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September 17, 2007 - Washington Post (DC)

5 Firms To Join Anti-Drug Campaign

By Michael Hardy, Special to the Washington Post

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

The Defense Department has picked five companies, four of them from the Washington area, for a contract to support the Pentagon's counter-narcoterrorism activities.

The government may spend as much as $15 billion through the five-year contract.

The local companies are Arinc of Annapolis, Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Raytheon Technical Services of Reston and Northrop Grumman Information Technology of McLean. The fifth company is Blackwater USA of Moyock, N.C.

The companies will provide equipment, material and services to the Defense Department's Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office ( CNTPO ).

The office's mission is to attack the narcotics trade and the flow of money and support from drug traffickers to terrorist groups.

Drug trafficking provides money for terror organizations in various ways.

According to a 2002 report that the Library of Congress's Federal Research Division prepared for the Defense Department, the drug trade funds guerrilla groups in Latin America and Islamic fundamentalist organizations -- including Al Qaeda -- around the world.

The funding comes directly, from proceeds of drug sales, and indirectly, through use of drugs to bartering for weapons or other supplies.

The contract is broad in scope and could involve several divisions of the winning companies, said Kerry Beresford, senior director of advance aviation applications at Arinc.

That unit, based in Oklahoma City, is likely to handle many task orders that come through the contract, but other Arinc divisions specializing in intelligence gathering and other disciplines would be better suited for other demands, he said.

Although the companies on the contract have diverse capabilities, Beresford said he didn't expect them to carve out niches.

"All of the [prime contractors] that are given the award are fully capable of satisfying any requirement," he said. "I expect there to be a lot of competition" for each task order.

The Army Space and Missile Command awarded the contract on behalf of the counter-narcoterrorism office, which is based at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va.

The work that could come through the contract includes specialized aircraft, advanced communications technologies, security training and other equipment and support services. About 80 percent of the work will be outside of the United States.

Raytheon Technical Services specializes in mission support, counterterrorism and counter-proliferation activities, said Tom Arnsmeyer, vice president of the Homeland Security Solutions product line of the Raytheon subsidiary's integrated support systems businesses.

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