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Drug Interdiction Assets, and Develop Better Performance Measures for 
Transit Zone Operations' which was released on November 30, 2005. 

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Report to Congressional Committees: 

November 2005: 

Drug Control: 

Agencies Need to Plan for Likely Declines in Drug Interdiction Assets, 
and Develop Better Performance Measures for Transit Zone Operations: 

GAO-06-200: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-200, a report to congressional committees: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

One of the U.S. National Drug Control Strategy’s priorities is to 
disrupt the illicit drug market. To this end, the Departments of 
Defense and Homeland Security provide ships and aircraft to disrupt the 
flow of illicit drugs, primarily cocaine, shipped from South America 
through the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean—an area known as 
the transit zone. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) 
oversees the U.S. anti-drug strategy. The Joint Interagency Task Force-
South (JIATF-South) directs most transit zone operations. We examined 
U.S. efforts to interdict maritime movements of cocaine. We analyzed 
the (1) changes in cocaine seizures and disruptions since calendar year 
2000, (2) trends in interdiction assets provided since fiscal year 
2000, (3) challenges to maintaining transit zone interdiction 
operations, and (4) performance measures the agencies use to assess 
their progress. 

What GAO Found: 

Cocaine seizures and disruptions in the transit zone have increased 
about 68 percent since calendar year 2000—from 117 metric tons in 2000 
to 196 metric tons in 2004. About two-thirds of the disruptions were in 
the western Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean where the United 
States has most of its interdiction assets. JIATF-South and other 
cognizant officials attribute the increase to improved interagency 
cooperation and intelligence, the introduction of armed helicopters to 
stop go-fast boats, and increased cooperation from nations in the 
region.

Since fiscal year 2000, the availability of assets—ships and 
aircraft—to disrupt drug trafficking in the transit zone have varied. 
On-station ship days peaked in fiscal year 2001 and flight hours peaked 
in 2002, but both have generally declined since then, primarily because 
the Department of Defense has provided fewer assets. Declines in 
Defense assets have been largely offset by the Coast Guard, Customs and 
Border Protection (CBP), and certain allied nations. Nevertheless, in 
recent years, JIATF-South has detected less than one-third of the 
“known and actionable” maritime illicit drug movements in the western 
Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean. Yet, once detected, over 80 
percent of the drug movements were disrupted.

Various factors pose challenges to maintaining the current level of 
transit zone interdiction operations. The reduced availability of the 
U.S. Navy’s P3 maritime patrol aircraft due to structural problems will 
degrade the U.S. capability to detect suspect maritime movements, 
readiness rates of older Coast Guard ships have declined since fiscal 
year 2000, and the surface radar system on the Coast Guard’s long-range 
surveillance aircraft is often inoperable. Coast Guard and CBP 
officials also noted that they may not be able to sustain their level 
of assets in light of budget constraints and other homeland security 
priorities that may arise. These officials expressed concern that the 
long-term implications of likely declines in transit zone assets have 
not been addressed. 

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires agencies to 
develop performance measures to assess progress in achieving their 
goals. The Coast Guard’s measures relate to reducing cocaine flow 
through the transit zone, CBP’s planned measures are not specific to 
the transit zone, and Defense’s planned measures focus on the number of 
disruptions of cocaine movements. But data that would help in assessing 
transit zone interdiction operations are problematic. For instance, in 
its assessment for 2004, ONDCP reported that between 325 metric tons 
and 675 metric tons of cocaine may be moving towards the United States. 
Such a wide range is not useful for assessing transit zone interdiction 
operations. In addition, data on U.S. drug usage are difficult to 
obtain and often cannot be generalized to the United States. In a 2001 
report for ONDCP, the National Research Council made similar 
observations and recommended ways to improve the collection and 
analysis of illicit drug data, but ONDCP has not fully addressed them. 

What GAO Recommends: 

We recommend that Defense and Homeland Security (1) plan for likely 
declines in interdiction assets and (2) develop measures with ONDCP to 
better assess interdiction operations. We also recommend that ONDCP 
address prior recommendations to improve drug data. The agencies 
generally agreed, but did not detail when and how they will address 
these recommendations. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-200.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Jess T. Ford at (202) 512-
4268 or FordJj@gao.gov.

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Several Factors Have Contributed to the Increase in Cocaine Seizures 
and Disruptions: 

Availability of Assets Provided for Interdiction Operations Have Varied 
Since Fiscal Year 2000: 

Challenges in Maintaining Interdiction Operations: 

Agencies' Performance Measures Vary and Data for Assessing Performance 
Are Problematic: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Counternarcotics Maritime Law Enforcement Agreements: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

Appendix V: Comments from the Office of National Drug Control Policy: 

Tables: 

Table 1: U.S. Counternarcotics Assistance to Countries in the Source 
and Transit Zones, Fiscal Years 2000-2005: 

Table 2: Metric Tons of Cocaine Seized and Disrupted in the Transit 
Zone by Region, Calendar Years 2000-2004: 

Table 3: Detection and Disruption of Known Actionable Maritime Drug 
Movements in the Western Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, 
Calendar Year 2000 through June 2005: 

Table 4: ONDCP's Primary Sources of Information on Illicit Drug 
Availability and Use in the United States: 

Table 5: Counternarcotics Maritime Law Enforcement Agreements with 
Countries in the Source and Transit Zones: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: The Transit Zone

Figure 2: On-Station Ship Days for Interdiction in the Transit Zone, 
Fiscal Years 2000-2005

Figure 3: On-Station Flight Hours for Interdiction in the Transit Zone, 
Fiscal Years 2000-2005

Figure 4: Total P-3 On-Station Flight Hours in the Transit Zone, Fiscal 
Years 2000-2005: 

Abbreviations: 

AWACS: Airborne Warning and Control System: 

CBP: Bureau for Customs and Border Protection: 

DEA: Drug Enforcement Administration: 

DIA: Defense Intelligence Agency: 

IACM: Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement: 

JIATF-South: Joint Interagency Task Force-South: 

JIATF-West: Joint Interagency Task Force-West: 

ONDCP: Office of National Drug Control Policy: 

Letter November 15, 2005: 

The Honorable Charles E. Grassley: 
Chairman: 
Caucus on International Narcotics Control: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Tom Davis: 
Chairman: 
Committee on Government Reform: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Mark Souder: 
Chairman: 
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources: 
Committee on Government Reform: 
House of Representatives: 

The 2002 U.S. National Drug Control Strategy set two goals: (1) to 
lower the rate of illicit drug use by 10 percent over 2 years among 
both youth and adults and (2) to lower the rate by 25 percent over 5 
years in the United States. One of the strategy's three priorities for 
achieving these goals is to disrupt the illicit drug market in order to 
reduce the profitability of the drug trade.[Footnote 1] To this end, 
during fiscal years 2000-2005, the United States has provided more than 
$6 billion to Colombia and other countries in the region for 
counternarcotics, alternative development, and judicial reform efforts. 
In addition, the United States and certain allies have devoted assets--
ships and aircraft--to disrupt the flow of illicit narcotics, primarily 
cocaine, shipped to the United States through a 6 million square mile 
area known as the transit zone.[Footnote 2] 

Between calendar years 2001 and 2004, the Office of National Drug 
Control Policy (ONDCP) reported that cocaine production was reduced by 
almost one-third and seizures and disruptions[Footnote 3] of cocaine in 
the transit zone increased by over 40 percent to almost 200 metric 
tons. Despite these reported successes in disrupting cocaine 
trafficking, a study commissioned by ONDCP indicates that the retail 
price of cocaine in the United States continued to decline through the 
second quarter of 2003--the latest available data--while retail purity 
remained relatively high, indicating that the supply of cocaine had not 
been reduced.[Footnote 4] Further, a 2004 survey on drug use estimated 
that the number of cocaine users in the United States had remained 
roughly constant at about 2 million users from 2002 to 2004.[Footnote 
5] Other sources estimate the number of chronic and occasional cocaine 
users may be as high as 6 million. 

The Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South) in Key West, 
Florida, under the U.S. Southern Command, has primary responsibility 
for U.S. detection and monitoring of drug trafficking activities in the 
transit zone.[Footnote 6] The Coast Guard has primary operational 
control for most interdiction operations. The Department of Defense 
(Defense) provides maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters, and ships; 
the Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security)--primarily, the 
Coast Guard and the Bureau for Customs and Border Protection 
(CBP)[Footnote 7]--provides maritime patrol aircraft, ships, and law 
enforcement assistance; and the Department of Justice (Justice) 
provides prosecutorial and law enforcement assistance. JIATF-South also 
receives some operational support from various countries within the 
transit zone, and France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom also 
provide air and maritime assistance in the eastern Caribbean Sea. 

To address your interest in U.S. drug interdiction operations in the 
transit zone, we examined (1) the changes in the amounts of cocaine 
seized and disrupted since calendar year 2000 and the factors that have 
contributed to these changes, (2) trends in the assets provided by the 
United States and other nations since fiscal year 2000 to support 
cocaine interdiction in the transit zone, (3) the challenges facing 
these agencies in maintaining current levels of transit zone 
interdiction operations, and (4) how the principal agencies involved in 
interdiction operations assess their performance. 

To address these objectives, we focused on cocaine because nearly all 
the cocaine entering the United States comes from South America through 
the transit zone. Furthermore, we focused on maritime movements of 
cocaine through the western Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean 
because the United States has positioned most of its interdiction 
assets in these areas. We reviewed relevant planning and resource 
documents and related reports. We also met with cognizant officials at 
Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice in Washington, D.C; law 
enforcement officers involved in interdiction efforts based in 
Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, and Sarasota, Florida, and Nassau, Bahamas; 
and cognizant officials at JIATF-South in Key West, Florida. We 
obtained and analyzed data on (1) cocaine seizures and disruptions for 
calendar years 2000 through 2004 provided by the U.S. Interdiction 
Coordinator, and (2) ship days and flight hours spent on interdiction 
missions during fiscal years 2000-2005, provided by JIATF-South and 
JIATF-West. Through comparisons with similar data compiled by the Coast 
Guard, CBP, and Defense, and discussions with JIATF-South and JIATF-
West officials primarily responsible for compiling the data, we 
determined that these data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes 
of this report. We performed our work from August 2004 through October 
2005 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. (See appendix I for a more complete discussion of our scope 
and methodology.) 

Results in Brief: 

Based on data managed by the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator, reported 
seizures and disruptions of cocaine in the transit zone increased over 
two-thirds from 117 metric tons in calendar year 2000 to a record 
amount of 196 metric tons in calendar year 2004. Most of the seizures 
and disruptions occurred in the western Caribbean Sea and eastern 
Pacific Ocean where the United States has positioned most of its ships 
and aircraft for interdiction purposes. Overall, according to JIATF-
South and other cognizant officials, improved interagency cooperation 
and intelligence, the use of armed helicopters to assist in 
interdiction efforts, and improved international cooperation 
contributed to the increased seizures and disruptions. Specifically, 

* Through the cooperation of several U.S. law enforcement agencies, 
specific information about cocaine movements has been provided to JIATF-
South. This has permitted JIATF-South to direct operations at more 
certain targets, rather than searching wide expanses of the transit 
zone for suspicious movements of boats and small aircraft. 

* Beginning in calendar year 2000, the Coast Guard began deploying 
helicopters equipped with machine guns and 50 caliber sniper rifles to 
help interdiction efforts, in particular, pursuing and stopping speed 
boats (called "go-fast" boats) that are a principal mode of 
transporting cocaine through the transit zone. 

