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Building the Guatemalan Interagency Task Force Tecún Umán

Building the Guatemalan Interagency Task Force Tecún Umán: Lessons Identified

Gillian S. Oak
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 76
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  • Book Info
    Building the Guatemalan Interagency Task Force Tecún Umán
    Book Description:

    Guatemala receives counternarcotics aid from the United States. The president of Guatemala established the Interagency Task Force (IATF) Tecún Umán to develop domestic counternarcotics capability. USSOUTHCOM intends to use it as a model for developing new units in similar regions in the area. This report demonstrates how lessons learned inform future IATF development and provides recommendations for resolving remaining IATF challenges.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8929-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Guatemala is a major transit point for drugs going to the United States. Drugs arrive in Guatemala by sea from Colombia and Ecuador, and then travel by land through Mexico and into the United States. In 2012, it was estimated that more than 80 percent of the primary flow of cocaine trafficked to the United States was first transported through Central America.¹ The Guatemalan-Mexican border is 577 miles long, with only eight official crossing points and an estimated 1,200 blind crossings.² This porous border, together with pervasive corruption, has enhanced the ability of international and domestic drug trafficking organizations to...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Background: History and Status of the IATF
    (pp. 5-16)

    President Molina took office in January 2012 and immediately made combating drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) one of his top priorities. He created the 5th Vice Minister’s position as the head of the Vice Ministry of Counter Narcotics within the Ministry of Governance (Ministerio de Gobernación [MOG]),¹ and his administration brought together several agencies to develop a response to the drug trafficking, corruption, and ensuing violence that were plaguing Guatemala. These agencies included the MOG, the Ministry of Defense (MOD), the Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria (SAT, an organization roughly equivalent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection), the Attorney General’s Office (Ministerio...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Discussion of IATF Evolution
    (pp. 17-28)

    As of the writing of this report, IATF Tecún Umán has been operational for one year. Although the Guatemalans have begun to apply some key lessons to the establishment of IATF Chortí, challenges remain to be addressed. This chapter discusses observations gathered regarding the IATF evolution between December 2013 and June 2014, and subsequent chapters will present lessons and remaining challenges for IATF development.

    The most senior levels of the MOD and MOG have bought into and support subordinating the IATF completely to the MOG. However, some key leaders, particularly at the Estado Mayor (National Defense General Staff) level and...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Lessons and Main Findings
    (pp. 29-40)

    The IATF as it currently exists is still a nascent and evolving entity, but the Guatemalans have begun to apply key lessons to TF Chortí’s formation and the plan for additional task forces. Furthermore, these lessons, presented in this chapter, are applicable across a broader spectrum of interagency task forces.

    Creating a legal framework and documentation with support from all involved government agencies was important for gaining cooperation from all the entities involved in establishing IATF Tecún Umán. According to both Guatemalan and American interviewees, two factors were critical in the initial foundation of the IATF. The first was establishing...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Challenges and Recommendations
    (pp. 41-48)

    As discussed in the previous section, the Guatemalan government has improved interagency relationships through development and progress on IATFs Tecún Umán and Chortí. However, several remaining challenges need to be addressed to achieve operational effectiveness and political sustainability. This section discusses those challenges and presents recommendations, for both the Guatemalans and the United States. Although we recognize the importance of Guatemalan autonomy and independence in making progress in IATF development, the United States has provided significant assistance to set up the IATFs and has a vested interest in ensuring the units’ success, as well as accountability and ownership on the...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusion
    (pp. 49-50)

    The Guatemalans have made important strides since IATF Tecún Umán was conceptualized. Although there are challenges and outstanding issues between the MOG and MOD, the formation of the IATF has helped strengthen interagency cooperation. The Acuerdo is the first time the organizations have come together to sign a legally binding document. In conjunction with the Acuerdo, several other factors have given IATF Tecún Umán a better chance of success than its predecessors, including better vetting and training (with the assistance of the United States) and more political will from top leadership. To sustain this momentum, it is worth continued U.S....

  14. APPENDIX Translation of Acuerdo 277-2013
    (pp. 51-54)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 55-56)