Hollis: Drug-Free Troops Key to All Military Success
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2002 It's paramount to mission success that service members remain drug-free - especially as America continues the war against global terrorism, DoD's senior anti-drug official said here.
Andr D. Hollis, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics, said drug use continues to decline across the military, but that's not good enough. "Any drug use is incompatible with military service," he emphasized, especially since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Each and every member of our community must do their job in helping to prosecute the anti-terror war," Hollis noted. "When you use drugs, you put everyone else that you work with in danger. It's even more important, during this war, that everyone remain drug-free."
He said the U.S. military will not rest on its anti-drug laurels and referred to the Defense Department's annual Red Ribbon Week activities Oct. 21-23 at the Pentagon. The observance will feature award ceremonies, and celebrity appearances by Miss USA Shauntay Hinton, U.S. Navy- sponsored auto racer Jon Wood, the country group Ricochet, and others.
Since 1990, Hollis pointed out, DoD has annually recognized units or installations within each service, the National Guard and defense agencies that have outstanding anti-drug programs and activities. This year's Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award honorees are:
- III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas -- Army Substance Abuse Program.
- Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Drug Demand Reduction Campaign.
- Patrol Squadron 30, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.
- Drug Demand Reduction Program, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
- "Knight Vision," Florida National Guard Drug Demand Reduction Program.
- Columbus Employee Assistance Program, Defense Logistics Agency's Defense Supply Center, Columbus, Ohio.
Since 2001, DoD has presented the Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs to military- affiliated youth organizations. This year's winner is the "Dover Youth to Youth" program in Dover, N.H.
All the winners will receive their awards Oct. 21 at the Pentagon. Such successful drug awareness programs make a difference, Hollis noted.
"Service members are role models for the nation's youth. Anti-drug venues like Red Ribbon Week make a difference for service members and American youth alike," he noted. "Each child who hears our message and sees our role models and decides, 'I'm not going to use drugs,' well, that's important. That's an American life that we potentially saved.
"That's something we all swore to uphold when we joined the service: to protect Americans from enemies, foreign and domestic," he added.
Drug use is not tolerated at anytime or anywhere within the military, whether a service member flies a jet, drives a tank or wields "a rifle or a pen," Hollis emphasized.
He made special reference to the "club drug" ecstasy, noting it can injure and kill users. Anyone in uniform using ecstasy -- or any other illegal drug -- will be caught, he said.
"Using drugs is not worth the risk of a dishonorable discharge," he said.
Hollis said DoD since 1988 has supported national anti-drug efforts by providing command, control, communications and intelligence support to U.S. law enforcement agencies. Additionally, he said DoD is the lead government agency for the detection and monitoring of drug flow into the United States.
For example, Hollis noted, many National Guard members play vital roles in community anti-drug education efforts and also provide aerial and ground reconnaissance assets to law enforcement officials.
Hollis said he relishes sharing his anti-drug message with service members stationed worldwide. It's important for service members to realize that buying and using drugs most likely may aid America's enemies, he said.
"There is a group of terrorists that generates revenue through drug trafficking," Hollis said. "We believe that group will increase its trafficking, especially as law enforcement officials identify and freeze its bank accounts and other assets."
Additionally, he noted, "there's lots of drug activity in the Middle East, in Central Asia and Southwest Asia that may support folks who have evil intentions toward the United States."
Red Ribbon Week began as a local tribute to Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena, who was kidnapped and killed by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1985. The National Family Partnership adopted the Red Ribbon campaign in 1988, expanding it nationwide to advocate youth drug abstinence.
DoD joined national Red Ribbon Week observances in 1990 and established its Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Awards.