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Military Analysts Undertake Detailed Examination of Military Anti-Drug Operations Domestically and Worldwide


April 1993

The December 1992 issue of Military Review, "the professional journal of the United States Army," features several articles on the military role in the war on drugs.

"Illusive Victory: From Blast Furnace to Green Sweep," by Col. William W. Mendel, US Army, Ret., (Military Review, Dec. 1992, pp. 74-87), is a comparison of the U.S. military operation in northern California in 1990 (Operation Green Sweep) and the operations in Bolivia from 1986 to date (Operation Blast Furnace, Operation Snowcap, and Operation Ghost Zone). It provides excellent overviews of these operations from a U.S. military perspective.

The author reported that there were violent demonstrations by Humboldt County locals against the Green Sweep invasion. Mendel reports that the marijuana growers profits were set back three years, citing a TV tape prepared by the California National Guard, Office of Public Affairs. "Experience gained and the after-action evaluation of Green Sweep were helpful to other operations, especially Ghost Dancer in Western Oregon, a BLM operation following on the heels of Green Sweep. Obvious lessons were the need for a good public affairs program to support operational objectives, thorough intelligence preparation of the operating area, consensus building among law enforcement officials down to the local level and a resolution of the logistical burden created when forest sanitation is an objective. Most important was the need for a long-term commitment to pursue the operation so as to have an impact on the drug trafficking organization. It is remarkable how these lessons are interchangeable with our counterdrug campaigns in overseas regions."

In "Narcotics Trafficking in Central Asia: A New Colombia," Graham H. Turbiville, Jr., writes of the growth of cannabis and opium cultivation in the five central asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. (Military Review, Dec. 1992, pp. 55-63). Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union these areas were sites of expanding drug crop cultivation. The enforcement efforts of the former Soviets, and successor governments are described. There is also extensive poppy and cannabis cultivation in Russia as well. In 1991, the KGB (Committee on State Security) and the formerly centralized Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) were broken up in the independence of the new republics. In 1992 Kyrgyzstan declared cultivation of opium poppies legal, and then reversed itself in the face of world pressure.

"OPLAN NARCO" (Maj. Arnaldo Claudio, US Army, and Stephan K. Stewman, Military Review, Dec. 1992, pp. 64-72) describes how drug production and trafficking in the Western Hemisphere works using the conceit of an operation plan designed for a cocaine cartel operation. Claudio and Stewman using military language and analysis throughout conclude that "the narcotrafficker dictates the tempo by selecting the time and location of the fight. If the United States continues to wage this war on drugs, a way must be found to seize the initiative."