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Combating International Organized Crime: A Proposal for Expanding our National Military Strategy and Amending Title 10 of the United States Code

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Strategy research rept.

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In the post-Cold War era, international or transnational organized crime presents the single most serious threat to American National Security. Notwithstanding this threat, unclassified national strategy documents are virtually silent as to the role of the United States military in protecting against this threat. Given the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act, codified at 10 United States Code section 1385, this is not surprising. This paper describes the nature of the post-cold war organized crime threat focusing on its military and paramilitary aspects. It notes that international criminal organizations resemble irregular forces. The paper examines national strategy documents relating to the fight against organized crime and advocates expanding the National Military Strategy and the International Crime Control Strategy to define more exactly the role of the Armed Forces. Next, the paper examines the Posse Comitatus Act and the many limitations and exceptions to the Act as well as legal framework related to that threat. The paper highlights how U.S. law has steadily expanded the direct and indirect role of the armed forces in combating crime, especially drug trafficking. After an ends-ways-means analysis this paper more specifically advocates 1 Expanding the National Military Strategy to engage more directly the Department of Defense in the combating of international organized crime. 2 Assigning the United States Special Operations Command with a primary task of supporting the national effort to combat international organized crime. 3 Further amending Title 10 of the United States Code to authorize the direct, prescriptive participation of military forces in the combating of international organized crime, or in the alternative, repealing the Posse Comitatus Act. The paper closes by observing that it is only a matter of time before the Armed Forces role in combating international organized crime is expended even further.

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  • Sociology and Law

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