Drug ControlDEA's Strategies and Operations in the 1990s Gao ID: GGD-99-108 July 21, 1999
High demand for illegal drugs in the United States has persisted throughout the 1990s, as has the flow of illegal drugs into this country. The cost of illegal drug use in this country has been pegged at about $110 billion annually, including lost jobs and productivity, health problems, and economic hardships to families. Also, many violent crimes are drug related. Funding for federal drug control efforts has risen by nearly 50 percent during the 1990s, reaching about $18 billion in fiscal year 1999. Funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) nearly doubled, from $806 million in 1990 to about $1.5 billion in 1999. DEA staff grew from 6,000 in 1990 to 8,400 in 1998. During the 1990s, DEA strengthened many of its operations. The agency began to work more closely with state and local law enforcement and help combat drug-related violent crime in local communities. DEA intercepted the communications of drug trafficking groups at home and abroad in order to target their leaders and dismantle their operations. DEA began to participate in two interagency programs to investigate major drug trafficking groups in Latin America and Asia. DEA also changed its foreign operations by screening and training special foreign policy units to combat drug trafficking in key foreign countries. DEA has major responsibilities under the Office of National Drug Control Policy's national drug control strategy for reducing the drug supply. However, DEA has yet to develop measurable performance targets for its programs and initiatives that are consistent with those adopted for the national strategy. Consequently, it is difficult to assess how successful DEA's programs have been in reducing the supply of illegal drugs into the United States. GAO summarized this report in testimony before Congress; see: Drug Control: DEA's Strategies and Operations in the 1990s, by Norman J. Rabkin, Director of Administration of Justice Issues, before the Subcommittee on Crime, House Committee on the Judiciary. GAO/T-GGD-99-149, July 29 (13 pages).
GAO noted that: (1) during the 1990s, DEA has enhanced or changed important aspects of its operations; (2) DEA expanded its domestic enforcement operations to work more with state and local law enforcement agencies and help combat drug-related violent crime in local communities; (3) DEA implemented an investigative approach domestically and internationally, focusing on intercepting the communications of major drug trafficking organizations to target the leaders and dismantle their operations; (4) DEA started participating in two interagency programs to target and investigate major drug trafficking organizations in Latin America and Asia; (5) DEA changed its foreign operations by screening and training special foreign police units to combat drug trafficking in certain key foreign countries; (6) DEA has significant responsibilities for the drug supply reduction portion of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) National Drug Control Strategy; (7) DEA's strategic goals and objectives, and its enhanced programs and initiatives, in the 1990s have been consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy; (8) however, DEA has not developed measurable performance targets for its programs and initiatives that are consistent with those adopted for the National Strategy; and (9) as a result, it is difficult for DEA, the Department of Justice (DOJ), Congress, and the public to assess how effective DEA has been in achieving its strategic goals and the effect its programs and initiatives in the 1990s have had on reducing the illegal drug supply.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: