Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security

Article excerpt

Contents On July 25, 2011, the National Security Staff released its Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security. i. Definition ii. Letter from President Barack Obama iii. Executive Summary I Introduction II Transnational Organized Crime: A Growing Threat to National and International Security III Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime Priority Actions 1. Start at Home: Taking Shared Responsibility for Transnational Organized Crime 2. Enhance Intelligence and Information Sharing 3. Protect the Financial System and Strategic Markets against Transnational Organized Crime 4. Strengthen Interdiction, Investigations, and Prosecutions 5. Disrupt Drug Trafficking and Its Facilitation of Other Transnational Threats 6. Build International Capacity, Cooperation, and Partnerships

STRATEGY TO COMBAT TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME: DEFINITION Transnational organized crime refers to those self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, monetary and/or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption and/ or violence, or while protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms. There is no single structure under which transnational organized criminals operate; they vary from hierarchies to clans, networks, and cells, and may evolve to other structures. The crimes they commit also vary.

Transnational organized criminals act conspiratorially in their criminal activities and possess certain characteristics which may include, but are not limited to:

* In at least part of their activities they commit violence or other acts which are likely to intimidate, or make actual or implicit threats to do so;

* They exploit differences between countries to further their objectives, enriching their organization, expanding its power, and/ or avoiding detection/apprehension;

* They attempt to gain influence in government, politics, and commerce through corrupt as well as legitimate means;

* They have economic gain as their primary goal, not only from patently illegal activities but also from investment in legitimate businesses; and

* They attempt to insulate both their leadership and membership from detection, sanction, and/ or prosecution through their organizational structure.

STRATEGY TO COMBAT TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME: LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT July 19, 2011 In the National Security Strategy, I committed my Administration to the pursuit of four enduring national interests: security, prosperity, respect for universal values, and the shaping of an international order that can meet the challenges of the 21st century. The expanding size, scope, and influence of transnational organized crime and its impact on U.S. and international security and governance represent one of the most significant of those challenges.

During the past 15 years, technological innovation and globalization have proven to be an overwhelming force for good. However, transnational criminal organizations have taken advantage of our increasingly interconnected world to expand their illicit enterprises.

Criminal networks are not only expanding their operations, but they are also diversifying their activities, resulting in a convergence of transnational threats that has evolved to become more complex, volatile, and destabilizing.

These networks also threaten U.S. interests by forging alliances with corrupt elements of national governments and using the power and influence of those elements to further their criminal activities. In some cases, national governments exploit these relationships to further their interests to the detriment of the United States. …