The counternarcotics mission is interagency, inter-departmental, and international in scope. Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the counternarcotics effort crosses component lines, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement playing major roles, and other components actively participating as well. Each Department Component approaches its counternarcotics efforts as a subset of its broader mission.
The multi-component character of the Department of Homeland Security counternarcotics effort creates valuable operational synergies. In order to optimize our operational capabilities, however, our Department’s leadership at all levels must understand and apply a set of unifying principles and priorities. The Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Doctrine provides a means for achieving this end, by coordinating counternarcotics operations and enabling unity of effort.
Doctrine is a concise statement of the fundamental principles that guide an organization and shape its efforts, and provides a common reference point for planners and leaders. It is the result of theory, history, experimentation, and practice. Although doctrine provides a common frame of reference, it is a guide, not a set of hard and fast rules.
The Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Doctrine is a distillation of the insights and wisdom we have gained from our collective experience over many years in the counternarcotics effort, and as such, it can serve to positively influence and guide the ways in which we develop our policy and plans, structure and employ our forces, and procure our resources. Our doctrine is authoritative, but requires judgment in application. Department components and operating units will therefore apply this doctrine differently, within the constraints of established national and departmental goals.