Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa





Grassley Calls Anti-Drug Center Performance "Unacceptable"

Feb 25, 1998

Grassley Calls Anti-Drug Center Performance "Unacceptable"

New Study Documents Numerous Shortcomings at the Center

Scott Stanzel


Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today released a General Accounting Office (GAO) study of the Counter-Drug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC), part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which details the Center's failure to deliver on its mission of expediting the research and development of technology useful in securing the U.S. borders from drug trafficking.

Grassley said the purpose of the Center was to prevent duplication of efforts and assist our front-line agencies, like U.S. Customs, in the fight to keep illegal drugs out of the country. "Unfortunately, the Center has not lived up to its promise," said Grassley. "The GAO study documents numerous deficiencies and failures at CTAC. This agency has received almost $90 million in the last five years and has not delivered on its stated objectives. I will be pursuing efforts to either make this agency more productive, or eliminate it completely."

The study's findings include the following:

  • CTAC's charter created a Science and Technology Committee to review and prioritize technology needs and to help evaluate the most effective projects. CTAC, however, has failed to use the board or involve it in the coordination process.
  • CTAC, in conjunction with the Science and Technology Committee, is to regularly reassess, update, and prioritize counter-drug technology needs. However, CTAC did not regularly evaluate and prioritize the agencies' counter-drug technology needs to ensure that it funded high priority projects.
  • CTAC's mission includes identifying, defining, and helping to meet the counter-drug technology needs of state and local agencies. However, CTAC did not systematically identify and consider these needs.

Based on these findings, neither GAO or CTAC could determine the extent to which its coordination process was meeting its mission. The GAO study also noted that CTAC also lacked meaningful performance measures to determine success, assess its efforts, and identify and implement any needed improvements.

"This is not acceptable," Grassley said. "While this is not one of the biggest counter-drug programs, it is important to our overall success. We must have better performance. I will continue my aggressive oversight and fight for better management of our war on drugs."

Grassley asked for the GAO review as part of a series of oversight initiatives to examine U.S. counter-drug programs. The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress and is charged with examining all matters relative to the receipt and disbursement of public funds. Grassley is Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.