Perception of Effectiveness of Texas National Guard Personnel About the Texas National Guard Counter Drug Program
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The United States has a serious drug problem. Illicit drugs devastate the lives of many citizens through addiction, crime, and violence. The problem became so bad in the mid 1970s and 1980s that President Bush declared it a national security threat in 1989. With that declaration, the military was tasked to lend its unique skills in pursuit of a solution. The military s primary role in counter drug efforts is detection and monitoring. While this role is one aspect of intelligence, it does not constitute the whole of the intelligence mission. The literature (particularly J.F. Holden-Rhodes) states that current use of intelligence is associated with the tactical and operational levels and that the value of strategic intelligence has not yet been grasped. The National Guard is of particular interest in counter drug efforts for two reasons. While a component of the military at large, the National Guard occupies the unique position between the authority of state governors and the Department of Defense. Therefore, the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from performing direct law enforcement functions (such as arrests, searches, and seizures), does not apply to the National Guard. This special status gives the National Guard the potential to be more directly involved in counter drug efforts. The second reason the National Guard is of interest is that its members are already strategically located throughout the state, especially in Texas. The National Guard does not have the restrictions that other components of the military do when operating in this area. The National Guard therefore has the potential to greatly impact drug efforts. However, the possibility that such involvement may infringe on U.S. civil liberties also exists. While the National Guard can legally become more directly involved in counter drug efforts, there is the question of whether or not it actually should. This study addresses these issues. Because of the National Guard s special status in these efforts, and because of the above-recognized potential to greatly reduce drug supply to the United States, it is worth determining what members of the National Guard think about their involvement. The study first determines what Texas National Guard members think about military involvement in counter drug efforts as a whole. The study then determines how effective Texas National Guard members believe they are in their approved missions. To achieve this, Texas National Guard members are asked to rate each of the eight National Guard approved missions on their ability to effectively achieve the five key supply side impact targets (or goals) set out by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In the end, the study determines that Texas National Guard members believe they should be involved, that this involvement should include directly aiding Border and Customs agents more frequently at the border, and that their involvement is within the bounds of U.S. civil liberties. Texas National Guard members also overwhelmingly believed that all eight National Guard approved missions are effective in achieving the five key goals. Two points of interests were readily noticeable from the results. The first was that the Aerial Reconnaissance mission was consistently rated the most effective. The second was that intelligence was rated the fourth most effective mission overall. These results point to the assertion made in the literature that the value of strategic intelligence has not been realized by the military. In the end, this study suggests more careful consideration of the potential benefits of strategic intelligence products beyond the immediate needs of law enforcement agencies. Increased emphasis on strategic intelligence would allow the National Guard to become more involved in an area where it can make the most impact on drug supply and prevent infringement on U.S. civil liberties at the same time. As the literature states, the key to improved results in National Guard supply reduction efforts is not putting more Guardsmen at the points of entry. Rather, it is the use of local/regional intelligence to predict trends in drug trafficking so that National Guard and law enforcement assets can be more effectively and efficiently used to reduce supply.