The Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC)
Center Research Agenda
- Mission Statement
- Technology Programs
- Mission Statement
- Technology Research and Development (R&D;) Program
- Technology Transfer Program (TTP)
The Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC) oversees and coordinates counterdrug technology initiatives with related federal, civilian, and military departments. Counterdrug research and development projects are sponsored by CTAC to develop advanced capabilities for supply and demand reduction of illicit drug availability and abuse. In conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), CTAC examines addiction and rehabilitation research and technology is applied to expand the effectiveness and availability of drug treatment. CTAC also sponsors the Technology Transfer Program to transfer federally developed, counterdrug technologies directly to state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation. CTAC produces a Counterdrug Research and Development Blueprint Update that is released with the ONDCP Annual Report (Strategy) in February of each year. The Blueprint Update provides details on the accomplishments and plans for CTAC and the National Counterdrug R&D; Program.
CTAC serves as the central counterdrug technology research and development (R&D;) organization of the U.S. Government. It identifies and defines the short, medium and long-term scientific and technological needs of federal, state, and local drug control agencies.
CTAC sponsors a counterdrug technology program to develop and deploy advanced technologies to improve our national capabilities to reduce the supply of and the demand for illicit drugs. The program includes (1) a technology research and development (R&D;) program to improve capabilities for interdicting drugs, apprehending and prosecuting drug traffickers, and identifying improvements to drug abuse treatment; and (2) a Technology Transfer Program (TTP) to deploy technology to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) for counterdrug missions.
Technology Research and Development (R&D;) Program
Since 1990, CTAC has been overseeing and coordinating the counterdrug R&D; programs of the federal drug control agencies. CTAC leads the Interagency Working Group for Technology (IAWG-T) composed of technology representatives from the national drug control agencies. The IAWG-T meets periodically to exchange information regarding agency programs and common technical problems. Each year, the IAWG-T provides an updated listing of priority scientific and technological needs by technology area and agency, a listing of drug-related R&D; projects being sponsored by each agency, and an Annual Report on the Development and Deployment of Narcotics Detection Technologies. The annual report is provided in Appendix D (PDF) to the Counterdrug Research and Development Blueprint Update.
CTAC sponsors outreach activities including technology workshops, technical symposia, and conferences. These activities promote the exchange of information and provide another mechanism to oversee and coordinate counterdrug technology initiatives throughout the scientific and academic communities and with federal, state, and local drug control agencies.
CTAC demand reduction initiatives will complement those of NIDA by improving the investigative tools and instruments available for substance abuse, dependence, and addiction research. ONDCP/CTAC's Demand Reduction Technology Symposium in July 2002 helped substance abuse researchers document the capabilities and limitations imposed by current technology. Subsequently, CTAC, in coordination with NIDA, is establishing a team of working groups to define a development program to advance the tools needed for improving substance abuse research. Each working group will focus on a particular aspect of technology identified as limiting research progress. An oversight committee composed of group leaders and other government officials will direct the working groups. Initial focus will be on infrastructure development plans, access strategies to novel ligands, and data-sharing approaches.
CTAC plans to continue expanding the national infrastructure through the installation of advanced neuroimaging facilities across the country. Research using these facilities will focus on collaborative efforts between existing ONDCP/CTAC centers, studying patterns of different drugs of abuse across several at-risk populations. CTAC plans to develop an information exchange backbone to link research teams together in functional units. The data-sharing network will provide larger sample sizes, making findings more significant across the entire population. Deriving a common set of projects and creating an expanded subject base will allow for specific protocols to be implemented over many at-risk populations, increasing the pace of scientific advancements in the drug abuse research community.
CTAC works with the national drug control agencies in the development and evaluation of technology to reduce the supply of drugs entering US markets by interdicting drug shipments and disrupting drug trafficking organizations. Projects concentrate on those high priority scientific and technological needs of the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including those technologies which improve capabilities for inspecting cargo and containers for drugs, strengthen law enforcement capabilities to combat drug-related crime and violence, or technologies that can be included in the Technology Transfer Program. Other highlighted applications include tools for the inspection of cargo containers and conveyances for concealed drugs, covert tracking and surveillance, and improved communications and data sharing among federal, state and local agencies.
Technology Transfer Program (TTP)
The Technology Transfer Program (TTP) transitions successful counterdrug technologies developed under the federal R&D; program to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs). From FY 1998 to FY 2002 the TTP delivered 4,811 pieces of equipment to 3,898 state and local LEAs. The TTP relies on regional law enforcement experts (active duty law enforcement officers) to review LEA applications submitted from within their respective region, to determine which requested technologies are best suited for a particular agency, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the transfer after it has been completed. A progress report and nation-wide deployment strategy for the Technology Transfer Program is included in Appendix E (PDF) in the annual Research and Development Blueprint Update.