- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to target, disrupt and dismantle global drug-trafficking organizations cannot be measured and, as a result, it remains unclear whether the agency is adequately achieving its drug enforcement goals and objectives, a report said yesterday.

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General said the DEA had failed to meet key aspects of the government’s new performance-reporting guidelines, which focus on results instead of procedure, and that the agency’s strategic objectives were “not quantitative, directly measurable or assessment-based.”

The report said that while the DEA established performance indicators, the agency had not created specific criteria for its field divisions to designate organizations as “priority targets,” a key element of its strategic goal, and had no specific criteria for reporting on priority targets that had been disrupted or dismantled.

It also said the DEA did not have an effective system to collect, analyze and report data for all of its performance indicators; lacked accurate performance data for one of the five field divisions included in the review; and had failed to create “reasonable realistic performance goals.”

In response to the investigation, the DEA said it is updating its strategic plan and that the new strategy will address the shortcomings listed in the report. According to the DEA, the new plan will include a general long-term goal and four strategic goals with quantitative, time-specific objectives.

DEA Administrator Karen Tandy noted in a memo to Mr. Fine that the audit contained seven recommendations for action by the agency and that DEA supervisors had addressed six of them prior to the release of the IG report.

“The DEA’s actions to revise its goal and objectives in the new strategic plan are positive steps toward improving the DEA’s ability to measure achievement of its critically important goals and objectives,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.

The DEA enforces federal laws that relate to controlled substances, including identifying and targeting organizations and people involved in growing, manufacturing or distributing illicit drugs. It also is responsible for taking action to reduce the availability of and demand for illicit narcotics on the domestic and international markets and for controlling the diversion of legitimately manufactured narcotics into the illicit drug traffic.

The White House Office of Management and Budget said earlier this year in a performance evaluation for the 2004 fiscal budget that DEA had been “unable to demonstrate progress in reducing the availability of illegal drugs in the United States.” The new budget called for the smallest increase for the agency since 1988.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide