Lessons from Maritime Narcotics Interdiction

Interdiction in the Maritime Source, Transit, and Arrival Zones of the Western Hemisphere

Published in: Maritime Security: Counter-Terrorism Lessons from Maritime Piracy and Narcotics Interdiction, Part 1: Organized Crime and Narcotrafficking, pages 3–28 (August 2020). doi: 10.3233/NHSDP200049

Posted on RAND.org on November 05, 2020

by Aaron C. Davenport

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Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of the citizens of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity. Valuable maritime security lessons from counter-narcotics operations have not been fully incorporated into counter-terrorism best practices. Effective domestic and international partnerships are essential to the success of the counterdrug mission. Partnerships provide a force multiplier by encouraging unified and efficient effort by personnel from multiple agencies, and by facilitating the sharing of information and assets. The success of any counter narcotics enterprise encompasses domestic and international efforts and thus depends on cooperation among concerned nations. Sharing information with foreign partners and with regional, local, and private actors has been proven over and over again to be absolutely critical to success in combating any transnational threat and preventing illegal activities from threatening the homeland and allies. These partnerships are based upon a shared commitment to detect, prevent, disrupt, pre-empt, and mitigate the effects of transnational crime. Today's national security challenges lend themselves increasingly to "whole of government" and "unity of effort" solutions that will require structural and cultural changes in the executive and legislative branches. Better interagency organizational constructs are common recommendations in national security reports and commentaries. End-to-end mission management is also key for success. No one organization can do it all, due to the complexity involved and the resources required. Intelligence generation occurs at every step and has been another key to continuously improved performance.

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