Focus on the Western Hemisphere: A Network Approach

Focus on the Western Hemisphere: A Network Approach

By Dialogo
December 19, 2014








In addition to my role as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, I am also The Interdiction Committee (TIC) chair. TIC is comprised of key representatives from a coalition of U.S. agencies dedicated to disrupting illicit networks in the drug trade, specifically through interdiction efforts in the Western Hemisphere maritime transit zone.

President Obama recently announced the U.S. Government’s strategy for Central America and its focus on promoting prosperity and regional economic integration, enhancing security and promoting improved governance. TIC efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s Southern Border and Approaches Campaign plan, and our own Western Hemisphere Strategy directly support the president’s national strategy. Vice President Biden emphasized this coordination when he referenced our committee’s engagements in Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia and Honduras during his remarks at the Inter-American Development Bank Conference.

Federal agencies and international partners are working tirelessly in the United States and abroad to combat Transnational Organized Crime networks. These efforts have been instrumental in eradicating production facilities and controlling the purchase of precursor chemicals used to make drugs; interrupting mobility corridors when illegal narcotics are being moved to stockpile locations; and integrating efforts to disrupt drug shipments and the distribution chain to impact the network itself.

The success of this coordination and U.S. resources committed to dismantling illicit drug networks hinges on strong international partnerships forged by common goals. As a committee, we met with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to address this international effort. We also engaged with Panama’s National Aero-Naval Service, or SENAN, to build on recent successes in disrupting narco-trafficking on both sides of Panama’s isthmus.

The committee worked with senior officials in Colombia, which was once included among the most dangerous countries in our hemisphere. But, through great courage and resolve, Colombia has successfully waged a hard-fought battle against illicit networks and become a prosperous nation. Colombia is also exerting regional leadership to turn illicit trafficking into an unprofitable industry. In talks with senior members of Colombia’s Navy and National Police, we heard about their experiences and success as they continue to dismantle insidious networks.

We then traveled to Honduras, a country with the highest murder rate in the world. Most of this violence is directly associated with Transnational Organized Crime networks in the region. We met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss ways we can partner in combating illicit drug networks and create time and space for the seeds of governance and economic prosperity to grow. Honduras is a willing partner, and its future is important to our national security.

Illicit networks run a staggering multi-billion dollar industry, destabilizing countries in the Western Hemisphere through violence and turmoil, undermining the rule of law and terrorizing citizens in the communities they infiltrate. Despite successes in reducing domestic cocaine use, the United States remains the number one consumer nation of illegal narcotics in the world and the consequences in our country are immediate and devastating. According to estimates by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the total cost to the U.S. society from annual illegal drug use is nearly $200 billion. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives have been lost to drug overdoses and associated violence since 2001.

Together, with a network approach, the U.S. Coast Guard is committed to hemispheric safety and security. We are committed to combating Transnational Organized Crime networks, securing our borders and safeguarding commerce.







In addition to my role as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, I am also The Interdiction Committee (TIC) chair. TIC is comprised of key representatives from a coalition of U.S. agencies dedicated to disrupting illicit networks in the drug trade, specifically through interdiction efforts in the Western Hemisphere maritime transit zone.

President Obama recently announced the U.S. Government’s strategy for Central America and its focus on promoting prosperity and regional economic integration, enhancing security and promoting improved governance. TIC efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s Southern Border and Approaches Campaign plan, and our own Western Hemisphere Strategy directly support the president’s national strategy. Vice President Biden emphasized this coordination when he referenced our committee’s engagements in Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia and Honduras during his remarks at the Inter-American Development Bank Conference.

Federal agencies and international partners are working tirelessly in the United States and abroad to combat Transnational Organized Crime networks. These efforts have been instrumental in eradicating production facilities and controlling the purchase of precursor chemicals used to make drugs; interrupting mobility corridors when illegal narcotics are being moved to stockpile locations; and integrating efforts to disrupt drug shipments and the distribution chain to impact the network itself.

The success of this coordination and U.S. resources committed to dismantling illicit drug networks hinges on strong international partnerships forged by common goals. As a committee, we met with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to address this international effort. We also engaged with Panama’s National Aero-Naval Service, or SENAN, to build on recent successes in disrupting narco-trafficking on both sides of Panama’s isthmus.

The committee worked with senior officials in Colombia, which was once included among the most dangerous countries in our hemisphere. But, through great courage and resolve, Colombia has successfully waged a hard-fought battle against illicit networks and become a prosperous nation. Colombia is also exerting regional leadership to turn illicit trafficking into an unprofitable industry. In talks with senior members of Colombia’s Navy and National Police, we heard about their experiences and success as they continue to dismantle insidious networks.

We then traveled to Honduras, a country with the highest murder rate in the world. Most of this violence is directly associated with Transnational Organized Crime networks in the region. We met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss ways we can partner in combating illicit drug networks and create time and space for the seeds of governance and economic prosperity to grow. Honduras is a willing partner, and its future is important to our national security.

Illicit networks run a staggering multi-billion dollar industry, destabilizing countries in the Western Hemisphere through violence and turmoil, undermining the rule of law and terrorizing citizens in the communities they infiltrate. Despite successes in reducing domestic cocaine use, the United States remains the number one consumer nation of illegal narcotics in the world and the consequences in our country are immediate and devastating. According to estimates by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the total cost to the U.S. society from annual illegal drug use is nearly $200 billion. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives have been lost to drug overdoses and associated violence since 2001.

Together, with a network approach, the U.S. Coast Guard is committed to hemispheric safety and security. We are committed to combating Transnational Organized Crime networks, securing our borders and safeguarding commerce.
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