Suggested Improvements in Management of International Narcotics Control Program

ID-81-13: Published: Nov 13, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 1980.

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GAO made a limited examination of the International Narcotics Control Program in Thailand and Burma. The program includes providing U.S. equipment to reduce the amount of narcotics entering the United States and assisting these nations in combating their own narcotics problems. Monitoring requirements for equipment and other goods are established at the time agreements are reached with recipient countries. The agreements state that the assistance must be used for purposes related to the control of illicit drugs. Congress has encouraged a formal end-use monitoring system to assure that the equipment provided is used in accordance with the requirements.

Weaknesses in program management have contributed to the uneconomical use of scarce program funds in Thailand and Burma. Adequate guidance on the expected uses of narcotics-control equipment and end-use monitoring reports, along with misuse criteria, would better assure that the most effective use possible was made of resources provided by the United States. Due to inadequate specifications, some equipment has been delivered without essential items causing recipient-government difficulty in its use. Recipient-government funding limitations, technical inexperience, and language difficulties create hardships and constraints on the use and maintenance of the sophisticated equipment provided. Some problems resulted because State Department staff lacked expertise in narcotics project design, implementation, and monitoring. Inexperience in project management also created problems. Former political officers are often designated as narcotics control unit chiefs, often on a part-time basis. The environment, traditions, and respective economies of Burma and Thailand do not offer simple solutions to the narcotics problem. The problem will require complex sustained efforts both on the part of the United States and the recipient countries. The host-government commitment to the program is the most essential factor and bears direct correlation to the benefits the United States derives.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Bureau for International Narcotics Matters should take appropriate action to continue its efforts to improve project management training.

    Agency Affected: Department of State: Bureau of International Narcotics Matters

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Bureau for International Narcotics Matters should take appropriate action to assure that recipient governments can use and maintain sophisticated equipment, to the extent practical.

    Agency Affected: Department of State: Bureau of International Narcotics Matters

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Bureau for International Narcotics Matters should take appropriate action to clarify guidance on use of equipment.

    Agency Affected: Department of State: Bureau of International Narcotics Matters

 

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