Following Casey Effort, Defense Bill Contains Language Emphasizing Importance of Counterdrug Centers

Bill Has Cleared House and Is Likely to Become Law- Casey Has Led Senate Efforts to Protect Counterdrug Centers / Northeast Counterdrug Training Center in Fort Indiantown Gap Aids Law Enforcement in Combatting Drug Trafficking

Following Casey Effort, Defense Bill Contains Language Emphasizing Importance of Counterdrug Centers

Washington, DC- Following a major effort by Senator Casey, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has already passed the House and is likely to pass the Senate this week, contains report language that emphasizes the importance of National Counterdrug Centers. Casey has led the Senate efforts to protect counterdrug centers. The Northeast Counterdrug Center in Fort Indiantown Gap has played a critical role in helping law enforcement across the state in combatting drug trafficking.

“I’m pleased that the defense bill contains language that will recognize the important role counterdrug centers play in protecting communities from drug trafficking and aiding law enforcement,” Senator Casey said. “Earlier this year I visited the Northeast Counterdrug Center in Fort Indiantown Gap and saw firsthand the critical need for these resources. More work needs to be done to ensure the Defense Department identifies a stable funding solution for these Centers that maximizes their ability to train military and law enforcement officers.”  

The bill states, “We note the role of the National Guard Counter-drug mission in ensuring the security of the U.S. Homeland. As part of that mission, the National Guard Counter-drug Schools continue to play an important role in training and educating local, state, and federal law enforcement and other entities on counter-drug-related matters. We recognize the benefits of maintaining and supporting the National Guard counterdrug strategy.”

The full text of both of Casey’s letters on counterdrug centers is below:

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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