and conduct controlled deliveries and
court-authorized wiretaps.  The law also has provisions for asset
seizures and forfeitures.  U.S.  embassy officials stated that the
passage of the organized crime law represents a major advancement in
Mexico's law enforcement capabilities. 

According to U.S.  and Mexican officials, the impact of the organized
crime law is not likely to be fully evident for some time.  For
example, Mexican and U.S.  officials told us that the process of
conducting investigations is inherently lengthy and that the
capabilities of many Mexican personnel who are implementing and
enforcing the law are currently inadequate.  Mexican agencies are
investigating a number of drug-related cases.  U.S.  embassy
officials stated that, although some guidelines and policies have
been established, additional ones still need to be developed,
including the use of wiretaps and the witness protection program. 

While this law provides the law enforcement community with the
necessary tools to fight organized crime, including drug trafficking,
ONDCP reported in September 1997 that the law still lacks some
important elements needed to meet the 1988 United Nations (U.N.)
Vienna convention and other international agreements.  For example,
according to ONDCP, the law lacks provisions allowing the seizure of
assets of a suspected criminal who has either died or fled Mexico. 
Furthermore, according to U.S.  and Mexican officials, Mexico also
needs to develop a cadre of competent and trustworthy judges and
prosecutors that law enforcement organizations can rely on to
effectively carry out the provisions of the organized crime law. 
Several U.S.  agencies are assisting Mexico in this area. 


         MONEY LAUNDERING
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 0:3.2.3

In May 1996, money laundering was made a criminal offense, with
penalties of up to 22 years in prison.  The law requires banks and
other financial institutions to report transactions over $10,000 U.S. 
dollars and to obtain and retain customer account information.  Under
the prior law, money laundering was a tax offense, there were no
reporting requirements, and violators were only subject to a fine. 

However, U.S.  and Mexican officials are concerned that the new law
does not cover so called "structuring"--intentionally making
transactions just below the $10,000 reporting threshold.  In
addition, there is no reporting requirement on currency leaving the
country. 

Between May and December 1997, the Mexican government initiated
27 money laundering cases.  To date, one case has been prosecuted,
and the remaining 26 cases are still under investigation.  In the one
case that was prosecuted, the charges were dismissed because a
federal judge ruled that no link could be established between an
illegal activity and the money.  The Mexican government has appealed
the judge's decision. 


         CHEMICAL CONTROLS
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 0:3.2.4

In May 1996, trafficking in drug precursor and essential chemicals
was made a criminal offense.  Although some chemicals that the United
Nations recommends be controlled were not included in the law, Mexico
passed additional legislation in December 1997 that included all
chemicals, thus bringing Mexico into full compliance with U.N.  and
other international agreements.  In addition, Mexico has taken
further action to control chemicals by limiting the legal importation
of precursor and essential chemicals to eight ports of entry and by
imposing regulatory controls over the machinery used to manufacture
drug tablets or capsules. 

The impact of the new chemical control law is not yet evident. 
Currently, the development of an administrative infrastructure for
enforcing it is under way.  Various U.S.  agencies including the
Departments of Justice and State have provided technical assistance
and training to help Mexico carry out the law. 


      ACTIONS TO REDUCE CORRUPTION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3.3

It is well established and the President of Mexico acknowledges that
narcotics-related corruption is pervasive and entrenched within the
criminal justice system, and he has made rooting it out a national
priority. 

Beginning in 1995, the President of Mexico expanded the role of the
Mexican military in counternarcotics activities.  The Mexican
military, in addition to eradicating marijuana and opium poppy, has
also taken over some law enforcement functions.  For example,
airmobile special forces units have been used to search for drug
kingpins and detain captured drug traffickers until they can be
handed over to civilian law enforcement agencies. 

In September 1996, the President of Mexico publicly acknowledged that
corruption is deeply rooted in the nation's institutions and general
social conduct.  He added that the creation of a new culture of
respect for law must start with public officials and affirmed his
administration's intent to gradually eliminate official corruption. 
To do so, the President began to initiate law enforcement reforms. 

First, the primary Mexican government agency involved in
counternarcotics-related activities has been reorganized.  In 1996
the Attorney General's office, commonly called the PGR, began a
reorganization connected to a long-term effort to clean up and
professionalize federal law enforcement agencies.  As part of this
action, the State Department reported that over 1,250 officials were
dismissed for incompetence and/or corruption.  U.S.  and Mexican
officials stated that about 200 of these officials have subsequently
been rehired by the PGR because Mexico's labor laws prevented the PGR
from removing some of these personnel. 

