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Intelligence After Next: Accelerating the Fight Against the U.S. Fentanyl Crisis Through a Comprehensive Approach

By Brianna Salameh , Emily Sutherland

2023 NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY

Goal 5: Expand IC Capabilities and Expertise on Transnational Challenges

The opioid epidemic poses a threat to U.S. national security. The IC can play a pivotal role in countering this threat by more fully integrating law enforcement throughout the intelligence process to supplement current whole-of-government capabilities.

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The United States has been pursuing a counternarcotics mission for decades, exemplifying the evolving complexities of the threat and presenting opportunities to learn from past efforts.  Nevertheless, the opioid epidemic continues to escalate, with Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical companies shipping fentanyl precursors to transnational criminal organizations to manufacture in Mexico, enabling the entry of fentanyl into the United States. This epidemic poses a public health, economic, and national security threat, accentuating the need for a comprehensive, fully integrated counternarcotic approach.

The USG is presented with opportunities to implement long-standing approaches by leveraging available data, integrating stovepiped efforts, and applying evidence-based public health reforms. These three methods are complementary, and integrating efforts should be a high priority for the USG. The PRC’s role in exacerbating the fentanyl crisis reinforces the need for the IC to bridge the necessary gaps for law enforcement. The IC can play a pivotal role in countering this threat by more fully integrating law enforcement throughout the intelligence process to supplement current whole-of-government capabilities.

Read more research and analysis for the Intelligence Community in our Intelligence After Next paper series.

About Intelligence After Next:

MITRE strives to stimulate thought, dialogue, and action for national security leaders developing the plans, policy, and programs to guide the nation. This series of original papers is focused on the issues, policies, capabilities, and concerns of the Intelligence Community’s workforce as it prepares for the future. Our intent is to share our unique insights and perspectives surrounding a significant national security concern, a persistent or emerging threat, or to detail the integrated solutions and enabling technologies needed to ensure the success of the Intelligence Community.

MITRE has published more than 20 Intelligence After Next papers since 2020. Read them here.

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