The Best Known, Least Understood Inter-Agency Success... Joint Interagency Task Force-South
Jul 20, 2011
Center for Strategic Research
Strategic Perspectives #5.
"Joint Interagency Task Force-South: The Best Known, Least Understood, Interagency Success."
by Evan Munsing and Christopher J. Lamb
A new study from the Center for Strategic Research finally reveals how the highly-regarded but widely misunderstood Joint Interagency Task Force–South (JIATF–South) accomplishes its mission to disrupt illicit trafficking. JIATF-South is widely applauded within the national security establishment for its amazing productivity. For example, it has accounted for more than 80 percent of all cocaine disruption by local, state and federal government entities in recent years, and it has done so using a wide array of interagency and international partners. With such a record it is not surprising that the organization is often cited as an interagency model to be emulated.
What is surprising, however—indeed stunning—is how poorly understood JIATF-South is. Despite all the plaudits, the organization has only received superficial analysis—until now. “Joint Interagency Task Force–South: The Best Known, Least Understood Interagency Success,” by Evan Munsing and Chris Lamb, subjects the interagency organization to in-depth analysis and fills the gap in knowledge about this important organization. In the process the authors reveal:
JIATF-South’s unique history of trial and error before a winning organizational combination came together;
How, despite budget cuts and being assigned an expanding area of operations without commensurate resources, JIATF-South rose to new heights of performance;
- How JIATF-South now keeps pace with ruthless, elusive, well-funded and adaptable drug traffickers, driving up their costs, cutting their profits, raising their risk of prosecution and incarceration, and forcing them to divert their trade to less costly destinations;
- Why JIATF-South succeeds whereas other JIATF’s created at the same time do not;
- Why a unique mission, environment, or other circumstances do not explain JIATF-South’s strong performance.
- Why there is reason to believe the JIATF-South success can be replicated, and more quickly than often supposed;
- Why the JIATF–South model cannot be applied uncritically, and why attempts by Special Operations Forces to emulate JIATF-South faired well while other such efforts have gone awry;
- And, finally, the most important “do’s and don’ts” learned from the JIATF–South experience.
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