Further, in February 1997, the Mexican military arrested General
Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, the head of the National Institute for
Combat Against Drugs--the Mexican equivalent of the Drug Enforcement
Administration--for corruption.  In April 1997, the Attorney General
dissolved the Institute and dismissed a number of its employees.  A
new organization, known as the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against
Health, was established to replace the Institute.  This organization
includes two special units:  \3

  -- The Organized Crime Unit, with an authorized strength of 300,
     was established under the organized crime law to conduct
     investigations and prosecutions aimed at criminal organizations,
     including drug trafficking activities. 

  -- The Bilateral Task Forces, with an authorized strength of 70,
     are responsible for investigating and dismantling the most
     significant drug-trafficking organizations along the
     U.S.-Mexican border. 

Finally, in 1997, the Attorney General instituted a screening process
that is supposed to cover all PGR personnel including those who work
for the special units.  This process consists of personal background
and financial checks, medical and psychological screening,
urinalysis, and regular polygraph testing.  However, U.S.  embassy
officials stated that the screening requirements do not apply to
judges, most units of the military, and other key law enforcement
organizations engaged in drug control activities.  U.S.  agencies are
supporting this initiative by providing equipment, training, and
technical assistance.  Moreover, U.S.  embassy personnel are
concerned that Mexican personnel who failed the screening process are
still working in the Special Prosecutor's office and the special
units. 

Although all of Mexico's actions are positive steps to reducing
drug-related activities, there are still many issues that need to be
resolved.  For example,

  -- U.S.  and Mexican officials indicated that personnel shortages
     exist in the Special Prosecutor's office and the special units;

  -- the special units face operational and support problems,
     including inadequate Mexican government funding for equipment,
     fuel, and salary supplements for personnel assigned to the
     units, and the lack of standard operating procedures;

  -- U.S.  law enforcement agents assigned to the Bilateral Task
     Forces cannot carry arms in Mexico; and

  -- Mexico continues to have difficulty building competent law
     enforcement institutions because of low salaries and little job
     security. 


--------------------
\3 These units were carried over from the Institute upon its
dissolution. 


   PLANNING AND COORDINATION OF
   U.S.-PROVIDED ASSISTANCE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4

U.S.-provided assistance has enhanced the counternarcotics
capabilities of Mexico's military.  However, the effectiveness and
usefulness of some equipment provided or sold to Mexico is limited
due to inadequate planning and coordination among U.S.  agencies,
particularly military agencies within DOD. 

In October 1995, the U.S.  Secretary of Defense visited Mexico in an
effort to strengthen military-to-military relationships between the
two countries.  As a result of this visit, the Mexican military
agreed to accept U.S.  counternarcotics assistance.  Table 1 shows
DOD's counternarcotics assistance provided to the Mexican military
during fiscal years 1996-97. 



                                Table 1
                
                DOD Counternarcotics Assistance Provided
                 to the Mexican Military (fiscal years
                                1996-97)

                         (Dollars in millions)

                    Value of
Source of           assistan
assistance                ce  Type of assistance
------------------  --------  ----------------------------------------
Excess defense         $ 5.0  20 UH-1H helicopters
 articles\a
Section 506(a)(2)       37.0  53 UH-1H helicopters, 4 C-26 aircraft,
 drawdown\b                    2-year UH-1H spare parts package
Section 1004\c          26.0  About 70 percent used for training;
                               remainder for purchase of equipment
Section 1031\d           8.0  UH-1H spare parts
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 authorizes DOD to provide
excess equipment to the governments of major drug-producing
countries. 

\b Section 506(a)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 authorizes
the President to approve the provision of U.S.  military goods and
services to a foreign country for counternarcotics assistance when it
is in the U.S.  national interest. 

\c Section 1004 of the Defense Authorization Act of 1989 authorized
the Secretary of Defense to provide counternarcotics training and
other types of assistance to drug-producing countries. 

\d Section 1031 of the Defense Authorization Act of 1997 authorized
the Secretary of Defense to provide $8 million in counternarcotics
assistance to Mexico in fiscal year 1997. 

Sources:  U.S.  embassy in Mexico and the Defense Security Assistance
Agency. 

All of the helicopters and the C-26 aircraft were delivered to the
Mexican military during 1996 and 1997.  According to DOD officials,
Mexico has also received some logistics and training support;
however, they could not provide us with the exact level of support
given because this data was not readily available.  DOD plans to
provide about $13 million worth of counternarcotics assistance under
section 1004 of the Defense Authorization Act of 1989 to Mexico's
military in fiscal year 1998. 

