Casey Leads Bipartisan Effort to Support NCTC

President’s Budget Inadequately Funds Counterdrug Program

Casey Leads Fight to Ensure Local Law Enforcement Has Access to Critical Training Resource 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today led a bipartisan effort urging Senate appropriators to continue to support the National Guard Counterdrug Program, which funds the National Counterdrug Training Center (NCTC) at Fort Indiantown Gap. The President’s 2013 budget would inadequately fund the program, curtailing counterdrug activities and forcing at least two centers in the country to close.

“As we continue to battle drug and gang crime in Pennsylvania, now is not the time to cut back on valuable tools for law enforcement like the NCTC,” said Senator Casey. “Law enforcement officials put their own safety at risk to protect our communities, so we need make sure they are prepared for the dangers they face every day.”

In a bipartisan letter signed by 19 other Senators to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Senator Casey made the case that the counterdrug program, which funds the NCTC, provides critical resources for investigative support, drug demand reduction, narco-terrorism and officer safety training for thousands of law enforcement officers. This has been a cost-free resource for Pennsylvania law enforcement officials and first responders to deal with public safety issues such as gang crime, meth labs and drug trafficking.

Senator Casey has a long track record supporting the NCTC and its mission to help law enforcement reduce crime and protect Pennsylvania communities. When the NCTC was threatened with closure last year, Senator Casey led a bipartisan effort to secure funding to keep operations running, and he also secured funding to rehire guard members who had lost their jobs due to lack of funding.

The full text of the letter is below:

Senator Daniel Inouye

Senator Thad Cochran

Dear Chairman and Ranking Member,

As the Committee considers appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013, we write in support of the national security and criminal justice expertise provided by the National Guard Bureau.  We particularly support the contributions made by regional counterdrug training centers, which have supported the military as well as federal, state and local law enforcement for more than a decade.  Ongoing support for these activities will allow for the continuation of vital no-cost investigative support, drug demand reduction, narco-terrorism and officer safety training for thousands of law enforcement officers.

According to the National Guard Bureau, the Counterdrug Program supports the “detection, interdiction, disruption and curtailment of drug trafficking activities through the application of military unique skills and resources.”  By providing facilities, training and expertise, the National Guard has earned accolades for these activities from law enforcement and military officials.  The centers play a particularly vital role in coordinating the implementation of the Nation’s drug control strategy by assisting the efforts of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Defense, Combatant Commands, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and state and local agencies.  As these entities strive to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking and transnational organized crime activities, the National Guard acts as a key partner by providing training and investigative support.

In recognition of the National Guard Counterdrug Program’s importance to our nation’s crime-fighting activities, Congress has in recent years appropriated funding beyond the levels requested in the President’s budget.  We are appreciative of the Committee’s past support in providing sufficient funding for the National Guard’s counterdrug activities, particularly when the President’s budget request was inadequate.  In FY 2013, we respectfully ask that the Committee once again support this program at a level that allows all centers to stay open and regional support activities to be continued. Under the FY 2013 budget request, these activities would be threatened and at least two centers would be forced to close, according to the National Guard Bureau.

In a bipartisan manner, previous Congresses have acknowledged the value that these schools and state plans provide in the battle against drugs both internationally and domestically.  Recognizing the fiscal constraints under which the Appropriations Committee and Congress must operate, we respectfully request that you provide adequate funding to continue the successful activities of the National Guard Counterdrug Program.  Thank you for your attention to this issue.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Senator Mark Begich (D-AK)

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Senator Al Franken (D-MN)

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)

Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)