Military News

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Seminar Tackles Drug-trafficking Issues

By Jason Tudor
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2010 - Countering narcotics trafficking took center stage during an eight-day seminar at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here, as military and civilian security executives met to discuss the challenge. The seminar attracted 91 participants from 61 countries and focused on the complex security challenges posed by contemporary international narcotics trafficking, and its links with terrorist networks and organized-crime elements. The seminar participants examined how narcotics profits are used to fund terrorist activities, to corrupt officials, and to challenge and erode the authority of states.

"In today's globalized environment, counter-narcotics programs create intricate interdependencies within the international community which must be managed on numerous levels," said Jay Le Beau, seminar director. "As a result, there will also be discussion on various regional approaches that have been implemented to combat this problem."

Among the 91 participants were 21 Africans from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Swaziland, the Togolese Republic, and Uganda.

The seminar included almost a dozen speakers from a cross section of military and civilian disciplines, including Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command. Also, Ambassador J. Anthony Holmes, Africom's deputy to the commander for civil-military activities, served as the graduation keynote speaker.

Holmes, whose background includes more than 15 years of experience in Africa and policy issues on Africa as a State Department employee, emphasized partnership and working together to address drug-trafficking issues.

"The problem itself is regional. It is inherently multilateral," he said. "There's no such thing as a transit country. There's no such thing as a producing country. Virtually all countries are producing, transit and consuming countries."

(Jason Tudor works in the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies public affairs office.)

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