As US forces begin the process of downsizing its European forces, it is also shifting its focus to drug trafficking, and cracking down on terrorist organizations that traffic illicit drugs, NBC News reported today.
This shift comes at a time when the US, faced with the need to cut government spending across all departments, is looking to downsize its European forces, and shift the focus away from Cold War-era defense, to modern-day anti-terrorist defenses. This new service will be run out of the Joint Interagency Counter Trafficking Center, where the US will work with European armies and INTERPOL to break up drug trafficking. Since 2009, cocaine consumption in Europe has nearly tripled, and it is widely believed terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Taliban are profiting off this new addiction.
In 2009, the Taliban collected nearly $150 million in opium sales, according to military sources, which shows the extent, and diversity, of the drug market in Europe and around the world. The US will be basing their task force off of an existing one based in Key West, FL to counter Latin and South American drug traffickers. This shift will both allow the US to remain a major player in European defense, while also downsizing to save the Pentagon, and the taxpayers, money.