description / Law
1033 of the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, P.L. 105-85) was often
referred to as the "Riverine Program" because it was designed to support
counterdrug programs focused on the interdiction of drugs trafficked by river.
first put into law, Sec. 1033 allowed the Department of Defense to use its own
budget to provide specific types of counter-drug assistance to Colombia and Peru
betwen fiscal years 1998 - 2002. The legislation directed that not more than $9
million be spent in 1998, and that not more than $20 million be spent each subsequent
year. The 2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398) extended the
end date of this provision to 2006, for Colombia only.
"Plan Colombia" aid package (Section 3101 of P.L. 106-246) allowed the
maximum expenditure to be exceeded for Colombia in 2000 and 2001.
2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136) significantly expanded
the scope of "Section 1033" aid:
word "riverine" was removed to make it a more general-purpose counter-drug
list of countries eligible was expanded to include Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador,
and Peru, as well as five Central Asian states (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, and Pakistan).
authority for all countries was extended until 2006.
maximum expenditure was increased to $40 million per year beginning in 2004.
with all aid to Colombia, Section 1033 assistance to Colombia's armed forces may
be used for both counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism missions.)
2007 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 109-364) further expanded the scope
of "Section 1033" aid.
list of countries eligible was expanded to include Belize, Bolivia, Colombia,
Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Peru, as well as nine Central Asian states (Afghanistan,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,
authority for all countries was extended until 2008.
maximum expenditure was increased to $60 million per year beginning in 2007.
1033 authorizes the following types of support:
protective and utility personnel equipment;
specialized equipment such as night vision systems, navigation, communications,
photo, and radar equipment;
components, accessories, attachments, parts, firmware, and software for aircraft
or patrol boats, and related repair equipment;
interception, monitoring and testing equipment;
Afghanistan only, "individual and crew-served weapons of 50 caliber or less
and ammunition for such weapons for counter-narcotics security forces"; and
and repair of equipment that is used for counter-drug activities.
conference committee report accompanying the 1999 National Defense Authorization
Act clarified that "the intent of Congress was to provide nonlethal assistance,
including unarmed riverine patrol boats…the conferees note that other programs
exist in which the Government of Peru can acquire the weaponry necessary to arm
these vessels." 
the first three years of its existence, some congressional oversight personnel
questioned the Riverine Program's effectiveness. The Armed Services Committees
of Congress required an unusual amount of reporting for a Defense Department program.
reports have not been available to the public. The FY 2004 National Defense Authorization
Act requires no special reporting on the Riverine Program. It has proven difficult
to get information about Section 1033 expenditures per country.
Of all Department
of Defense-funded counternarcotics activities, this is the newest program given
a specific line item in the defense budget. Section 1033 contains much stronger
reporting requirements than other Defense Department counternarcotics programs,
including an annual Counter-Drug Plan to be prepared by the Secretary of Defense
in consultation with the Secretary of State. (This plan, to date, has not
been available to the public.)
year, Congress will not release funds for "Section 1033" assistance
until 15 days after the Secretary of Defense submits to the Senate Armed Services
Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House National Security
Committee, and the House International Relations Committee a written certification
the assistance would not affect the preparedness of the U.S. armed forces;
equipment would be used only by government officials and employees who undergo
background investigations by the recipient governments and who are approved for
the performance of counter-drug activities; and
recipient governments have certified that none of the equipment will be transferred
to any other person or entity not authorized by the United States and that the
equipment will be used only for the purposes intended by the U.S government.
certification also had to specify that recipient governments would maintain a
thorough inventory of the equipment provided, and would allow U.S. government
personnel access to any of this equipment or to any records having to do with
it. The recipient government must guarantee the equipment's security to a degree
deemed satisfactory by the U.S. government, and must permit continuous U.S. government
review of the equipment's use.
law requires that a Counterdrug Plan be provided to the relevant committees of
Congress before release of the first year's funding. The plan, which must be produced
for each country receiving assistance, covers nine points, including: a security
assessment, an evaluation of riverine operations, an assessment of assistance
provided and management and coordination information. For subsequent year funding
to be released, the Secretary of Defense is required to submit any changes in
this plan to the relevant committees of Congress.
of Section 1033, as amended
and Peru (shared)||$6,468,000||$19,950,000||$7,230,000||$22,960,000||$4,300,000|
United States Congress, Conference Committee Report 105-736 on the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, P.L. 105-261, September 22, 1998.
Ana Maria Salazar, deputy assistant secretary of defense for drug enforcement
policy and support, United States Department of Defense, letter in response to
congressional inquiry, Mar. 19, 1999.
United States, Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support, correspondence with authors,
September 21, 2000.
United States, Department of Defense, "Report on Department of Defense Expenditures
To Support Foreign Counterdrug Activities", Washington, December 29, 2000.
United States, Department of Defense, "DoD Andean Initiative FY02 Colombia",
Washington, Document obtained September 19, 2001; Congressional Research Service,
"Colombia: Summary and Tables on U.S. Assistance, FY1989-FY2003," (Washington:
CRS, May 3, 2002): 4 <http://ciponline.org/colombia/10929.pdf>.
States, Department of Defense, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations
and Low Intensity Conflict, Report required by the Floyd D. Spence National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (P.L. 106-398), (Washington: April 18,