Article excerpt

For decades, the United States and other countries have dismantled scores of criminal organizations around the world. The U.S. experience with La Cosa Nostra, as well as Colombia's experience with the Medellin and Cali Cartels and even the FARC prove that it is possible to constrain, shrink, disrupt and dismantle criminal and insurgent groups once considered to be untouchable. This Strategy builds upon such past experience. Today the threat from TOC is more complicated because criminal networks are more fluid and are using increasingly sophisticated tactics. TOC can exploit the interconnected nature of our modern trading, transportation, and transactional systems that move people and commerce throughout the global economy and across our borders.

Countering TOC today requires an integrated and comprehensive approach. This Strategy sets out such an approach to raise international awareness about the reality of the TOC threat to international security; galvanize multilateral action to constrain the reach and influence of TOC; deprive TOC of its enabling means and infrastructure; shrink the threat TOC poses to citizen safety, national security, and governance; and ultimately defeat the TOC networks that pose the greatest threat to national security. TOC presents sophisticated and multi-faceted threats that cannot be addressed through law enforcement action alone. Accordingly, we will establish an interagency Threat Mitigation Working Group to identify those TOC networks that present a sufficiently high national security threat as to merit the focused use of complementary law enforcement and non-law enforcement assets and that may be vulnerable to whole-of- government responses. The Working Group will ensure the coordination of all elements of national power to effectively protect our borders, people, economy, and financial system from the threats posed by the most dangerous and sophisticated of these transnational criminal networks.

This Strategy sets out five overarching policy objectives that are consistent with the vision and priorities of the National Security Strategy:

1. Protect Americans and our partners from the harm, violence, and exploitation of transnational criminal networks. Our priority is the safety, security, and prosperity of American citizens and the citizens of partner nations. We will target the networks that pose the gravest threat to citizen safety and security, including those that traffic illicit drugs, arms, and people especially women and children; sell and distribute substandard, tainted and counterfeit goods; rob Americans of their prosperity; carry out kidnappings for ransom and extortion; and seek to terrorize and intimidate through acts of torture and murder.

2. Help partner countries strengthen governance and transparency, break the corruptive power of transnational criminal networks, and sever state-crime alliances. …