(Supporting new Clinton interim drug control policy)  (660)

By Bruce Carey

USIA Security Affairs Correspondent

Washington -- Defense Assistant Secretary Brian Sheridan says that the U.S.

military is initiating a five-point strategy to support the Clinton

administration's interim antidrug policy announced last week by Lee Brown,

director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.

At a Senate hearing October 20, Brown said the new international strategy

will concentrate on the source countries and highlight the importance of

law enforcement, interdiction, alternative development, and "other programs

to attack the drug-trafficking infrastructure."

Sheridan said October 28 that the five elements of the Pentagon's support

strategy are: source nation support programs, assisting law enforcement in

dismantling cocaine cartels, use of interdiction to stop drugs entering the

United States by sea and air, better patrolling of the Mexican border to

stop overland drug infiltration, and education and outreach programs to cut

demand for illicit drugs.

"The first (strategy element) is our source nation support programs," he

said.  "We provide training, communication systems, ground-based radars,

planning support.  The interim strategy...calls for enhanced support to the

source nations."

"The second major thrust of our program are our efforts to help law

enforcement, and particularly the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), as

they attempt to dismantle the cocaine trafficking cartels.  Our

contribution amounts largely to intelligence collection and analysis.  The

goal in all cases is arrests and prosecutions," said the assistant

secretary.  "Some of those take place in the United States and some of them

take place overseas as we attempt to help those nations that have shown the

political will to combat this problem."

"The third aspect of our program revolves around our activity in the transit

zone, our detection and monitoring mission.  There you're looking at the

use of radars, AWACS and ships.  The principal target, of course, has been

private commercial aircraft carrying cocaine toward the United States.  We

will continue to do some detection monitoring of the transit zone, but in

accordance with the interim national strategy, we will begin to shift and

do less of that," he said.

"The fourth major strategic our support to the southwest border

states," said Sheridan.  "Approximately 70 percent of the cocaine entering

the United States comes across the southwest border.  There, we're talking

about...border detection and monitoring.

"The last our demand reduction program.  In the past, this has

largely consisted of drug testing and then prevention and education within

DOD (Department of Defense).  We have begun funding pilot outreach

programs, where we can take some of the unique resources and talents of the

Department of Defense and help to reach out to troubled youths, especially

those in the inner city, as requested by Congress, and see if we can make a

contribution in that area."

All military anti-drug efforts will be coordinated with civilian law

1nforcement under the direction of Brown.  "DOD plays a support role in the

counter-drug effort," Sheridan stressed.  "Additionally, all international

activities will be coordinated with and in support of the Department of

State and the relevant host nations that we are supporting," he said.

"DOD will continue to provide support" to law enforcement agencies, "but

will not directly assist in seizures and arrests.  Internationally, DOD

will not accompany host nation forces on actual operations, and that just

represents a continuation of past policy," he told reporters.

Sheridan made clear that the counter-drug problem is a long-term effort,

requiring "a multifaceted approach.  Both supply-side and demand-side

programs are required.

"Progress will be made incrementally, is not a war on drugs, but

rather a long-term and very difficult struggle.  And I think to label it a

war kind of implies that with some concerted effort this problem can

be...quickly dealt with, and that's simply not the case," he said.