Casey Fights to Preserve National Guard Counterdrug Training Centers

Northeast Center is Located in Fort Indiantown Gap / Centers Provide Training to Military Personnel, Local Law Enforcement in Combating Illegal Drug Trade

Casey Fights to Preserve National Guard Counterdrug Training Centers

Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged the Senate to support funding for the National Guard Counterdrug Training Centers. Of the five centers located across the country, the Northeast Counterdrug Training Center (NCTC) is in located at Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania.  Casey was joined in his letter by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). Each of the five centers trains both military and local law enforcement personnel, and improves interagency cooperation in the fight against narco-trafficking.   To help facilitate the specialized course requirements, the training centers rely on military and civilian subject matter experts to instruct the courses formulated by the Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau. According to its 2013 Annual Report, the Northeast Counterdrug Training Center delivered 126 courses and trained 15,654 military and law enforcement professionals during FY13.  

“Funding the NCTC will ensure that our law enforcement officers have the training they need to reduce drug-related crime and keep Pennsylvanians safe,” said Senator Casey.  “This joint military and civilian effort contributes significantly to our homeland defense. It is crucial that Congress and the Administration fund these centers to make sure law enforcement officers have the necessary resources to do their jobs.”

In his letter to Senate colleagues, Senator Casey noted that the President’s Budget has consistently reduced funding for these centers, and this year failed to include any funding.  He invited his colleagues to join him in sending a letter to Secretary Hagel, emphasizing the Senate’s strong support for the National Guard’s Counterdrug program and the Centers. 

The full text of both letters is below.  The letter to Secretary Hagel will be sent later this week.

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to sign on to the following letter regarding the National Guard’s Counterdrug Training Centers.  The five centers, located across the country, train both military personnel and local law enforcement, and improve interagency cooperation in the fight against narco-trafficking.  Strong Congressional support is critical to ensuring that these Centers remain appropriately funded so that they can continue to provide essential training and support. 

For the past several years, the President’s Budget has consistently reduced funding for these centers.  Each year, through the NDAA and appropriations processes, Congress has emphasized its support for the National Guard’s Counterdrug program and the Centers.  A relatively modest investment in the Centers pays dividends for bolstering law enforcement capacity to detect, interdict, disrupt, and curtail the flow of illicit drugs in the United States.

For additional information about this issue or to sign onto the letter, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Charles E. Grassley
Senator Tom Harkin

Dear Secretary Hagel:

We write today as strong supporters of the five Counterdrug Training Centers located throughout the United States that are funded through the National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) Counterdrug Program. Authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 1991, Counterdrug Training Centers provide counter-narcotics training to local law enforcement officials that have subsequently helped combat the flow of narcotics into and throughout the United States.

To date, the National Guard Training Centers have provided counterdrug training to over 680,923 law enforcement officials. Without these training centers, law enforcement officers would be unable to obtain this valuable training, drastically reducing the United States Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) ability to combat narco-terrorism, and diminish the support they provide to other combatant commanders.

To help facilitate the specialized course requirements, the training centers rely on military and civilian subject matter experts to instruct the courses formulated by DOD and NGB. Courses such as Advanced Undercover Operations, Advanced High Risk Warrant Planning and Execution, and Advanced Narcotics Investigations would not be possible, or worse, a waste of time without these subject matter experts.

We were disheartened to learn that there are some within OSD who do not view the training of local law enforcement officers as a core mission to homeland defense, and that the use of subject matter experts from the law enforcement community should be discontinued. We were also alarmed to learn that for the first time since the early 90’s, funding for these centers was not requested in the President’s FY15 budget. Congress has continually expressed its support, verbally and through report language, for DOD to continue this mission.

We respectfully request that the Department of Defense reinforce its view that training law enforcement officials is a core tenet of homeland defense, and reverse the call to phase-out the hiring of subject matter experts to teach counterdrug courses. We also request that DOD make available the funding that was provided in the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act for the Counterdrug Training Centers in a timely manner.

Thank you for your service and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

Chuck Grassley
United States Senator

Tom Harkin
United States Senator

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