* Several nations in the region have increased their cooperation with 
U.S. efforts to deploy and service aircraft in their countries. For 
example, the United States has agreements to deploy aircraft in 
Ecuador, El Salvador, Aruba, and Curacao, and uses facilities in Costa 
Rica and Panama to support surveillance aircraft, expanding the 
duration and range of interdiction efforts. 

Since fiscal year 2000, the availability of U.S. and allied assets 
spent on interdiction operations in the transit zone--as measured in on-
station ship days and flight hours[Footnote 8]--has varied. U.S. and 
allied on-station ship days decreased from approximately 3,600 days in 
fiscal year 2000 to about 3,300 in fiscal year 2005, and U.S. and 
allied on-station flight hours increased from approximately 10,500 
hours in fiscal year 2000 to almost 12,900 in fiscal year 2005. 
However, on-station ship days peaked in fiscal year 2001 and flight 
hours peaked in fiscal year 2002, but both have generally declined 
since then, primarily because Defense has provided fewer assets. 
Declines in Defense assets were largely offset by the Coast Guard, CBP, 
and several allied European nations--France, the Netherlands, and the 
United Kingdom. Nevertheless, with the assets available in recent 
years, JIATF-South reports that it detected (made visual contact with) 
less than one-third of the known maritime drug movements. 

Several challenges raise concerns about the ability of the United 
States to sustain its level of interdiction operations in the transit 
zone. Primarily, the availability of some key U.S. assets for 
interdiction operations, such as maritime patrol aircraft, is 
declining. Through fiscal year 2005, the number of hours flown by U.S. 
Navy P-3 maritime patrol aircraft on interdiction missions had 
decreased nearly 60 percent since fiscal year 2000 (from about 3,560 
hours to about 1,490) primarily because of structural problems in the 
aircraft's wings. In addition, the Netherlands removed its P-3 maritime 
patrol aircraft from the transit zone in December 2004. According to 
JIATF-South and other cognizant officials, the declining availability 
of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft is the most critical challenge to the 
success of future interdiction operations. Further, the readiness rates 
for older Coast Guard vessels and maritime patrol aircraft have 
declined, and the surface radar system used to detect and monitor drug 
trafficking activities on its aircraft is often inoperable. While some 
short-term remedies have been taken, cognizant officials expressed 
concern that the longer-term implications of likely declines in transit 
zone monitoring and interdiction asset availability have not been 
addressed. Moreover, officials were concerned that: 

* Drug traffickers have changed tactics. In particular, traffickers 
have taken routes further south and west into the Pacific Ocean before 
continuing on to Central America or Mexico. This is a much larger area 
to patrol and makes detection and interdiction more difficult. 

* Although most nations in the transit zone, especially countries in 
Central America and the eastern Caribbean Sea, cooperate with U.S. 
interdiction efforts, these countries lack the capability and resources 
to compensate for any decline in U.S. and European allies' assets. 

Agencies' performance measures for transit zone interdiction operations 
vary and data for assessing their performance are problematic. While 
the Coast Guard has developed performance measures to assess their 
activities in the transit zone, Defense is currently developing them. 
CBP has not developed performance measures specifically related to its 
drug interdiction mission in the transit zone. In our previous work, we 
noted that the lack of clear measurable goals makes it difficult to 
link day-to-day efforts to achieving an agency's intended 
mission.[Footnote 9] Additionally, data to assess whether operations in 
the transit zone contribute to the U.S. National Drug Control 
Strategy's priority of disrupting the illicit drug market or the 
overall goal of reducing the rate of drug usage in the United States 
are problematic. For example, ONDCP's annual assessment of cocaine 
movement for 2004 reported that between 325 to 675 metric tons of 
cocaine may be moving towards the United States. This wide range is not 
useful for assessing interdiction efforts. Data on drug availability 
and use in the United States are difficult to obtain, often cannot be 
generalized to the entire country, and takes a year or more to collect 
and analyze. As a result, even under the best of circumstances, several 
years of drug usage data are needed to show the effects of a change in 
drug policy. In a 2001 report prepared for ONDCP, the National Research 
Council concluded that the United States had neither the data systems 
nor the research infrastructure needed to assess the effectiveness of 
drug control enforcement policies. In particular, the Council 
highlighted the absence of adequate, reliable data on illicit drug 
prices and use. The Council made numerous recommendations to improve 
data collection and analysis; eight were addressed in full or in part 
to ONDCP, but ONDCP has not fully addressed the Council's 
recommendations. 

We recommend that the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security (1) 
plan for the likely decline in the future availability of ships and 
aircraft for transit zone interdiction operations; and (2) develop and 
coordinate performance measures, in conjunction with ONDCP, that take 
advantage of available data (such as the number of detections, 
seizures, and disruptions) to provide a basis for deciding how to 
deploy increasingly limited assets. We also recommend that the Director 
of ONDCP address each of the recommendations made by the National 
Research Council and report to Congress the actions taken, or that 
still need to be taken, to address them; or document why it should not 
do so. Overall, in commenting on a draft of this report, Defense, 
Homeland Security, and ONDCP stated that they generally concurred with 
the recommendations that applied to them, but did not detail when and 
how they will address them. 

Background: 

ONDCP expects that disrupting the illicit drug market will reduce the 
availability of illicit drugs, increase their cost, and, eventually, 
reduce the rate of drug usage. To disrupt the cocaine market, the U.S. 
National Drug Control Strategy calls for, among other things, seizing 
"enormous and unsustainable" amounts of cocaine from traffickers. One 
part of the strategy to disrupt the market focuses U.S. interdiction 
efforts on seizing cocaine and other illicit drugs bound for the United 
States from South America in the transit zone. The transit zone is a 
six million square mile area that encompasses Central America, Mexico, 
the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific Ocean 
(see fig. 1). Typically, drug traffickers use go-fast boats and fishing 
vessels to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Central America and Mexico 
en route to the United States. Go-fast boats are capable of traveling 
over 40 knots and are difficult to detect in open water. Moreover, the 
go-fast boats often travel at night. When they travel in daylight, the 
boats are often painted blue, or the crew can cover the boat with a 
blue tarpaulin, thereby becoming virtually impossible to see. Even when 
detected, go-fast boats can often outrun conventional ships deployed in 
the transit zone. 

Figure 1: The Transit Zone: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

The primary departments supporting interdiction operations in the 
transit zone are Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security. Defense 
provides surveillance aircraft, helicopters, and maritime vessels; 
Justice provides prosecutorial and law enforcement assistance; and 
Homeland Security--primarily, the Coast Guard and CBP--provides 
surveillance aircraft, maritime vessels, and law enforcement 
assistance. JIATF-South also receives some operational support from 
various countries in the transit zone; and France, the Netherlands, and 
the United Kingdom provide air and maritime detection and monitoring 
assistance in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Justice's Drug Enforcement 
Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. 
Attorney's Office provide intelligence for operations and investigate 
and prosecute drug traffickers. Other organizations help guide and 
support interdiction efforts in the transit zone: 

* ONDCP oversees and coordinates implementation of the U.S. National 
Drug Control Strategy and reviews department and agency budget 
proposals for anti-drug programs, including interdiction efforts in the 
transit zone. 

* The U.S. Interdiction Coordinator reports to the Director, ONDCP, and 
provides strategic advice and oversight of U.S. agencies' interdiction 
efforts in the transit zone. It also manages the Consolidated 
Counterdrug Database that records drug trafficking events, including 
detections, seizures, and disruptions. The database is vetted quarterly 
by members of the interagency counterdrug community to minimize 
duplicate or questionable reported drug movements. 

* JIATF-South, under the U.S. Southern Command, is the primary 
operations center and coordinator for detecting and monitoring suspect 
air and maritime drug trafficking events in the transit zone. JIATF-
South includes representatives from Defense, Justice, Homeland 
Security, and others; nations such as France, the Netherlands, and the 
United Kingdom; and several nations in the transit and source[Footnote 
10] zones. 

The Coast Guard, CBP, and Defense do not routinely track funds 
obligated and expended, ship days, or flight hours provided for drug 
interdiction in the transit zone.[Footnote 11] However, during fiscal 
years 2000-2005, the United States provided about $6.2 billion to 
support counternarcotics and related programs in the source and transit 
zones (see table 1).[Footnote 12] In the source zone, U.S. assistance 
supports eradication and interdiction efforts and related programs for 
alternative development and judicial reform, primarily in Bolivia, 
Colombia, and Peru. In the transit zone, the United States provided 
about $365 million in assistance--primarily to El Salvador, Guatemala, 
Haiti, and Mexico--to support interdiction and other law enforcement 
programs. 

Table 1: U.S. Counternarcotics Assistance to Countries in the Source 
and Transit Zones, Fiscal Years 2000-2005: 

Dollars in millions. 

Source zone[A]; 
Fiscal year: 2000: $1,604; 
Fiscal year: 2001: $345; 
Fiscal year: 2002: $774; 
Fiscal year: 2003: $1,123; 
Fiscal year: 2004: $964; 
Fiscal year: 2005 (estimated): $1,016; 
Total: $5,826. 

Transit zone; 
Fiscal year: 2000: 41; 
Fiscal year: 2001: 41; 
Fiscal year: 2002: 56; 
Fiscal year: 2003: 52; 
Fiscal year: 2004: 92; 
Fiscal year: 2005 (estimated): 83; 
Total: $365. 

Total; 
Fiscal year: 2000: $1,645; 
Fiscal year: 2001: $386; 
Fiscal year: 2002: $821; 
Fiscal year: 2003: $1,175; 
Fiscal year: 2004: $1,056; 
Fiscal year: 2005 (estimated): $1,099; 
Total: $6,182. 

Sources: Congressional Research Service and the State Department. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[A] Source zone funding includes the Andean Counterdrug Initiative and 
related Defense and Foreign Military Financing programs. The table does 
not include Defense assistance for activities that cannot be directly 
tied to a nation, such as the operation of ground-based radars. 

[End of table] 

Several Factors Have Contributed to the Increase in Cocaine Seizures 
and Disruptions: 

Cocaine seizures and disruptions in the transit zone have increased 
over two-thirds from calendar year 2000 to calendar year 2004. JIATF-
South and other cognizant agency officials pointed to a number of 
factors that contributed to the increases, such as better intelligence 
on cocaine movements that allow JIATF-South to target specific cocaine 
shipments; the introduction of armed helicopters increasing the 
capability to interdict cocaine shipments on go-fast boats; and 
increased cooperation from nations in the region, which has led to more 
efficient use of resources. 

Cocaine Seizures and Disruptions Have Increased: 

Cocaine seizures and disruptions have increased about 68 percent since 
calendar year 2000. As shown in table 2, the United States and its 
allies seized or disrupted 157 metric tons of cocaine in calendar year 
2003 and 196 metric tons in 2004, a record amount. During this period, 
about two-thirds of all the cocaine seized or disrupted was in the 
eastern Pacific Ocean and western Caribbean Sea, where according to 
JIATF-South officials, the United States has positioned most of its 
ships and aircraft for interdiction and other purposes. 

Table 2: Metric Tons of Cocaine Seized and Disrupted in the Transit 
Zone by Region, Calendar Years 2000-2004: 

Region: Eastern Pacific Ocean and western Caribbean Sea; 
Calendar year: 2000: 70; 
Calendar year: 2001: 88; 
Calendar year: 2002: 92; 
Calendar year: 2003: 91; 
Calendar year: 2004: 143. 

