The Pentagon has a multimillion-dollar fund to pay contractors who employ mercenaries in operations and counternarcotics programs in third countries, including Latin America. The largest of the “efforts”, as the Department of Defense called, occurs in Colombia.
|AP The Pentagon will save having to involve all its bureaucracy and military hierarchy in training programs, consulting and operations.|
The Department of Defense United States, the Pentagon is delegating its fight against drug trafficking through multimillion-dollar contracts with private companies that are responsible for providing advice, training and conducting operations to drug producing countries and with links to so-called “narco-terrorism” including Latin America.
The government and ignores the “dirty” work to bring the different aspects of the fight against drugs to be left-profit companies that employ mercenaries and whose tactics are free from political and public scrutiny, critics say. The Pentagon said to be part of its strategy to ensure national security and that is done legally and according to strict parameters. According to analysts, however, this has become the trend of the future, as the responsibility of public safety and happens to be a national duty of the State to be a private business. “administrative support”is not a covert activity. The press section of the Pentagon confirmed to the BBC in 1995, established the Office of Technology Programs against narco-terrorism (CNTPO, for its acronym in English) which is ultimately the Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats.According the release of the Pentagon, the CNTPO provide “administrative support programs in a wide range of counternarcotics activities of the Department of Defense.”This “administrative support” is basically the identification and contracting of large companies that specialize in security and armed elite recruitment entering third countries operate independently.”From the 11-S and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased the need to purchase these services,” he told BBC Lt. Col. James Gregory, Press Officer. According to the spokesman are multiple contracts, and indefinite delivery time, which is awarded every five years. The next round of commissions will be in August 2012. Until now, most contracts have been delivered to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Reytheon, ARINC and U.S. Training Center (a subsidiary of Blackwater), said the senior official. Scraps The practice took root a decade ago during the administration of George W. Bush, who used many contractors-mercenaries, some would say-in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Barack Obama has continued the same policy, and now, for example, the security of diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan depends largely on companies private security. One of the reasons why the Pentagon is trying to privatize various aspects of their activities has to do with the national budget has not been solved by partisan bickering between Congress and the executive. ”We talk constantly about the Pentagon is a target of budget cuts, “said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), a research center in Washington left-leaning. ”For the Congress, the cuts in the area of the fight against drugs will be mandatory if the president hopes to balance its tax proposal and the award of funds. “ According to Birns, the drug war is unpopular and has no political weight except in an election year like this, so the Defense Department want to delete this expenditure of their accounts. ”In a surreptitiously want to reduce anti-drug budget by transferring it to private agencies,” said the analyst. Contracts “non-specific” contracts for private companies are juicy, the CNTPO has a budget of U.S. $ 15,000 million, as confirmed by Lt. Col. James Gregory. However, the Pentagon will save having to involve all its bureaucracy and military hierarchy in training programs, consulting and operations. While, obviously the detail of each cost in very general contracts do not go through the bidding process. ”They are not like the contract to build a house of such and such dimensions,” said Bruce Bagley, head of International Studies University of Miami and an expert on the topic of global drug trade. ”They are called non-specific contracts,” he told the BBC. ”They have the right to conduct such operations, these teams enter the country and get paid much. And of course, as subcontractors, they recruit staff, and if any of its employees dies, they are responsible.”At delegate the activity in a private company, the government avoids engaging its armed forces and infrastructure. More significantly, stands by in case of any mishap. ”The high political cost,” says Bagley, is the main reason to privatize the war on drugs. ”Here we go into a vague area where no rules of engagement are clear and there is almost zero accountability to the public or the electorate, “said the academic. ”A few members of the Oversight Committees of the Senate and the House are aware, but they are required to keep secret, so all it flies under the radar. “ Sovereignty in Latin America, the work of contractors is focused on “key countries in production and transit of drugs,” says the Pentagon press office. The largest of the “efforts”, as he calls Department of Defense, it happens in Colombia, but also reports that there is assistance in other Andean countries, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. ”Plan Mérida earmarks U.S. $ 1,000 million to Mexico to assist in the fight against drugs,” said Larry Birns of COHA “Although the Mexicans are very strict in not allowing foreign armed personnel operating in its territory.” The Pentagon is not very specific about the extent of the involvement of contractors for reasons he explains, security. But he says that they act in conjunction with local authorities, “including in combat zones,” although “not participate in raids or arrests.”However, there are serious implications for countries where private companies would. Although it is possible certain political elites in these countries are aware of their activities, and even those have been invited, there is a potential violation of national sovereignty that could cause a nationalist backlash if the public came to realize the situation, said Professor Bruce Bagley. In addition, “we are recognizing, in effect, that the institutions in the security forces in these countries are so poor that we are replacing with mercenaries,” he said. Military officials say contractors are subject to the same laws in the U.S. . UU. and countries where they operate, but Bruce Bagley insists that there could be a backlash if unforeseen occurred involving violations of humanitarian law and linked to the U.S. with this activity. But he acknowledged that “this is the wave of the future.” ”We are facing some smaller units, more efficient, more capable they can do the dirty work for U.S. military forces are not allowed or encouraged to do, “he said.