Furthermore, the Mexican military used its own funds to purchase two
Knox-class frigates from the U.S.  Navy through the Foreign Military
Sales Program.\4 These two frigates were valued at about $7 million
and were delivered to Mexico in 1997. 

While some of the equipment has helped improve Mexico's capabilities,
some has been of limited usefulness.  Additionally, inadequate
logistics support to the Mexican military has hindered its efforts to
reduce drug-related activities in Mexico.  The following examples
illustrate some of the problems. 

  -- The U.S.  embassy has reported that the UH-1H helicopters
     provided to Mexico to improve the interdiction capability of
     Mexican army units are of little utility above 5,000 feet, where
     significant drug-related activities, including opium poppy
     cultivation, are occurring. 

  -- The average operational rates for the UH-1H helicopters have
     remained relatively low, averaging between 35 and 54 percent,
     because of inadequate logistics support such as delays in the
     delivery of spare parts. 

  -- The four C-26 aircraft were provided to Mexico without the
     capability to perform the intended surveillance mission.\5 U.S. 
     embassy officials stated that the Mexican military has not
     decided how many of the aircraft will be modified to perform the
     surveillance mission, but modifying each aircraft selected for
     surveillance will cost at least $3 million. 

Regarding the two Knox-class frigates, when they were delivered in
August 1997, the ships lacked the equipment needed to ensure the
safety of the crew, thus rendering the ships inoperable.  The U.S. 
Navy estimated that it will cost the Mexican Navy about $400,000 to
procure this equipment and that it will be at least 2 years before
the ships will be operational.  Even though the U.S.  Navy knew that
the ships would not be operational when they were delivered, DOD
began providing the Mexican Navy with about $1.3 million worth of
training to 110 personnel related to the two Knox-class frigates. 
U.S.  embassy officials stated that this training will be completed
in March 1998.  The Mexican Navy will reassign these personnel until
the ships can be used.  According to DOD officials, they approved the
training because they were not informed by the U.S.  Navy that the
ships would not be operational. 

We believe that planning and coordination of U.S.  counternarcotics
assistance to Mexico could be improved.  Thus, we believe that the
Secretary of State, in close consultation with the Secretary of
Defense and the National Security Council, should take steps to
ensure that future assistance is, to the maximum extent possible,
compatible with the priority requirements identified in U.S. 
counternarcotics programs and that adequate support resources are
available to maximize the benefits of the assistance. 


--------------------
\4 The Arms Export Control Act authorizes the Defense Department to
sell U.S.  defense articles and services to eligible countries.  The
countries may procure items using their own funds, U.S.  grant funds,
or U.S.  loan funds. 

\5 The C-26 aircraft is a military version of the Fairchild metro
10-passenger turboprop aircraft used by the Air National Guard.  It
was provided by the National Security Council to enhance the
surveillance capability of the various drug-producing and -transit
countries, including Mexico. 


   PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR U.S. 
   AND MEXICAN DRUG CONTROL
   EFFORTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

Without measures of effectiveness, it is difficult for U.S. 
decisionmakers to evaluate the progress that the United States and
Mexico are making to reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United
States.  We have previously noted the need for ONDCP to develop drug
control plans that include performance measures to allow it to assess
the effectiveness of antidrug programs. 

In February 1997, we recommended that ONDCP complete its long-term
drug control plan, including quantifiable performance measures and
multiyear funding needs linked to the goals and objectives of the
international drug control strategy.\6 Subsequently, in February
1998, ONDCP issued a national drug control strategy covering a
10-year period.  In March 1998, ONDCP issued general performance
measures, but they do not include targets and milestones for specific
countries, such as Mexico. 

As I noted earlier, the United States and Mexico issued a joint
U.S.-Mexico binational drug strategy in February 1998.  Although the
binational strategy is indicative of increased U.S.-Mexico
cooperation, it does not contain critical performance measures and
milestones for assessing performance.  State Department officials
stated that the bilateral process of establishing performance
measures and milestones is incremental and will be addressed during
1998.  ONDCP officials told us that they plan to issue specific
targets and milestones for the binational strategy by the end of this
year. 


--------------------
\6 Drug Control:  Long-Standing Problems Hinder U.S.  International
Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-97-75, Feb.  27, 1997). 


-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5.1

This concludes my prepared remarks.  I would be happy to respond to
any questions you may have. 

RELATED GAO PRODUCTS

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

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

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

Gains Made in Controlling Illegal Drugs, Yet the Drug Trade
Flourishes (GAO/GGD-80-8, Oct.  25, 1979). 

Opium Eradication Efforts in Mexico:  Cautious Optimism Advised
(GAO/GGD-77-6, Feb.  18, 1977). 

*** End of document. ***