Region: Eastern Caribbean Sea; 
Calendar year: 2000: 14; 
Calendar year: 2001: 23; 
Calendar year: 2002: 20; 
Calendar year: 2003: 26; 
Calendar year: 2004: 6. 

Region: Mexico and Central America; 
Calendar year: 2000: 33; 
Calendar year: 2001: 28; 
Calendar year: 2002: 26; 
Calendar year: 2003: 40; 
Calendar year: 2004: 47. 

Region: Total for transit zone; 
Calendar year: 2000: 117; 
Calendar year: 2001: 139; 
Calendar year: 2002: 138; 
Calendar year: 2003: 157; 
Calendar year: 2004: 196. 

Source: ONDCP's Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement based on the 
Consolidated Counterdrug Database. 

[End of table] 

Factors Contributing to Increases: 

Improved intelligence on cocaine shipments gained from law enforcement 
operations has allowed JIATF-South to more often target suspected drug 
shipments rather than searching wide expanses of the transit zone for 
suspicious movements of boats and small aircraft. In addition, in 
calendar year 2000, the Coast Guard began deploying armed helicopters, 
which has greatly increased the U.S. capability to stop go-fast boats. 
Further, several nations in the region have increased their cooperation 
with U.S. efforts through bilateral maritime agreements, as well as 
agreements to allow the United States to deploy and re-supply U.S. 
aircraft and ships on their territory. 

Better Intelligence: 

An interagency law enforcement investigation operation known as "Panama 
Express" has increased the amount of intelligence on drug trafficking 
activities. Panama Express is a multi-agency investigation that was 
initiated in 1995 and is jointly managed by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, DEA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement but also 
includes officials from several federal,[Footnote 13] state, and local 
law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, Florida, 
provides prosecution support for all Panama Express investigations. 
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Panama Express investigations 
have contributed to the successful prosecution of around 700 
individuals, and the seizure and disruption of about 380 metric tons of 
cocaine since 2000 (or about 51 percent of all the cocaine seized and 
disrupted). 

In addition, a JIATF-South official told us that, as of September 2005, 
16 embassies and consulates throughout the region had tactical analysis 
teams. These teams analyze information on drug trafficking activities 
and provide the information to JIATF-South, DEA, and other operational 
organizations for use in interdiction missions. 

Armed Helicopters Have Been Added: 

Interdiction efforts have been strengthened by the addition of armed 
helicopters. Beginning in calendar year 2000, the Coast Guard began 
deploying MH-68A helicopters equipped with 7.62 millimeter machine guns 
and 50 caliber sniper rifles from its base in Jacksonville, 
Florida.[Footnote 14] The helicopters' main value is their capability 
to pursue and stop go-fast boats, which can travel over 40 knots--often 
outrunning U.S. and allied surface ships. According to Coast Guard 
officials, since November 2002 the armed helicopters have successfully 
stopped every go-fast boat that they have engaged and contributed to 77 
maritime drug interdictions and the seizure of approximately 94 metric 
tons of cocaine. 

In addition, the U.S. Navy plans to deploy armed helicopters to pursue 
and stop go-fast boats in fiscal year 2006. According to Defense 
officials, these helicopters will have specialized equipment similar to 
the Coast Guard helicopters. According to the Coast Guard, it will have 
personnel on board for law enforcement purposes. 

Increased Cooperation from Nations in the Transit Zone: 

Since 2000, the number of countries in the transit zone that have 
signed all or parts of bilateral maritime agreements increased from 21 
to 25. These agreements permit, among other things, ship boarding 
rights for U.S. law enforcement officials and pursuit and entry into 
these countries' territorial waters to interdict drug traffickers. In 
addition, several countries have agreed to additional provisions in the 
maritime agreements, in particular, the International Maritime 
Interdiction Support Clause, which allows the United States to fly 
suspected drug traffickers detained on U.S. ships directly to the 
United States for prosecution. As a result, these surface ships can 
resume patrols in the transit zone rather than transporting the 
suspects directly to the United States, or waiting in a foreign port 
for the suspects to be extradited. Coast Guard officials told us that, 
in many cases, this saves up to a week of ship time. (See app. II for a 
list of countries that have signed all or parts of the bilateral 
maritime agreements and the interdiction support clause.) 

Moreover, to offset the closing of Howard Air Force Base in Panama in 
1999, the United States has reached agreements with other nations in 
the region to station U.S. military and civilian aircraft. In return, 
the United States has upgraded the facilities at these airbases. The 
facilities at Manta, Ecuador; Comalapa, El Salvador; and Curacao are 
used by U.S. civilian and military aircraft, while the facilities in 
Aruba; Liberia; Costa Rica; and Panama are used by the Coast Guard and 
CBP. Access to these facilities allows aircraft to spend more time 
monitoring and interdicting drug trafficking activities and also allows 
them to range further west into the Pacific Ocean. 

Availability of Assets Provided for Interdiction Operations Have Varied 
Since Fiscal Year 2000: 

Overall, since fiscal year 2000, the availability of U.S. and allied 
assets provided for detecting and disrupting drug trafficking 
activities in the transit zone has varied. On-station ship days peaked 
in fiscal year 2001 and flight hours peaked in fiscal year 2002, but 
both have declined since then, primarily because Defense has provided 
fewer assets. Declines in Defense assets in recent years were mostly 
offset by additional ship days and aircraft hours provided by the Coast 
Guard, CBP, and allied nations. However, the ship days and flight hours 
provided by the allied nations are primarily in the eastern Caribbean 
Sea where the United States does not usually conduct monitoring and 
detection activities. Nevertheless, according to JIATF-South, it cannot 
detect many of the known maritime cocaine movements reported in the 
western Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean because it cannot 
get ships or aircraft to the suspected movement in time. 

On-Station Ship Days Generally Declined: 

Despite a rise in fiscal year 2001, the total number of ship days spent 
on interdiction missions in the transit zone has generally decreased 
since fiscal year 2000[Footnote 15] from about 3,600 ship days to about 
3,300 ship days (or about 8 percent) in fiscal year 2005. U.S. Navy 
ship days declined from about 1,980 in fiscal year 2000 to about 890 in 
fiscal year 2005. Defense officials said that the Navy reduced its ship 
days because of other national security concerns; in particular, the 
need to provide support for the armed conflicts in Afghanistan and 
Iraq. 

The reduction in U.S. Navy ship days was partly offset by increases in 
ship days by the Coast Guard. After a decline to about 1,160 ship days 
in fiscal year 2003 (compared to 1,330 days in 2002), the Coast Guard 
increased its ship days to about 1,660 in 2004 and almost 1,700 in 
2005--becoming the primary provider of maritime surface vessels in the 
transit zone. Figure 2 illustrates the total on-station ship days in 
the transit zone by provider for fiscal years 2000-2005. 

Figure 2: On-Station Ship Days for Interdiction in the Transit Zone, 
Fiscal Years 2000-2005: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

On-Station Flight Hours Generally Declined in Recent Years: 

On-station flight hours for counternarcotics activities in the transit 
zone increased about 35 percent between fiscal years 2000-2002--from 
about 10,500 hours to about 14,200--but have generally declined since 
then to about 12,870 hours in 2005. Declines in the availability of 
Defense maritime patrol aircraft over the period were offset by 
increased support from the Coast Guard, CBP, and several allied 
nations--France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. 

* The Coast Guard's on-station flight hours in the transit zone 
decreased from about 2,440 in fiscal year 2000 to less than 1,300 hours 
in fiscal year 2002. According to Coast Guard officials, the decline 
was due, in part, to resources being diverted to other Coast Guard 
missions. But the Coast Guard has since increased its flight hours to 
over 2,780 hours in fiscal year 2005. 

* CBP has increased its on-station flight hours for interdiction 
operations in the transit zone since fiscal year 2000--from about 180 
hours in fiscal year 2000 to nearly 4,385 hours in fiscal year 2005. 
However, in fiscal year 2003, its flight hours declined to about 2,040 
due to the diversion of resources for other homeland security missions. 

* Defense on-station flight hours for interdiction in the transit zone 
gradually declined from about 6,860 in fiscal year 2000 to 6,500 in 
fiscal year 2002, but declined more rapidly since then to about 2,940 
flight hours in fiscal year 2005. JIATF-South officials attribute the 
recent declines primarily to the reduced availability of U.S. Navy P-3 
maritime patrol aircraft because of structural problems. In addition, 
U.S. Air Force Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft 
were diverted to support homeland security missions and the armed 
conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.[Footnote 16] 

* Allied nations steadily increased their flight hours in support of 
interdiction operations from about 1,000 hours in fiscal year 2000 to 
4,070 hours in fiscal year 2004. However, in fiscal year 2005, the 
allies' total hours declined to about 2,760. According to JIATF-South 
and U.S. Interdiction Coordinator officials, most of the allies' 
surveillance operations are in the eastern Caribbean Sea where the 
United States does not usually conduct interdiction operations. 

Figure 3 illustrates the total on-station flight hours by provider for 
fiscal years 2000-2005. 

Figure 3: On-Station Flight Hours for Interdiction in the Transit Zone, 
Fiscal Years 2000-2005: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Increasing Number of Known Actionable Maritime Events Challenges JIATF-
South's Detection Capability: 

Since calendar year 2000, JIATF-South officials report that they had 
information about more maritime drug movements than they could detect 
(make visual contact with). The number of "known actionable" [Footnote 
17] maritime events in the western Caribbean Sea and the eastern 
Pacific Ocean more than doubled from 154 in 2000 to 330 in 2004. 
According to JIATF-South officials, in many cases, the maritime event 
is too far away for available ships and aircraft to go to the area and 
visually locate the suspected drug movement. However, once JIATF-South 
locates a suspect movement, the disruption rate has significantly 
increased since 2000--from less than 60 percent in 2000 and 2001 to 
over 80 percent in 2003 to 2005 (see table 3). 

Table 3: Detection and Disruption of Known Actionable Maritime Drug 
Movements in the Western Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, 
Calendar Year 2000 through June 2005: 

Known actionable maritime events; 
Calendar years: 2000: 154; 
Calendar years: 2001: 160; 
Calendar years: 2002: 178; 
Calendar years: 2003: 253; 
Calendar years: 2004: 330; 
Calendar years: 2005 (through June 2005): 184; 
Total: 1,259. 

Detections; 
Calendar years: 2000: 59; 
Calendar years: 2001: 56; 
Calendar years: 2002: 77; 
Calendar years: 2003: 65; 
Calendar years: 2004: 92; 
Calendar years: 2005 (through June 2005): 48; 
Total: 397. 

Seizures and disruptions; 
Calendar years: 2000: 35; 
Calendar years: 2001: 30; 
Calendar years: 2002: 53; 
Calendar years: 2003: 55; 
Calendar years: 2004: 80; 
Calendar years: 2005 (through June 2005): 39; 
Total: 292. 

Percentage of known events detected; 
Calendar years: 2000: 38; 
Calendar years: 2001: 35; 
Calendar years: 2002: 43; 
Calendar years: 2003: 26; 
Calendar years: 2004: 28; 
Calendar years: 2005 (through June 2005): 26; 
Total: 31.5. 

