The problems imposed by ITOC are indeed legitimate national and international security treats.
Within the context of Western Hemispheric security, there are four issues relating to international terrorism and organized crime: (1) the threat of ITOC and its implications for society and government; (2) the applicability of this threat outside the Hemi-sphere; (3) whether the OAS can effectively confront this transnational phenomenon; and, (4) the role of the Inter-American Defense Board and the military in helping generate national and international capabilities to deal effectively with ITOC.
At least eight facts make ITOC progressively more mobile, flexible, powerful, and universally threatening:
* The apparently declining ability of fragile governments to manage and protect a modern nation-state allows correspondingly greater opportunity for ITOC growth.
* The general availability of conventional and more sophisticated weaponry and the attendant intimidation and corruption allow ITOC to survive the efforts of national law enforcement organizations and encourage expansion.
* The efficient and tightly controlled ITOC organizations use the structural features best designed to generate unity of effort, aid growth, and promote expansion of influence and power.
The effective management of an adequate effort to confront ITOC requires internal and external cooperation.
A comprehensive OAS action plan must also address the ITOC phenomenon with three different functional strategic-level programs.
Additionally, there are eight highly interrelated factors that experience indicates are key to success against ITOC. These factors operate at a lower level of abstraction than those outlined above but would be an integral part of an OAS action plan.
* greater emphasis on intelligence organizations for direct use against ITOC and for indirect use against problems like hunger, disaster, and environmental degradation that can make desperate populations into pawns of ITOC.
Because the Inter-American Defense Board is an organization within the OAS structure, it is logical that it could help deal with the ITOC problem.
The first reality concerns the coercive potential of ITOC. The second relates to the fact that a holistic and integrated national and international civil-military effort is required to deal effectively with ITOC.