Magazine article National Defense

National Guard Tries to Rehab Its Drug War Mission

Magazine article National Defense

National Guard Tries to Rehab Its Drug War Mission

Article excerpt

National Guard officials said they are willing to step up efforts on the U.S. government's "war on drugs," even though the effort has faded from many radar screens during the chaos and fury of the "global war on terror."

"The Department of Defense's number-one priority is terrorism, so we have to adjust and gear counter-drug operations toward that priority," said Air Force Col. Earl Bell, chief of the Guard's counter-drug programs.

Bell's division plans to become more involved in anti-narcotics missions and coordinate federal and local law enforcement efforts.

Among the priorities is to fuse intelligence between the military and other agencies, and launch pilot projects at federally designated "high intensity drug trafficking areas," including the southwest U.S. border.

"The Guard has to become a catalyst for synchronized operations and cooperation," said Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "An unprecedented collaboration between agencies at the local, state and federal level will build a support authority capable of being proactive, not reactive, to the war on drugs. …

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