Percentage of detected events disrupted; 
Calendar years: 2000: 59; 
Calendar years: 2001: 54; 
Calendar years: 2002: 69; 
Calendar years: 2003: 85; 
Calendar years: 2004: 87; 
Calendar years: 2005 (through June 2005): 81; 
Total: 73.6. 

Source: JIATF-South based on the Consolidated Counterdrug Database. 

Note: The Consolidated Counterdrug Database is managed by the U.S. 
Interdiction Coordinator's office. Beginning with 2004, the 
Coordinator's office began implementing stricter rules in vetting the 
data on drug movements, detections, and seizures and disruptions in 
quarterly meetings with the interagency drug community. The intent was 
to minimize potential duplication and the counting of events that may 
not have occurred. According to the database manager, however, the more 
careful review of the data did not materially affect the number of 
maritime drug movements counted. The primary differences were in the 
number of suspect aircraft flights. 

[End of table] 

Challenges in Maintaining Interdiction Operations: 

While the United States has increased the number of seizures and 
disruptions in the transit zone since 2000, the Coast Guard, CBP, and 
Defense face several challenges in maintaining the current level of 
assets provided for transit zone interdiction operations. JIATF-South 
officials expressed concern that continued declines in U.S. on-station 
ship days and on-station flight hours will limit their ability to 
monitor the transit zone and detect illicit drug trafficking. 
Specifically, according to JIATF-South and other Defense officials, the 
reduced availability of the U.S. Navy P-3 maritime patrol aircraft will 
degrade JIATF-South's ability to detect maritime movements. In 
addition, the readiness rates of older Coast Guard ships, which support 
interdiction operations in the transit zone, have declined since fiscal 
year 2000, and the surface radar system on its long-range surveillance 
aircraft is often inoperable. JIATF-South, Coast Guard, CBP, and U.S. 
Interdiction Coordinator officials stated that, while some short-term 
fixes have been made, the longer-term implications of the likely 
continued declines in monitoring and interdiction assets for the 
transit zone have not been addressed. 

Moreover, in response to increases in cocaine seizures and disruptions, 
drug traffickers have adjusted their tactics for transporting cocaine 
through the transit zone. Finally, nations in the region lack the 
resources to offset any decline in assets. 

Declining Availability of P-3 Aircraft Will Degrade JIATF-South's 
Maritime Detection Capability: 

According to cognizant officials with JIATF-South and U.S. Interdiction 
Coordinator officials, compensating for the reduced availability of P-3 
maritime patrol aircraft is the most critical challenge to the future 
success of interdiction operations. According to these officials, 
because of its longer range, the P-3 aircraft can monitor a much larger 
surface area than other maritime patrol aircraft and can provide covert 
surveillance until other assets arrive. 

The availability of the P-3 aircraft has declined for several reasons. 
In fiscal years 2000-2003, the U.S. Navy provided the majority of P-3 
maritime patrol flying hours in support of interdiction efforts--about 
60 percent of the on-station flight hours (or over 3,900 hours per 
year). However, in fiscal year 2004, the Navy began limiting the use of 
its P-3 maritime patrol aircraft for transit zone interdiction missions 
because of structural problems in its wings[Footnote 18] and other 
worldwide commitments. Since fiscal year 2000, the number of hours 
flown by U.S. Navy P-3s has decreased nearly 60 percent to about 1,500 
hours in fiscal year 2005. In addition, in December 2004, the 
Netherlands removed the P-3 aircraft it used to fly interdiction 
missions in the transit zone. According to the U.S. Interdiction 
Coordinator, the P-3s flown by the Netherlands were vital to 
interdiction efforts in the Caribbean Sea, averaging over 1,300 flight 
hours per year--or about 20 percent of all P-3 flight hours--during 
fiscal years 2000-2004. In April 2005, the Netherlands began using the 
Fokker F-60, a shorter-range twin engine aircraft, to fly interdiction 
missions; but, according to Defense officials, these aircraft are less 
capable than the P-3. 

To help compensate for the reduction in the P-3 availability, CBP has 
increased its P-3 maritime patrol on-station flight hours in the 
transit zone--from about 180 flight hours in fiscal year 2000 to over 
4,300 hours in 2005. However, CBP officials told us that their aircraft 
cannot totally compensate for the loss of the Navy's and Netherlands' P-
3 flying hours. Further, these officials are unsure how long CBP will 
be able to continue to provide the additional flying hours, which has 
been more than its allotted budget, because of other homeland security 
priorities. 

Figure 4 illustrates the recent decline in P-3 flight hours. 

Figure 4: Total P-3 On-Station Flight Hours in the Transit Zone, Fiscal 
Years 2000-2005: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

In August 2004, the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator established a working 
group to evaluate the problem of the reduction in maritime patrol 
aircraft flying hours and identify possible solutions. The group 
identified several possible alternatives, including: 

* redeploying AWACS to support an aerial interdiction program in 
Colombia, 

* substituting other Defense aircraft for the Navy P-3s, 

* extending the amount of time aircraft are deployed to forward 
operating locations throughout the region, 

* increasing the number of hours flown by the Coast Guard HC-130 
surveillance aircraft in support of interdiction, 

* upgrading the sensors on existing aircraft to improve their 
capabilities, 

* deploying aircraft to locations closer to the suspected trafficking 
routes, and: 

* requesting additional funding to support the deployment of United 
Kingdom maritime patrol aircraft in the transit zone. 

According to JIATF-South officials, several of these proposals have 
been implemented. AWACS have begun flying missions in support of the 
aerial interdiction program in Colombia (also known as the "Air Bridge 
Denial" program)[Footnote 19]--relieving CBP of much of this burden. 
The Coast Guard and CBP have deployed aircraft to locations in Costa 
Rica and Ecuador, and the Coast Guard has received funding to upgrade 
some of its detection and monitoring equipment with improved sensors. 
Finally, Defense is providing housing for United Kingdom aircrews 
(relieving them of the financial burden) that provide surveillance in 
the Caribbean Sea while flying training missions. But, JIATF-South, the 
U.S. Interdiction Coordinator, and other cognizant officials noted that 
the longer term prospect of further declines in U.S. P-3 or other 
maritime patrol assets for interdiction operations has not been 
addressed. 

Readiness Rates for Aging Coast Guard Ships and Aircraft Have Declined: 

During fiscal years 2000 through 2004, the readiness rates of the Coast 
Guard's older ships and aircraft showed a general decline, although the 
rates fluctuated from year to year.[Footnote 20] For example, ships 
used to monitor drug trafficking activities and carry the helicopters 
that disable and stop go-fast boats were below their target levels for 
time free of major deficiencies or loss of at least one primary 
mission. Further, the percentage of time that HC-130 surveillance 
aircraft were available to perform missions was below the target level 
in fiscal year 2004, and the surface radar system on the aircraft is 
subject to frequent failures. In some instances, mission flight crews 
had to look out the windows of the aircraft for targets because the 
radar systems were inoperable. 

The Coast Guard has taken several actions to keep its assets 
operational. These include establishing a compendium of information for 
making decisions regarding maintenance and upgrades; performing more 
extensive maintenance between deployments; and exploring strategies for 
prioritizing the maintenance and capability enhancement projects needed 
to provide more objective data on where to spend budget dollars and 
enhance mission capabilities. However, these additional efforts, while 
helpful in preventing a more rapid decline in the condition of existing 
assets, are unlikely to solve the problem. For fiscal year 2004, the 
Coast Guard's estimated cost of deferred maintenance for these assets 
totaled approximately $28 million.[Footnote 21] 

Drug Traffickers Have Changed Tactics: 

Interdiction operations are further challenged by the changing tactics 
of the drug traffickers. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, JIATF-South in 
recent years has detected suspect fishing vessels and go-fast boats 
traveling further south and about 300 miles southwest of the Galapagos 
Islands before turning towards Central America and Mexico. This change 
in tactics has greatly increased the ocean surface area that must be 
monitored and, because of the distances to travel, has made it more 
difficult for U.S. surface ships and aircraft to respond to suspected 
cocaine movements. In addition: 

* Drug traffickers have begun using larger go-fast boats. In the past, 
go-fast boats typically transported 2 to 4 metric tons of cocaine, but 
some are now capable of carrying up to 8 metric tons. 

* Drug traffickers in the eastern Pacific Ocean have increasingly used 
vessels registered to countries, such as Ecuador and Mexico, with which 
the United States has no maritime boarding agreements. The use of these 
vessels complicates the process of boarding and searching for illicit 
drugs. 

Moreover, Ecuador has declared that its territorial waters extend 200 
miles from its coastline and around the Galapagos Islands (most 
nations, including the United States set a 12-mile territorial limit). 
Although the United States does not recognize Ecuador's claim, U.S. 
ships and aircraft generally do not enter this area for interdiction 
missions to avoid the potentially politically sensitive issue of having 
to deal with the Government of Ecuador. 

Capability of Nations in the Transit Zone to Assist with Interdiction 
Is Limited: 

Although most nations in the transit zone--especially countries in 
Central America and the eastern Caribbean Sea--cooperate with U.S. 
interdiction efforts, JIATF-South and other officials told us that 
these countries lack the capability and resources to compensate for any 
decline in U.S. and allies' assets. Most countries in the transit zone 
are able to provide only a few vessels or aircraft to intercept drug 
traffickers or lack secure communications equipment needed to 
coordinate with U.S. law enforcement counterparts during interdiction 
missions. Also, many of these countries do not have a civilian law 
enforcement or military presence in the coastal areas where drug 
traffickers work with local criminal organizations to offload cocaine 
shipments and deliver them to the United States. In addition, U.S. 
agencies are reluctant to work with law enforcement officials in some 
countries because of widespread corruption. 

From fiscal year 2000 through 2005, the United States provided about 
$365 million in assistance to countries in the transit zone. Of this, 
Mexico received approximately $115 million to support its efforts to 
eradicate opium poppy and marijuana, and improve surveillance and 
intelligence capabilities. The transit zone countries in Central 
America and the Caribbean received the remainder, with most of this 
assistance for programs to assist civilian law enforcement and military 
agencies in El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Panama. 

Assistance provided to transit zone countries in Central America and 
the Caribbean from State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law 
Enforcement Affairs increased from approximately $18 million in fiscal 
year 2000 to about $25 million in fiscal year 2002 but has since 
declined to about $7 million in fiscal year 2005. A State official 
attributed the decline in assistance to commitments in Afghanistan and 
Iraq. State assistance has been used for helicopter airlift support to 
Guatemala's police counternarcotics units and interceptor boats for the 
Bahamas, among other things. 

Assistance for transit zone countries in Central America and the 
Caribbean provided through the Foreign Military Finance and 
International Military Education and Training programs has increased 
from about $19 million in fiscal year 2000 to about $36 million in 
fiscal year 2005. This assistance has been used to train host country 
personnel and provide equipment such as helicopters, spare parts, and 
fuel to support counternarcotics training and missions. 

Agencies' Performance Measures Vary and Data for Assessing Performance 
Are Problematic: 

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires federal 
agencies to develop performance measures to assess progress in 
achieving their goals, and to communicate their results to the 
Congress.[Footnote 22] The act requires agencies to set multiyear 
strategic goals in their strategic plans and corresponding annual goals 
in their performance plans, measure performance toward the achievement 
of those goals, and report on their progress in their annual 
performance reports. These reports are intended to provide important 
information to agency managers, policymakers, and the public on what 
each agency accomplished with the resources it was given. Moreover, the 
act calls for agencies to develop performance goals that are objective, 
quantifiable, and measurable, and to establish performance measures 
that adequately indicate progress toward achieving those goals. Our 
previous work has noted that the lack of clear measurable goals makes 
it difficult for program managers and staff to link their day-to-day 
efforts to achieving the agency's intended mission.[Footnote 23] 

When multiple agencies are involved in achieving the desired results, 
as with transit zone interdiction operations, agencies should 
coordinate the development of performance measures to ensure that they 
are complementary. In the case of the transit zone, performance 
measures and approaches for assessing transit zone operations vary 
among the Coast Guard, CBP, and Defense. In addition, basic information 
about cocaine production and trafficking and cocaine usage in the 
United States that would help in assessing transit zone interdiction 
operations is problematic. Further, ONDCP and other agencies involved 
have not fully addressed recommendations for improving illicit drug 
data collection and analysis. 

Transit Zone Performance Measures Vary: 

According to the 2005 U.S. National Drug Control Strategy update, the 
2002 U.S. National Drug Control Strategy "clearly laid out a plan for 
accountable results in achieving a single goal--reducing drug use." Yet 
specific measures of performance in the transit zone linking 
interdiction operations to the Strategy's priority of disrupting the 
illicit drug market were not included in the 2002 strategy, nor 
subsequently developed across the agencies in conjunction with ONDCP. 
The performance measures developed by the Coast Guard, and the measures 
being developed by CBP and Defense, vary in their emphasis and may not 
be helpful in assessing progress in disrupting the illicit drug market. 

* The Coast Guard's performance measures related to the transit zone 
set specific goals to reduce the flow of cocaine. For fiscal year 2004, 
the goal was to remove 15 percent of the cocaine flowing through the 
transit zone; according to Coast Guard officials, the removal goal 
increases to 35 percent in 2011. 

* CBP is developing performance measures related to operational 
readiness rates (a measure of its ability to respond when requested), 
but these rates are not specific to the transit zone or to 
counternarcotics activities and do not measure results. 

* Defense is developing performance measures that focus on the number 
of disruptions of cocaine trafficking events, but it has not yet set 
any targets or goals to assess its progress. 

Data for Assessing Transit Zone Interdiction Operations and Drug Use in 
the United States Are Problematic: 

Data for assessing U.S. interdiction operations in the transit zone and 
relating the results to the U.S. National Drug Control Strategy's 
priority of disrupting the illicit drug market and to its overall goal 
of reducing drug usage in the United States are problematic. 
Specifically, the data for estimating the cocaine flowing through the 
transit zone towards the United States has been called into question, 
and data to demonstrate progress in reducing drug use are difficult to 
obtain in ways that can be generalized to the United States. 

Annual Cocaine Flow Assessment Is Not Useful for Assessing Performance: 

The principal source of information about cocaine flow in the transit 
zone is ONDCP's Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement (IACM). The 
IACM is prepared annually for ONDCP by an interagency group 
representing departments and agencies involved in U.S. counternarcotics 
efforts.[Footnote 24] The assessment is intended to advise policymakers 
and resource planners whose responsibilities involve detecting, 
monitoring, and interdicting illicit drug shipments. It draws on other 
studies and several datasets to estimate cocaine supply (that is, how 
much cocaine is produced and available for export to the United States) 
and demand (that is, how much cocaine is used in the United States and 
elsewhere). In the past, the IACM's estimates of cocaine supply were 
close to the estimated demand in the United States and other world 
markets plus estimated losses in transit, source, and arrival zones. 
But for calendar years 2003 and 2004, according to the interagency 
group, the IACM's estimate of the amount of cocaine available for 
export was too low in relation to estimated U.S. and non-U.S. demand 
for cocaine after taking into account seizures and disruptions. 

The interagency assessment noted that the increasing difference between 
supply and demand estimates may be the result of several different 
scenarios, a combination of which points to potential shortfalls in 
some or many of the data sets. For example: 

* Production and consumption estimates could be widely off the mark. 
Production estimates are not designed to capture dynamic activities 
such as eradication, replanting, or changing processing efficiencies. 

* Worldwide consumption estimates are several years old (for example, 
the U.S. estimate was developed in 2002) and may not yet show the 
effects of record eradication and interdiction efforts in recent years. 

* Time lags in estimating aspects inherent to the cocaine trade--
including price, purity, and demand--could delay the apparent effects 
and documentation of a shortage. 

As a result of the disparity between the estimated cocaine supply and 
demand, the interagency group stated that a precise estimate of cocaine 
flow was not possible for 2004, and that "a range of possible amounts 
was more intellectually and analytically honest." The group estimated 
that between 325 and 675 metric tons of cocaine flowed towards the 
United States in 2004, but such a wide range is not useful for 
assessing transit zone interdiction efforts. 

ONDCP and other interagency group officials agreed that the wide range 
reflects the difficulty in obtaining specific information about the 
production of cocaine and how it gets to the United States. According 
to ONDCP, the Director of ONDCP has established a working group to 
identify and, where possible, quantify the uncertainties with the IACM, 
and identify ways to improve the data and reduce uncertainty. 

Tracking Illicit Drug Use in the United States Is Difficult: 

ONDCP uses several surveys and databases to help it assess the 
availability and rate of illicit drug use in the United States and 
changes in those measures over time, but a variety of issues affect 
their reliability and validity. According to several studies and ONDCP 
officials, a large portion of major cocaine (and other drug) users are 
members of generally hard-to-survey populations, such as the homeless 
or incarcerated, and those who are questioned about illicit drug use 
may be inclined to provide a socially acceptable, and legal, response 
to survey questions. In addition, typical survey response problems, 
such as low response rates and failure of respondents to accurately 
recall past events, also apply. 

Moreover, according to ONDCP officials, obtaining information from and 
about persons engaged in an illegal activity is difficult at best, much 
of the available information about illicit drug use cannot be 
generalized to the United States, and the logistics of collecting 
meaningful data means that a time lag will always exist between the 
data collection period and the time when the data are available for 
public policy purposes. Thus, under the best of circumstances, the 
effect of a drug policy change may take a number of years to 
demonstrate. 

Table 4 lists the primary sources of information ONDCP uses to track 
illicit drug trends in the United States and highlights the latest date 
of data collection, ONDCP's primary purpose, and selected issues about 
the information source. In some cases, the survey or database was 
designed for other purposes and ONDCP officials have adapted it for 
their use. 

Table 4: ONDCP's Primary Sources of Information on Illicit Drug 
Availability and Use in the United States: 

Data source: System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence 
(STRIDE); 
End of most recent data collection: June 2003; 
ONDCP's primary purpose: Assess price and purity of cocaine in the 
United States; 
Selected issues: 
* Data cannot be generalized to the United States; 
* Designed as an inventory system for drugs turned into DEA by its 
agents and informants and other law enforcement agencies; 
* Trends could reflect law enforcement patterns rather than drug 
availability patterns. 

Data source: Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN); 
End of most recent data collection: December 2003; 
ONDCP's primary purpose: Assess drug-related hospital emergency 
department visits and deaths investigated by medical examiners and 
coroners; 
Selected issues: 
* Data cannot be generalized to the United States; 
* Intended to identify new drug trends, not drug consumption; 
* Coverage depends on emergency departments and medical examiners 
identifying and reporting drug-related incidents. 

Data source: Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring; (ADAM); 
End of most recent data collection: March 2004; 
ONDCP's primary purpose: Assess drug and alcohol use among arrestees in 
39 cities and counties. This population is typically composed of hard-
core drug users; 
Selected issues: 
* Data cannot be generalized to the United States; 
* Cancelled in January 2004. ONDCP is attempting to restore funding for 
fiscal year 2006, but a new survey cannot be completed until 2008. 

Data source: Monitoring the Future (MTF); 
End of most recent data collection: December 2004; 
ONDCP's primary purpose: Track drug use rates among 8th, 10th, and 12th 
grade students; college students; and young adults; 
Selected issues: 
* Survey does not include school dropouts and absentees, or others who 
may be institutionalized; 
* Relies on self-reporting. 

Data source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH); 
End of most recent data collection: December 2004; 
ONDCP's primary purpose: Track incidence and prevalence of substance 
abuse in the general population by surveying individuals over 12 years 
old living in households; 
Selected issues: 
* The survey generally does not cover hard-core drug users because it 
excludes homeless persons not in shelters and individuals in jails, 
detention centers, and drug treatment centers; 
* Relies on self-reporting. 

Source: GAO analysis of data sources. 

[End of table] 

ONDCP Has Not Fully Addressed Prior Recommendations for Improving Drug 
Data Collection and Analysis: 

In a 2001 report prepared for ONDCP, the National Research Council 
concluded that the United States had neither the data systems nor the 
research infrastructure needed to assess the effectiveness of drug 
control enforcement policies.[Footnote 25] In particular, the Council 
highlighted the absence of adequate, reliable data on illicit drug 
prices and use. The Council made numerous recommendations to improve 
data collection and analysis--eight were addressed in full or in part 
to ONDCP. Regarding interdiction, the Council recommended that research 
be done to address the following: 

* to what extent traffickers can limit the effect of interdiction 
operations by shifting their routes and modes of transportation; 

* how the deterrent effects of supply-reduction programs can be 
measured and the size of these effects; and: 

* how quickly drug production and trafficking adapt to supply-reduction 
activities, what happens to supply and price during the period of 
adaptation, and how long the deterrent effects of supply-reduction 
operations last before new supply sources emerge. 

ONDCP officials told us these recommendations have not been fully 
addressed. They noted that the illicit and secretive nature of the 
illicit drug market precludes the systematic collection of cultivation, 
production, and trafficking information. Furthermore, these officials 
emphasized that the economics of cocaine production and trafficking may 
not follow typical supply and demand relationships--profit margins 
likely remain high despite record coca eradication and cocaine 
interdiction efforts, and drug traffickers can quickly react to 
changing interdiction tactics and circumstances. 

Conclusions: 

Since fiscal year 2000, the United States has provided over $6 billion 
for counternarcotics and related programs in South and Central America 
and throughout the transit zone, primarily to reduce the amount of 
illicit drugs produced and transported to the United States. While the 
number of on-station ship days and on-station flight hours provided for 
monitoring and interdiction operations in the transit zone has varied 
since 2000, they have generally declined in recent years. JIATF-South, 
Coast Guard, and CBP officials are concerned that the current level of 
operations cannot be sustained. Defense on-station ship days and flight 
hours have already declined due to operational priorities in other 
parts of the world, primarily Afghanistan and Iraq, and structural 
limitations on the U.S. Navy's primary maritime patrol aircraft--the P-
3. The reduced availability of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft will 
degrade JIATF-South's ability to detect and monitor go-fast boats and 
other vessels suspected of transporting illicit drugs. JIATF-South, 
Coast Guard, and CBP officials are concerned that this problem is 
likely to worsen as budget constraints and other homeland security 
priorities arise that limit the assets available for interdiction 
operations. While some short-term fixes have been taken, the longer-
term implications of further declines in the availability of monitoring 
and interdiction assets have not been addressed. 

Developing performance measures--linking interdiction operations in the 
transit zone to disrupting the illicit drug market, specifically the 
cocaine market--is difficult. Nevertheless, the Coast Guard, CBP, and 
Defense, in conjunction with ONDCP, should develop and coordinate 
performance measures that more directly relate to transit zone 
operations. Data compiled by the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator and 
vetted by the principal agencies involved in transit zone interdiction 
efforts--data primarily documenting detections of drug movements and 
seizures and disruptions of illicit drugs--could serve as benchmarks 
for assessing progress until data more directly related to disrupting 
the illicit drug market can be developed. 

