DEA Celebrates 50 Years
Creation of the DEA (July 1, 1973)
Creation of the DEA (July 1, 1973) In 1973, President Richard Nixon declared “an all-out global war on the drug menace” and sent Reorganization Plan No. 2 to Congress. “Right now,” he pointed out, “the federal government is fighting the war on drug abuse under a distinct handicap, for its efforts are those of a loosely confederated alliance facing a resourceful, elusive, worldwide enemy. Certainly, the cold-blooded underworld networks that funnel narcotics from suppliers all over the world are no respecters of the bureaucratic dividing lines that now complicate our anti-drug efforts.”
In the spring and summer of 1973, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate heard months of testimony on President Nixon’s Reorganization Plan Number 2, which proposed the creation of a single federal agency to consolidate and coordinate the government’s drug control activities.
At that time, the BNDD, within the Department of Justice, was responsible for enforcing the federal drug laws. However, the U.S. Customs Service and several other Justice entities (ODALE and the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence) were also responsible for various aspects of federal drug law enforcement. Of great concern to the Administration and the Congress were the growing availability of drugs in most areas of the U.S., the lack of coordination and the perceived lack of cooperation between the U.S. Customs Service and the BNDD, and the need for better intelligence collection on drug trafficking organizations.
According to the final report from the Senate Committee on Government Operations issued on Oct. 16, 1973, the benefits anticipated from the creation of the DEA included:
1. Putting an end to the interagency rivalries that have undermined federal drug law enforcement, especially the rivalry between the BNDD and the U.S. Customs Service;
2. Giving the FBI its first significant role in drug enforcement by requiring that the DEA draw on the FBI’s expertise in combatting organized crime’s role in the trafficking of illicit drugs;
3. Providing a focal point for coordinating federal drug enforcement efforts with those of state and local authorities, as well as with foreign police forces;
4. Placing a single Administrator in charge of federal drug law enforcement in order to make the new DEA more accountable than its component parts had ever been, thereby safeguarding against corruption and enforcement abuses;
5. Consolidating drug enforcement operations in the DEA and establishing the Narcotics Division in Justice to maximize coordination between federal investigation and prosecution efforts and eliminate rivalries within each sphere; and
6. Establishing the DEA as a superagency to provide the momentum needed to coordinate all federal efforts related to drug enforcement outside the Justice Department, especially the gathering of intelligence on international narcotics smuggling.
50 Years Of DEA: Partnerships and Collaborations
Hosted by the DEA Museum and the first of a series of programs to celebrate DEA’s 50th anniversary, 50 Years of DEA: Partnerships and Collaborations is a panel discussion exploring the important role partnerships and collaborations have played throughout DEA’s history. View the program now below.
DEA. 28 June, 2023. DEA Celebrates 50 Years. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/dea-celebrates-50-years on 30 November, 2023
DEA. "DEA Celebrates 50 Years."Drug Enforcement Agency, 28 June, 2023, https://www.dea.gov/dea-celebrates-50-years Accessed 30 November, 2023.
DEA. . Drug Enforcement Agency on DEA website. https://www.dea.gov/dea-celebrates-50-years. 28 June, 2023. Accessed 30 November, 2023.