Pentagon Error Suspends Anti-Narcotics Programs Worldwide

From the Washington Examiner:

Pentagon counternarcotics and counterterrorism operations around the world were abruptly suspended this month when the Defense Department officials overseeing the programs failed to ensure they were funded by congressional authorizations, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner. The lapse has caused serious national security and diplomatic problems for the U.S. military, according to Defense Department officials.

The authorizations cover joint counternarcotics operations with foreign governments, as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the U.S.

The mix-up occurred when the anti-narcotics programs were not included on a list provided to Congress of operations that needed to be funded under a continuing resolution made necessary by the lawmakers’ failure to pass a bill authorizing defense funding in fiscal 2012, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James Gregory.

“The temporary lapse in these authorities has had significant national security and diplomatic implications for our counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico and along the Southwest border,” Gregory said. “We are working with the interagency and our international partners to ensure critical programs are maintained with as little interruption as possible, but these mitigation efforts are temporary and incomplete. Many DoD counternarcotics activities have been reduced in scope, delayed, or suspended altogether.”

An analysis of the mishap, classified as secret, is under review by the Defense Department to determine the national security implications and the costs caused by the unplanned suspensions of the programs. It is expected to cost taxpayers “tens of millions” of dollars to restart the programs, according to a Pentagon official with direct knowledge of the problem.

Read the full article here.

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