Collecting relevant data to assess the effect of interdiction 
operations on the cocaine market and drug usage in the United States is 
problematic. Assessing how much cocaine is produced and moves towards 
the United States is not easy--as the 2004 IACM demonstrates. Most 
other readily available data on cocaine price, purity, and 
availability--indicators of U.S. demand--cannot be generalized to the 
United States. More systematic surveys on drug usage take time--
sometimes several years--to complete. Thus, a number of years is often 
needed to show the effect of a drug policy change. The National 
Research Council reported similar issues in 2001. However, until ONDCP 
and other cognizant agencies fully address the Council's 
recommendations, data to help assess U.S. drug usage will remain 
problematic. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

We recommend that the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security plan 
for the likely decline in the future availability of ships and aircraft 
for transit zone interdiction operations and, specifically, determine 
how they will compensate for the decline in P-3 maritime patrol 
aircraft availability. 

We recommend that the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security 
develop and coordinate, in conjunction with the Director of ONDCP, 
performance measures for transit zone interdiction operations that take 
advantage of available drug interdiction data (such as detections, 
seizures, and disruptions) to provide a basis for (1) assessing transit 
zone interdiction performance and (2) deciding how to deploy 
increasingly limited assets, such as the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. 

We also recommend that the Director of ONDCP address each of the 
recommendations made by the National Research Council and report to the 
Congress what departments and agencies need to take action, what 
remains to be done, and when action is expected to be completed. In 
those instances where ONDCP reports that action is not necessary, we 
recommend that it document the reasons why. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Defense, Homeland Security, and ONDCP provided written comments on a 
draft of this report. See appendixes III, IV, and V, respectively. 
Justice and State did not provide written comments. However, we 
discussed the draft report with cognizant officials at each of the 
departments. Overall, the departments and ONDCP stated that they 
generally concurred with the recommendations that applied to them, but 
none detailed when and how they will address them. 

Defense and Homeland Security noted that they already have taken or are 
in the process of taking appropriate action regarding planning for drug 
interdiction asset requirements and developing relevant performance 
measures. 

* Defense specifically noted that the U.S. Navy has developed a Fleet 
Response Plan designed to transition from the P-3 to its replacement 
aircraft--the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft, which is scheduled to be 
introduced into the fleet in fiscal year 2011. Defense added that it 
will continue to coordinate with all maritime patrol asset providers in 
the transit zone. Regarding performance measures, Defense stated that 
it has appropriate mechanisms in place to assess its efforts. Yet, 
Defense also noted that during the past year it has coordinated with 
its commands to develop performance goals, measures, and targets for 
the transit zone and continues to work with them as they prepare their 
submissions. During the course of this engagement, cognizant Defense 
officials stated on several occasions that they had not finalized 
performance measures.[Footnote 26] 

* Homeland Security stated it develops asset requirements as part of an 
interagency process where asset commitment is based on threat level and 
the availability of funding. While it remains committed to "robust 
support" of maritime transit zone interdiction efforts, unforeseen 
events--Hurricane Katrina, for example--can affect asset availability. 
Regarding performance measures, Homeland Security noted that as a 
result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 
2004,[Footnote 27] it has undertaken an effort to develop and 
coordinate a performance measurement system to better assess Homeland 
Security's counternarcotics' activities, including transit zone 
interdiction operations. Homeland Security did not state when it will 
complete this effort. 

ONDCP did not comment directly on interdiction asset availability, but 
overall, ONDCP agreed that developing performance measures that link 
interdiction operations to disrupting the cocaine market is difficult 
but necessary, and stated that it will work with Defense and Homeland 
Security within the framework of the Government Performance and Results 
Act to develop appropriate measures. 

Our recommendation regarding planning for the likely decline in 
interdiction asset availability was intended to have Defense and 
Homeland Security work together to address asset availability; in 
particular, the decline in maritime patrol aircraft hours. However, the 
departments do not address in their comments when or how their planning 
efforts have been coordinated nor when their on-going efforts will be 
completed. We continue to believe that such a coordinated planning 
effort is both appropriate and necessary to ensure that the 
departments' limited assets are used in the most effective manner, and 
encourage the departments to follow through with one another. 

Concerning the National Research Council's recommendations, ONDCP did 
not specifically address our recommendation to report to Congress on 
what actions have been taken or still need to be taken. Rather, ONDCP 
referred to a 2001 study--Measuring the Deterrent Effect of Enforcement 
Operations on Drug Smuggling, 1991-1999--that it published as one of 
several steps it has taken to address the Council's recommendations. We 
note that the ONDCP study was published the same year the Council 
published its report, and that it does not refer to the Council's 
report or its recommendations. The ONDCP study's primary objective was 
to "measure the impact of drug enforcement operations on the cocaine 
smuggling industry." Among other things and related to this report, the 
study concludes that better data was available on what drug traffickers 
were doing than on the activities of U.S. drug interdiction assets. 
According to the study's authors, "this was most notably the case with 
the interdiction activities of the Department of Defense." In addition, 
to address the Council's recommendations, ONDCP also noted that it has 
established two operational priorities focused on (a) understanding the 
drug market and (b) enhancing the data sets ONDCP relies on. These 
priorities were initiated during the course of our engagement. 
According to ONDCP officials, they have not been completed. 

As we note in this report, collecting relevant data for assessing the 
effect of interdiction operations on the cocaine market and U.S. 
illicit drug usage is problematic. But more than three years after the 
National Research Council's report addressing the illicit drug data 
issue was finalized, ONDCP cannot point to any specific action it has 
completed to address the Council's recommendations for improving the 
collection of illicit drug trafficking and usage data. Given the 
importance of the illicit drug problem and the on-going controversy in 
the United States about how best to confront it, better data for 
evaluating alternative drug control policies is paramount. We continue 
to urge ONDCP to follow up on the Council's findings and 
recommendations and take the steps necessary to address the continuing 
shortcomings in its illicit drug data and report to Congress the status 
of its efforts. 

In commenting on the IACM, Homeland Security stated that the decision 
by the interagency group to report a range for cocaine movement was a 
wise one because it acknowledged the lack of precision inherent in the 
data that is currently available. We agree, and did not intend to imply 
anything else. We also agree with Homeland Security that greater 
efforts need to be made to improve the methodology and integrity of 
data instruments in order to gain a better and more useful 
understanding of drug production and consumption. 

Finally, all the departments and ONDCP provided additional information 
on various aspects of their roles regarding drug interdiction in the 
transit zone. Defense, in particular, emphasized that it is not 
authorized to conduct law enforcement operations but can support them. 
In addition, all the departments and ONDCP provided us technical 
comments and updates that we have incorporated throughout the report, 
as appropriate. 

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents 
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days 
from the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies of this 
report to interested congressional committees and the Secretaries of 
Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State, and the Director of 
ONDCP. We will also make copies available to others upon request. In 
addition, this report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web 
site at [Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-4268 or [Hyperlink, FordJ@gao.gov]. Contact 
points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs 
may be found on the last page of this report. Key contributors to this 
report were Al Huntington, Joe Carney, J.J. Marzullo, José Peña, and 
Jim Strus. 

Signed by: 

Jess T. Ford, 
Director: 
International Affairs and Trade: 

[End of section] 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Overall, to examine the status of U.S. interdiction assets and progress 
made in disrupting drug trafficking in the transit zone, we focused on 
U.S. (1) efforts to interdict cocaine because nearly all the cocaine 
entering the United States comes from South America and (2) operations 
in the western Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean because the 
United States has positioned most of its interdiction assets in these 
areas. We also agreed with the requesters to limit the scope of this 
engagement by examining U.S. operations to interdict cocaine before it 
reaches intermediate staging points in the Caribbean Sea, Central 
America, and Mexico on the way to the United States. We further 
narrowed our examination to U.S. efforts to detect and disrupt 
unscheduled maritime movements of cocaine--primarily go-fast boats, but 
also fishing and other types of ocean-going vessels. Although drug 
traffickers use small aircraft to transport cocaine and other drugs, 
the United States essentially relies on the law enforcement authorities 
in the countries where they land to interdict them. 

To track the changes in the amounts of cocaine seized and disrupted 
since calendar year 2000, we relied on the Interagency Assessment of 
Cocaine Movement (IACM). While the data sets used to prepare the IACM 
have been called into question by the interagency group that prepares 
it, the IACM data on cocaine seizures and disruptions are based on the 
Consolidated Counterdrug Database, which is managed by the Office of 
the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator. Beginning with 2004, the 
Coordinator's Office began using stricter rules to vet the data on drug 
movements, detections, seizures, and disruptions in quarterly meetings 
with the interagency drug community. The intent was to minimize 
duplicate or questionable reported drug movements. According to the 
database manager, however, the more careful review of the data did not 
materially affect the categorization or number of maritime drug 
movements--our primary emphasis. Rather, many suspect aircraft are no 
longer counted as drug movement events unless corroborating information 
strongly suggests drugs were aboard the aircraft. We observed a 
quarterly vetting session and discussed the process for determining 
whether reported drug events can be "confirmed and substantiated" based 
on intelligence and other sources with several members of the 
interagency group that participate, including the Defense Intelligence 
Agency (DIA); the U.S. Director of Central Intelligence, Crime and 
Narcotics Center; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Joint 
Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South); the Coast Guard; and 
Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Based on the foregoing, we 
determined that the cocaine seizure and disruption data provided to us 
were sufficiently reliable for describing and documenting trends in the 
transit zone. 

To determine the factors that have contributed to the changes in 
cocaine seizures and disruptions, we reviewed the IACMs for calendar 
years 2000 through 2004. We discussed the observations made in the 
IACMs and reported operational changes since 2000 with cognizant 
officials in the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the 
Department of Defense's (Defense) Office of Drug Enforcement Policy and 
Support, and other members of the interagency counternarcotics 
community--namely, DIA, the Crime and Narcotics Center, DEA, JIATF-
South, and the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator. 

To analyze the trends in the assets provided by the United States and 
its allies since fiscal year 2000 to support illicit drug interdiction 
in the transit zone, we relied on data provided by JIATF-South and 
JIATF-West that tabulates on-station ship days and flight hours spent 
on interdiction missions by the provider and the type of ship or 
aircraft.[Footnote 28] Until fiscal year 2004, JIATF-West had 
responsibility for U.S. drug detection and monitoring activities in the 
eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico.[Footnote 29] We analyzed 
data for fiscal years 2000 through 2005, although JIATF-West could not 
provide information about on-station ship days for the first quarter of 
fiscal year 2000 (September-December 1999).[Footnote 30] Compared to 
the first quarter of 2001, JIAFT-West's contribution was about 5.4 
percent of the total ship days on station. To determine the reliability 
of the JIATF-South and JIATF-West data, we discussed how the respective 
data was compiled with cognizant officials and compared it to 
available--albeit, less specific--data from the Coast Guard, CBP, and 
Defense. Through these efforts, we determined that the data provided to 
us were sufficiently reliable for describing the trends in asset 
availability during fiscal years 2000 through 2005. 

