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    Counter-Terrorism and Northern Border Drug Strategy Tied to Perimeter Security Deal

    In a move that went largely unnoticed, the U.S. government unveiled a new counter-narcotics strategy for the northern border which will work towards closer cooperation with Canada in the war on drugs. This includes both countries strengthening integrated cross-border intelligence sharing and law enforcement operations. Canada has also released a comprehensive counter-terrorism plan aimed at combating the threats of domestic and international violent extremism. The separate U.S.-Canada undertakings are both tied to the Beyond the Border deal and efforts to establish a North American security perimeter.

    In January, the Obama administration announced the National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy. A press release by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) described how the plan seeks, to reduce the two-way flow of illicit drugs between the United States and Canada by increasing coordination among Federal, state, local, and tribal enforcement authorities, enhancing intelligence sharing between counterdrug agencies, and strengthening ongoing counterdrug partnerships and initiatives with the Government of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Senator Charles Schumer proclaimed, I pushed so hard for this strategy to be finalized because we have to immediately stop the flow of drugs from Canada into New York, and its going to take an inter-agency and international effort. He added, Im pleased that this agreement lays the groundwork for Canadian and American law enforcement to work hand-in-glove to fight the drug trade. Schumer has also endorsed the new cross-border action plan. In addition, he is pushing to establish a Northern Border Intelligence Center in Franklin County, NY to better coordinate efforts to fight drug smuggling and other cross-border criminal activities.

    While commenting on the new plan to disrupt the flow of drugs over the U.S.-Canada border, ONDCP Deputy Director of State, Local and Tribal Affairs, Ben Tucker explained that, By strengthening integrated cross-border law enforcement between our two countries, the Strategy supports a key area of cooperation outlined by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper in the Beyond the Border declaration. In December of last year, the leaders issued the follow up Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan. The deal focuses on addressing security threats early, facilitating trade, economic growth and jobs, integrating cross-border law enforcement, as well as improving infrastructure and cyber-security. As part of the agreement, both countries will, create integrated teams in areas such as intelligence and criminal investigations, and an intelligence-led uniformed presence between ports of entry. The U.S. and Canada continue to expand the nature and scope of joint law enforcement operations, along with intelligence collection and sharing.

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