A police ocer runs ater an attack on police patrol trucks that killed two ocers in theborder city o Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, July 15, 2010. The car bomb would mark an unprec-edented escalation o Mexico’s drug war and confrm long-standing ears that the cartelsare turning to explosives in their fght against security orces.(ASSOCIATED PRESS)
This study began when riends o mine in Tidewater and Northern Virginia casually remarked how they had adapted theirlives to the presence o criminal gangs.What was happening that gangs could inuence so much, rom sleepy Surry County, Virginia, to Northeast Washington?Walking the question back, rom police departments to drug enorcement agents and double-secure military intelligencecenters, led to this study. It has not been an easy intellectual journey or someone trained to see insurgencies through adierent lens. This study has at least two limitations. First, it connes itsel to events in the Western Hemisphere. Many people whoseopinions I respect have pointed out to me that drug trafcking organizations and gangs are a global challenge. Regionalcartels, however, are the near threat: they are largely grown in the hemisphere and they walk across the U.S. border andoperate in this country. So or better or worse, this is about criminal insurgency in the Western Hemisphere. Secondly, thisstudy is, as my mountaineer ancestors would have said, “a mile wide and an inch deep.” It covers a lot o ground. Each aceto the criminal economy, the subject o Venezuelan and Iranian penetration, Colombia’s struggles, each o the cartels andMexico’s valiant ght to be a ree nation – all deserve ar more treatment than I could give here.I am certain, though, o the major conclusion – that the United States is under attack, domestically and aeld, by a net-worked criminal insurgency that must be deeated. My certainty comes in part by the evidence and in part rom talking tooperators who have been in the eld and see the acts rsthand.
At the end o every study, an author is deeply in debt to those who have propped him up and saved him rom error. Firstplace must go to my wie, Pixie, who has suered through reading ater reading as holidays go by. People who know botho us agree that I married up, and I have thought so too, or over 40 years. Thanks again, Honey.Jennier Bernal-García, my research assistant, walked into this project ater graduation rom Stanord; by now she’s ahardened researcher and author in her own right. Were it not or Jennier, this paper would be hal the size and much lessinteresting.At CNAS, Kristin Lord, Liz Fontaine, Patrick Cronin, Brian Burton, Lieutenant General David Barno USA (Ret.), David Asherand Ross Brown, among others, provided invaluable input to shape the report. Many others helped us through this project,and their own expertise and proessionalism was a constant inspiration. Some are: Nelson Arriaga, Jimmy Bacon, NormanBailey, Alvaro Balcazar, Scott Brady, Michael Braun, Robert Bunker, Gary Chicko, Patricia Cortés, Tom Donnelly, WilliamDunn, Vicente Echandía, Antulio Echevarría, Lani Elliott, Janice Elmore, Douglas Farah, Vanda Felbab-Braun, Ben Fitzgerald,Brian Fonseca, Jim Fox, Glenn Harned, Rich Higgins, Adam Isacson, Chris Lawson, María Victoria Llorente, Andrew Lomax,David Maxwell, Tony Moreno, Moisés Naím, Henry Norris, Gen. Freddy Padilla, Andres Peñate, Celina Realuyo, Jose Soto,John Stolar, Kevin Stringer, Jim Tanner, and Jim Trusty. We would like to especially thank the Combating Terrorism TechnicalSupport Ofce’s Irregular Warare Support Program or their sponsorship o this report.Their help has been invaluable, but o course I alone am responsible or the acts and conclusions contained in this report.