(November 22, 2011) An obscure Pentagon office designed to curb the flow of illegal drugs has quietly evolved into a one-stop shop for private security contractors around the world, soliciting deals worth over $3 billion.
The sprawling contract, ostensibly designed to stop drug-funded terrorism, seeks security firms for missions like "train[ing] Azerbaijan Naval Commandos."
Other tasks include providing Black Hawk and Kiowa helicopter training "for crew members of the Mexican Secretariat of Public Security."
Still others involve building "anti-terrorism/force protection enhancements" for the Pakistani border force in the tribal areas abutting Afghanistan.
The Defense Department's Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office has packed all these tasks and more inside a mega-contract for security firms. The office, known as CNTPO, is all but unknown, even to professional Pentagon watchers.
It interprets its counternarcotics mandate very, very broadly, leaning heavily on its implied counterterrorism portfolio.