Foreign-deployed Advisory & Support Team
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Agents with a Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team (FAST) pictured while on a counter-narcotics operation in Afghanistan, 2008.
FAST teams are the enforcement arm of the DEA’s Drug Flow Attack Strategy (DFAS). FAST plan and conduct special enforcement operations; train, mentor, and advise foreign narcotics law enforcement units; collect and assess evidence and intelligence in support of US and bilateral investigations. In Afghanistan, FAST operates as part of the DEA's Afghan Campaign Plan.
The initial role of the FAST teams was work closely with U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Afghan units in order to disrupt the Afghan opium trade, which helps fund the Taliban. Since their inception during the G.W. Bush administration, FAST's remit has expanded to include deployments to Central American countries including Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Belize.
The DEA is beleived to have at least 5 FAST squads, each with 10 agents. A typical FAST team comprises of 8 special agents, an intelligence specialist and a team leader. The FAST section is overseen by a former Navy SEAL, Richard Dobrich. Much of their equipment is supplied by the Pentagon.
DEA agents wishing to join the FAST teams must undergo a rigorous selection process before being trained in close quarters combat and other small unit tactics.