To determine the challenges facing the departments and agencies in 
maintaining current levels of transit zone interdiction operations, we 
reviewed issues raised in the IACM and other department and agency 
planning and budgeting documents. We discussed these matters with 
cognizant law enforcement and military authorities at Defense, 
Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and 
headquarters in Washington, D.C. We also discussed operational 
challenges with: 

* Coast Guard officials at their base in Jacksonville, Florida, where 
the Coast Guard stations armed helicopters used in interdiction 
operations; 

* CBP officials at their base in Jacksonville, Florida, where CPB 
stations P-3 maritime patrol aircraft used in interdiction operations; 

* DEA officials in Miami, Florida, and Nassau, Bahamas, who manage an 
ongoing drug interdiction program in the waters around the Bahamas 
called "Operation Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos;" 

* JIATF-South officials in Key West, Florida, including the Commander; 
representatives from the Coast Guard, CBP, Defense, and other U.S. 
agencies; as well as the liaison officers from France, the Netherlands, 
and the United Kingdom; and: 

* Justice officials with the U.S. Attorney's offices in Tampa and 
Sarasota, Florida, directly involved in the Panama Express operation. 

To determine how the Coast Guard, CBP, and Defense assess their 
performance, we met with cognizant officials in their respective 
planning and budgeting offices and reviewed relevant reports and 
related documents. Since only the Coast Guard had completed developing 
performance measures, we relied on discussions with the key officials 
to document what CBP and Defense were developing. To determine what 
data are available for assessing transit zone performance, we met with 
the principals involved in preparing the IACM. We discussed issues that 
have arisen concerning cultivation and production estimates (primarily, 
officials with the Crime and Narcotics Center and DEA), as well as 
interdiction amounts (primarily, the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator's 
Consolidated Counterdrug Database manager). In addressing usage and 
demand estimates in the United States, we asked ONDCP officials what 
they used to measure progress against the National Drug Control 
Strategy's goal of reducing drug usage in the United States. These 
officials cited the data sources we refer to in the body of the report 
(see table 4) and described how they used the information. We also 
reviewed the scope and methodology statements for each data source, and 
in the cases of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and 
Monitoring the Future, we spoke with the current project directors to 
obtain their views. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Counternarcotics Maritime Law Enforcement Agreements: 

The United States has signed Counternarcotics Maritime Law Enforcement 
agreements with 25 countries in the transit and source zones--three 
since 2000 after the United States closed its military installations in 
Panama. According to Coast Guard officials, these agreements have 
improved cooperation with nations in the region and increased U.S. and, 
in particular, the Coast Guard's capability to board suspect vessels 
and detain suspected drug traffickers. These officials added that these 
agreements are one of the primary reasons for increased interdictions 
of cocaine shipments in the transit zone. These bilateral agreements 
typically have six provisions to them. The United States and the 
countries negotiate each provision separately, which means that some 
countries may agree to some provisions and not others. The six parts 
provide for the following: 

* Shipboarding provisions allow U.S. agencies under certain conditions 
to stop, board, and search suspicious vessels registered in that 
country without having specific permission. 

* Shiprider provisions permit countries to place law enforcement 
officials on another's vessels. 

* Pursuit provisions allow U.S. law enforcement agencies, under very 
limited circumstances, to pursue aircraft and vessels in a country's 
airspace and territorial waters. In particular, the provisions permit 
U.S. law enforcement agencies to board and search a suspect vessel if 
the country does not have a vessel or aircraft available to respond 
immediately. 

* Entry-to-investigate provisions allow the U.S. law enforcement 
agencies, under very limited circumstances, to enter a country's 
airspace or territorial waters to investigate aircraft or vessels 
suspected of illicit drug trafficking. Specifically, the provisions 
permit U.S. law enforcement agencies to board and search a suspect 
vessel if the country does not have a vessel or aircraft available to 
respond immediately. 

* Overflight provisions permit the U.S. law enforcement aircraft to fly 
over the country's territorial waters, with appropriate notice to the 
country's coastal authorities. 

* Relay order-to-land provisions allow U.S. law enforcement agencies to 
relay an order to land from the host country to the suspect aircraft. 

Moreover, an additional International Maritime Interdiction Support 
clause permits U.S. law enforcement agencies, principally the Coast 
Guard, to transport suspected drug traffickers through that country to 
the United States for prosecution and provides for expedited access to 
that country's dockside facility to search suspect vessels. Since 2000, 
the United States has entered into support clauses with eight 
additional countries. 

The following table lists the law enforcement agreements, including the 
international maritime interdiction support clause that the United 
States has negotiated with countries in the transit and source zones. 

Table 5: Counternarcotics Maritime Law Enforcement Agreements with 
Countries in the Source and Transit Zones: 

Country: 1. Antigua and Barbuda; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 2. Bahamas; 
Shipboarding: No; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: No; 
Entry-to-Investigate: No; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 3. Barbados; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 4. Belize; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 5. Colombia; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: No; 
Pursuit: No; 
Entry-to-Investigate: No; 
Overflight: No; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 6. Costa Rica; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 7. Dominica; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: No; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 8. Dominican Republic; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: *; 
Relay order-to-land: *; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 9. Ecuador; 
Shipboarding: No; 
Shiprider: No; 
Pursuit: No; 
Entry-to-Investigate: No; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 10. El Salvador; 
Shipboarding: No; 
Shiprider: No; 
Pursuit: No; 
Entry-to-Investigate: No; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 11. Grenada; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 12. Guatemala; 
Shipboarding: *; 
Shiprider: *; 
Pursuit: *; 
Entry-to-Investigate: *; 
Overflight: *; 
Relay order-to-land: *; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 13. Haiti; 
Shipboarding: *; 
Shiprider: *; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: *; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 14. Honduras; 
Shipboarding: *; 
Shiprider: *; 
Pursuit: *; 
Entry-to-Investigate: *; 
Overflight: *; 
Relay order-to-land: *; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 15. Jamaica; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 16. Netherlands Antilles; and Aruba; 
Shipboarding: No; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 17. Nicaragua; 
Shipboarding: *; 
Shiprider: *; 
Pursuit: *; 
Entry-to-Investigate: *; 
Overflight: *; 
Relay order-to-land: *; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 18. Panama; 
Shipboarding: *; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: *; 
Entry-to-Investigate: *; 
Overflight: *; 
Relay order-to-land: *; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: *. 

Country: 19. St. Kitts and Nevis; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 20. St. Lucia; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 21. St. Vincent and; Grenadines; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: No; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 22. Suriname; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 23. Trinidad and Tobago; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: Yes; 
Overflight: Yes; 
Relay order-to-land: Yes; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 24. Turks and Caicos; 
Shipboarding: No; 
Shiprider: Yes; 
Pursuit: No; 
Entry-to-Investigate: No; 
Overflight: No; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Country: 25. Venezuela; 
Shipboarding: Yes; 
Shiprider: No; 
Pursuit: Yes; 
Entry-to-Investigate: No; 
Overflight: No; 
Relay order-to-land: No; 
International Maritime Interdiction Support clause: No. 

Source: JIATF-South. 

* Indicates that the provision or clause was agreed to since July 2000. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: 
SPECIAL OPERATIONS/LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT: 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301-2500: 

NOV 03 2006: 

Mr. Jess T. Ford: 
Director: 
International Affairs and Trade Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Mr. Ford: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO draft 
report, GAO-06-200, "DRUG CONTROL: Agencies Need to Plan for Likely 
Declines in Drug Interdiction Assets, and Develop Better Performance 
Measures for Transit Zone Operations," dated October 20, 2005 (GAO Code 
320307)." 

The enclosed DoD response to the GAO recommendations is provided for 
incorporation with this letter as an appendix to the final report. 

Thank you for the opportunity to review this draft report and to 
provide formal comments. Should you have any questions concerning this 
response, please do not hesitate to contact me at (703) 697-3186. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Robert J. Newberry: 
Principal Director for Counternarcotics: 

Enclosure: As stated: 

GAO DRAFT REPORT-DATED October 20, 2005 GAO CODE 320307/GAO-06-200: 

"DRUG CONTROL: Agencies Need to Plan for Likely Declines in Drug 
Interdiction Assets, and Develop Better Performance Measures for 
Transit Zone Operations" 

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS: 

RECOMMENDATION 1: The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense 
plan for the likely decline in the future availability of ships and 
aircraft for transit zone interdiction operations and, specifically, 
determine how they will compensate for the decline in P-3 Maritime 
Patrol Aircraft (MPA) availability. (p. 33/GAO Draft Report): 

DOD RESPONSE: Partially Concur. Sustaining DoD's war-fighting 
requirements while the U.S. Navy (USN) transitions from the P-3C 
aircraft to the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) remains one of 
our highest priorities. This transition has been complicated by the 
discovery of accelerated structural fatigue issues affecting our P-3 
fleet and our on-going commitment to the Global War on Terrorism. In 
response to these challenges, the USN has developed a Fleet Response 
Plan designed to husband limited P-3 resources and bridge the gap until 
the MMA begins introduction in FY11. 

The decline in DoD P-3C aircraft mentioned in the GAO report is a 
result of this Fleet Response Plan and should not be interpreted as 
either an unexpected shortfall or a lack of DoD resolve. We recognize 
that this represents a challenge to Transit Zone operations and have 
worked extensively with our partner nations and within the USG 
interagency to leverage our collective MPA assets. We have invested in 
technologies to improve our sorting and cueing capabilities which 
enhance our detection and monitoring mission. Additionally, we have 
assisted Transit Zone countries to develop indigenous capabilities to 
detect, monitor, and interdict narcotics trafficking conveyances. DoD 
will continue to coordinate with all MPA force providers (USG and 
partner nations) committed to disrupting the flow of illegal narcotics 
through the Transit Zone. 

RECOMMENDATION 2: The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense 
develop and coordinate in conjunction with the Director of the Office 
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), performances measures for 
transit zone interdiction operations that take advantage of available 
drug interdiction data to provide basis for: (a) assessing transit zone 
interdiction performance and (b) deciding how to deploy increasingly 
limited assets, such as the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. (p. 33/GAO 
Draft Report): 

DOD RESPONSE: Partially Concur. Over the past year, DoD has coordinated 
with commands to develop performance goals, measures and targets for 
the Transit Zone. We continue to work with the commands as they prepare 
their submissions. Where possible, we have incorporated existing 
measures to assess DoD's roles within the Transit Zone, which includes 
detection and monitoring, limited intelligence, partner nation 
training, and mobility support to law enforcement. We feel we have 
appropriate mechanisms in place to assess our efforts. However, we will 
continue to work with ONDCP to modify our efforts, as appropriate. 

The GAO refers to interdiction operations throughout the draft report. 
As a matter of accuracy, DoD is not authorized to conduct law 
enforcement interdiction operations. It can, however, provide support 
to law enforcement as they conduct interdiction operations. 
Consequently, as it applies to DoD and for purposes of measuring 
success, the correct terms are detection and monitoring. Finally, 
although DoD willingly consults with ONDCP and other interagency 
partners as recommended in the report, it reserves final decision on 
the deployment of DoD assets. 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: 
Washington, DC 20528: 

November 7, 2005: 

Mr. Jess T. Ford: 
Director, International Affairs and Trade: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Mr. Ford: 

RE: Draft Report GAO-06-200, Drug Control: Agencies Need to Plan for 
Likely Declines in Drug Interdiction Assets, and Develop Better 
Performance Measures for Transit Zone Operations (GAO Job Code 320307): 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appreciates the opportunity 
to review and comment on the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) 
draft report. The report presents a generally fair and accurate 
description of the Department's noncommercial maritime transit zone 
interdiction activities and resource issues. While we generally agree 
with the recommendations made in the report, DHS believes it is useful 
to clarify our understanding of the recommendations. 

