Information Papers

National Guard Counterdrug Program

What is it?
Since the U.S. Congress authorized the National Guard to perform interdiction and anti-drug activities in 1989, the National Guard has worked tirelessly with law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations in the fight against illicit drugs. More than 2,500 Soldiers and airmen in the 54 states and territories support more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to prevent illicit drugs from being imported, manufactured, and distributed.

Reaching more than 2.83 million people in FY07 through drug demand reduction efforts, the National Guard Counterdrug (NG CD) program has unparalleled relationships within communities and often leads local community-based organizations in their unified mission to prevent youth from drug use and abuse.

Through Combatant Commander support to both Northern Command and Southern Command, the mission for the NG CD program continues to expand as the nexus between drugs and terrorism has become evident. The unique training of National Guard troops and specialized equipment lends itself more and more to its increasingly relevant role in homeland defense and security. With ongoing strategic planning and implementation of initiatives that combat modern drug and terrorism-related threats, the NG CD program helps keep more than $34.9 Billion worth of illicit drugs off the street annually.

What has the National Guard done?
Recent NG CD program accomplishments include those listed below:

The NG CD program support led to the arrest of 79,875 criminals and seizures of the following:

What continued efforts does the National Guard have planned for the future?
After undergoing a massive transformation in 2005, the NG CD program has vigorously focused its efforts on drug demand reduction and ISE training initiatives. Expanding these structures requires strengthening the relationships between NG CD programs and its partners. Reenergizing its support with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and forming new partnerships with organizations such as the National Foundation of Women Legislators demonstrates its increased emphasis on community coalition involvement. ISE initiatives continue to move forward, ensuring the NG CD programs remain a critical force multiplier.

The school system set in place by the NG CD program in four locations across the United States was responsible for training more than 73,000 military, law enforcement, and community-based organization members annually. The new curriculum in many of the courses ensures the NG CD program is providing the best training at no cost to these individuals. Three of the courses now offer additional skill identifier (Army) and special experience identifier (Air Force) qualifications. For the foreseeable future, several of the RC-26B aircraft will continue to support Combatant Commanders overseas, and the remaining aircraft are undergoing software and equipment modifications to provide better support here at home.

Why is this important to the National Guard?
Because the National Guard is not restricted by posse comitatus, it serves a particularly unique role for the Department of Defense in the fight against illicit drugs. Counterdrug activities inherently benefit the nation’s antiterrorism and homeland defense efforts by attacking a primary source of terrorist funding and disrupting other criminal enterprises, such as smuggling persons, weapons, cash, and other contraband into the United States. Drug demand reduction programs support communities that are home to Guard members and their Families, and help to protect the pool of potential future Soldiers and airmen in those communities. Prevention programs specifically designed for Guard members and their Families, especially during this time of high operations tempo and long deployments, support retention efforts by protecting Families from the lure of substance abuse as a means to cope.

The ISE benefits the National Guard in two major ways. First, it strengthens and enhances relationships between and among the National Guard and Civilian agencies charged with law enforcement and homeland security issues, as well as counterdrug activities. More tangibly, it is a means to obtain developed information that protects the force and supports domestic operations. The standardization in equipment and training initiated in FY07 establishes regional response capabilities in the areas of ground reconnaissance, drug demand reduction, and criminal analysis that not only can support counterdrug operations, but also extends unique capabilities in support of crisis response operations when necessary.