Friday, June 10, 2011

The Cost of America's War on Drugs

The U.S. government has expanded the use of contractors in the fight to eradicate illegal drug importation. The government has paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate fields of coca, operate surveillance equipment and otherwise battle the widening drug trade in Latin America over the last five years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The majority of U.S. counter-narcotics contracts are awarded to five companies: DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT and ARINC, according to the report for the contracting oversight subcommittee, part of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Counter-narcotics contract spending increased 32% over the five-year period, from $482 million in 2005 to $635 million in 2009. DynCorp, based in Falls Church, Va., received the largest total, $1.1 billion, reported the Times.

The Department of Defense has spent $6.1 billion since 2005 to help detect planes and boats heading to the U.S. with drug payloads, as well as on surveillance and other intelligence operations.

Can, or should, the government continue these enormous expenditures in an effort that continues to come up short time and time again? Policymakers should begin to look at alternatives to the "war" on drugs.

To read more:,0,1742011.story

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