The report calls on the Departments of Defense and DHS to develop plans 
to compensate for likely declines in interdiction asset availability. 
DHS develops its drug interdiction asset requirements as part of an 
interagency planning process where asset commitment is based on the 
threat level and availability of funding. Despite planning efforts, 
unforeseen events such as Hurricane Katrina relief efforts may 
temporarily impact asset availability. DHS continues to be committed to 
the robust support of the nation's noncommercial maritime transit zone 
drug interdiction efforts in conjunction with its interagency and 
international interdiction partners. 

In addition, the report calls for the development and coordination of 
performance measures to better assess transit zone interdiction 
operations. DHS is cognizant of its responsibilities, in accordance 
with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, in 
the area of performance measurement. DHS has-through a management 
directive-made clear that the responsibility for the development of 
performance measurements rests with the DHS Office of Counternarcotics 
Enforcement (DHS-CNE). DHS-CNE currently is undertaking an effort to 
develop and coordinate a performance measurement system to better 
assess DHS counter drug activities, including transit zone interdiction 
operations. The Department of Homeland Security is pleased to note the 
report's positive references to the Consolidated Counterdrug Database 
(CCDB) and its endorsement of the concept of using CCDB data to serve 
as one of the primary data instruments for assessing progress of 
interdiction efforts. 

Finally, GAO recommends that the Office of National Drug Control Policy 
(ONDCP) address recommendations of the National Research Council to 
improve illicit drug data. DHS defers to ONDCP for comment regarding 
this recommendation. 

In addition to commenting on GAO's recommendations, DHS would like to 
address an issue related to the data reporting. The GAO report notes 
that the ONDCP 2004 Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement (IACM) 
reported that "between 325 metric tons and 675 metric tons of cocaine 
may be moving towards the United States in 2004." Referring to these 
figures, the GAO report states, "Such a wide range is not useful for 
assessing transit zone interdiction efforts." DHS believes that the 
decision to publish a range rather than a single numerical estimate in 
the 2004 IACM was a wise one because it acknowledges the lack of 
precision inherent in the data that is currently available. DHS 
believes that given the current inability to identify a narrow estimate 
of cocaine production, the publication of a single point estimate 
figure would have implied a level of precision that simply does not 
exist and, as a result, would have misled policymakers. In our view, it 
is important that efforts be made to improve the methodology and 
integrity of data instruments in order to gain a better and more useful 
understanding of drug production and consumption. This will give 
policymakers improved information for determining how to deploy 
interdiction assets to stop the flow of illicit drugs into the country. 

We are available to discuss our response if you have any questions. 
Technical comments are being provided under separate cover. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Steven J. Pecinovsky: 
Director: 

Departmental GAO/OIG Liaison Office: 

[End of section] 

Appendix V: Comments from the Office of National Drug Control Policy: 

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT: 
OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY: 
Washington, D.C. 20503: 

November 4, 2005: 

Mr. Jess Ford: 
Director, International Affairs and Trade Issues: 
Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548-0001: 

Dear Mr. Ford: 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft GAO 06-200 report 
entitled Drug Control: Agencies Need to Plan for Likely Declines in 
Drug Interdiction Assets, and Develop Better Performance Measures for 
Transit Zone Operations. You have addressed a complex situation that 
has changed dramatically over a 5-year period. While you have noted a 
slight decline in the amount of available transit zone assets, this has 
been offset through improved interagency cooperation, centralized 
command and control, and an enhanced intelligence cuing process. 

In 2003, the United States and our allies seized or forced the 
jettisoning of 157 metric tons of cocaine headed through the transit 
zone before it could reach U.S. consumers. In 2004, those figures rose 
to 196 metric tons. Thus far in 2005, Joint Interagency Task Force-
South has seized or caused the disruption of more than 190 metric tons 
of cocaine and is on course for another record breaking year. That this 
occurred despite periodic redeployments of interdiction forces to cover 
homeland security missions is strong testament to the crucial role of 
intelligence and strong interagency support. Specifically, the 
Departments of Homeland Security and Defense have maintained 
interdiction force structure commitments despite the demands of other 
homeland security missions and the war on terror. That said, we are 
constantly striving to improve our process. 

We agree with your assessment that developing performance measures that 
link interdiction operations in the transit zone to the disruption of 
the cocaine market is a difficult but necessary task. We will work with 
the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to develop and 
implement performance measures consistent with the Government 
Performance and Results Act's approach of managerial flexibility. We 
will continue to seek appropriate measures for individual programs and 
monitor the overall effect on the ultimate indicator of success-
decreasing drug use among youth and adults. 

We also agree with your assessment that collection of relevant data to 
assess the effect of interdiction operations on the cocaine market and 
drug usage in the United States is challenging. As you note, the 2001 
study by the National Research Council (NRC) contained similar 
conclusions. We have taken several steps to address issues identified 
by the NRC to include publishing a 2001 study entitled Measuring the 
Deterrent Effect of Enforcement Operations on Drug Smuggling, 1991-1999 
and establishing two operational priorities focused on understanding 
the illicit drug market and enhancing our data sets. 

Once again, we appreciate the opportunity to review this report and 
believe that we are on the right course concerning your 
recommendations. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

John P. Walters: 
Director of National Drug Control Policy: 

(320307): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] The other two priorities are: (1) stopping illicit drug use before 
it starts and (2) healing America's drug users. 

[2] The transit zone encompasses Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean 
Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

[3] Seizures are defined as taking physical possession of the cocaine. 
Disruptions are defined as forcing individuals suspected of 
transporting cocaine to jettison or abandon their cargo. 

[4] Rand Corporation, The Price and Purity of Illegal Drugs: 1981 
Through the Second Quarter of 2003 (Washington, D.C., November 2004). 
Specifically, the report uses data compiled through June 2003 and notes 
that since 2001, the price of cocaine had declined. 

[5] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results 
from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings 
(Washington, D.C., September 2005). 

[6] Prior to fiscal year 2004, the Joint Interagency Task Force-West, 
based in Alameda, California, had responsibility for U.S. detection and 
monitoring activities in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Beginning with 
fiscal year 2004, JIATF-South was given responsibility for the eastern 
Pacific Ocean. 

[7] On October 31, 2004, Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
interdiction assets were assigned to CBP. Throughout this report we 
refer to CBP. 

[8] On-station ship days and on-station flight hours are the time spent 
on monitoring and interdiction operations. The JIATF-South and JIATF-
West figures do not include the time needed for these assets to get in 
position to begin operations. 

[9] See GAO, Results-Oriented Government: GPRA Has Established a Solid 
Foundation for Achieving Greater Results, GAO-04-38 (Washington, D.C. 
Mar. 10, 2004). 

[10] The source zone includes the principal drug producing countries of 
Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. 

[11] See our report titled Drug Control: Difficulties in Measuring 
Costs and Results of Transit Zone Interdiction Efforts, GAO-02-13 
(Washington, D.C. Jan. 25, 2002). 

[12] For fiscal year 2006, the Administration has requested an 
additional $735 million for countries in the source zone and $77 
million for countries in the transit zone. 

[13] Other federal law enforcement agencies include the Internal 
Revenue Service, the Coast Guard, and representatives from JIATF-South. 

[14] Also beginning in calendar year 2000, the Coast Guard began 
deploying "over the horizon boats" capable of pursuing go-fast boats. 

[15] On-station ship days for the eastern Pacific Ocean for the first 
quarter of fiscal year 2000 (September-December 1999) were not readily 
available. In fiscal year 2001, JIATF-West first quarter on-station 
ship days was about 5.4 percent of the year's total. 

[16] An AWACS aircraft resumed operations in the transit zone in 
November 2004 and a second AWACS aircraft was added in April 2005. 

[17] "Known actionable" events include events that are confirmed 
through a seizure of some or all of the drugs, were deemed "actionable" 
by the Navy or Coast Guard (within their capability to seize or 
disrupt), or could not be reasonably attributed to anything other than 
drug trafficking (for example, jettisoning cargo or scuttling a vessel 
when detected by law enforcement officials). 

[18] The P-3 is a 40-year-old aircraft and has begun to develop cracks 
in its wing structure. Currently, the Navy plans to retire the P-3 and 
replace it with a different aircraft. However, the full fleet of 
aircraft will not be available until 2013. 

[19] For more information about this program, see our report titled 
Drug Control: Air Bridge Denial Program in Colombia Has Implemented New 
Safeguards, but Its Effect on Drug Trafficking Is Not Clear, GAO-05-970 
(Washington, D.C. Sept. 6, 2005). 

[20] The Coast Guard uses these assets to perform a variety of 
missions, such as interdicting illicit drug shipments or attempted 
landings by illegal aliens and rescuing mariners at sea. 

[21] For more information about the condition of Coast Guard ships and 
aircraft, see Coast Guard: Preliminary Observations on the Condition of 
Deepwater Legacy Assets and Acquisition Management Challenges, GAO-05-
651T (Washington, D.C. June 21, 2005) and Coast Guard: Preliminary 
Observations on the Condition of Deepwater Legacy Assets and 
Acquisition Management Challenges, GAO-05-307T (Washington, D.C. Apr. 
20, 2005). 

[22] Pub. L. 103-62, as amended. 

[23] GAO-04-38. 

[24] The interagency group is headed by the Defense Intelligence Agency 
and includes the U.S. Director of Central Intelligence, Crime and 
Narcotics Center; the Coast Guard; CBP; DEA; JIATF-South; JIATF-West; 
the National Security Agency; the Office of Naval Intelligence; State; 
and the U.S. Southern Command. In addition, Her Majesty's Customs and 
Excise (United Kingdom) participates. 

[25] National Research Council, Informing America's Policy on Illegal 
Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting Us (Washington, D.C. 2001). 

[26] We also note that in 1999, we recommended that Defense develop 
performance measures for assessing its contributions to 
counternarcotics' operations. See our report titled Drug Control: 
Assets DOD Contributes to Reducing the Illegal Drug Supply have 
Declined, GAO/NSIAD-00-9 (Washington, D.C. Dec. 21, 1999). 

[27] Pub. L. 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638. 

[28] As we reported in 2002 (GAO-02-13), none of the departments or 
agencies involved in transit zone interdiction operations track the 
costs directly associated with cocaine interdiction missions nor do 
they track the ship or flight time spent on interdiction versus other 
missions in the transit zone. In addition, the Coast Guard, CBP, and 
Defense could not separate the time spent traveling to the transit 
zone--in the case of ships this could be several days or a week--versus 
actually conducting their missions. 

[29] Through fiscal year 2003, JIATF-West was located in Alameda, 
California. It has since moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. 

[30] We also noted that the Coast Guard conducted an operation in the 
eastern Caribbean Sea independent of JIATF-South that included illicit 
drug interdiction (known as "Operation Frontier Shield"). According to 
the Coast Guard, the operation was ongoing in fiscal year 2000, but we 
did not include it in our analysis because the Coast Guard could not 
separate the time needed for its ships and aircraft to move to the 
operational area, nor could it identify the time its ships and aircraft 
spent on drug interdiction versus other objectives, such as stemming 
the flow of illegal aliens. 

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