To Fight Terror, We Must Fight Illicit Trade – And Enlist the Private Sector

By John Negroponte

Originally posted on

John D. Negroponte, who served as the first director of national intelligence (2005-2007) and as deputy secretary of state (2007-2009) explains why public-private partnerships are needed to effectively fight illegal trade and black-market criminals.

“Thankfully, we have more resources at our disposal than ever before. Our military, intelligence community and law enforcement agencies will always remain key to our fight against adversaries who would do us harm. But the source of America’s innovation – the private sector – has a crucial role to play in our national security. In fact, public-private partnerships, which marry the specific expertise and know-how of the private sector with the law enforcement capabilities and resources of government, might be one of the best tools we have to undermine our adversaries’ bottom line.”

“While public-private partnerships will not end terrorism or transnational crime by themselves, they have proven their efficacy, present win-win solutions, and most of all, are sustainable in the long run. If the past two decades are any lesson, humility in our assessments of what we can and cannot achieve internationally is critical. We also learned that remediating root causes, rather than applying bandages, will save us precious resources and blood. Most of all, we know that we cannot do anything alone – our partners and allies are our most important assets. Respect for these lessons, coupled with American ingenuity right here on our soil, will provide the necessary tools to defeat our adversaries.”

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