The Joint Interagency Task Force West (JIAT F West), has come a long way since its beginnings in 1989 as the Joint Task Force Five.
The U.S. military originally charged the task force with searching for and observing “vessels of interest” and sometimes gave it tactical control over U.S. Navy and Coast Guard surface vessels and aircraft. After shifting operations to Hawaii, JIATF West progressed from a drug buster to a partner in counterdrug efforts throughout the Pacific.
Today, JIAT F West’s mission is to “combat drugrelated transnational organized crime to reduce threats in the Asia-Pacific region in order to protect national security interests and promote regional stability,” according to its website.
The joint task force’s role as partner to multiple agencies and militaries across the Pacific puts it in a unique position as a provider. Partner nations that request to work with JIAT F West have much to gain in the way of training and facilities for strategic counternarcotics projects. For example, Thailand received border checkpoints and training facilities; the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, a new national training academy; and Indonesia, boat berthing facilities and police and customs outstations to aid in the fight against transnational criminal organizations.