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United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

January 30, 2008: 

Congressional Committees: 

Subject: Global War on Terrorism: Reported Obligations for the 
Department of Defense: 

Since 2001, Congress has provided the Department of Defense (DOD) with 
hundreds of billions of dollars in supplemental and annual 
appropriations for military operations in support of the Global War on 
Terrorism (GWOT).[Footnote 1] DOD's reported annual obligations 
[Footnote 2] for GWOT have shown a steady increase from about $0.2 
billion in fiscal year 2001 to about $139.8 billion in fiscal year 
2007. In fiscal year 2007, Congress provided DOD with about $161.8 
billion in annual and supplemental appropriations[Footnote 3] for GWOT. 
To continue its GWOT operations, DOD has requested $189.3 billion in 
appropriations for fiscal year 2008. As of December 2007, Congress has 
provided DOD with about $86.8 billion for GWOT in fiscal year 2008, 
including $16.8 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. 
DOD has reported obligations of about $23.8 billion for GWOT for fiscal 
year 2008 through November 2007. The United States' commitments to GWOT 
will likely involve the continued investment of significant resources, 
requiring decision makers to consider difficult trade-offs as the 
nation faces an increasing long-range fiscal challenge. The magnitude 
of future costs will depend on several direct and indirect cost 
variables and, in some cases, decisions that have not yet been made. 
DOD's future costs will likely be affected by the pace and duration of 
operations, the types of facilities needed to support troops overseas, 
redeployment plans, and the amount of equipment to be repaired or 
replaced.[Footnote 4] 

DOD compiles and reports monthly and cumulative incremental obligations 
incurred to support GWOT in a monthly Supplemental and Cost of War 
Execution Report. DOD leadership uses this report, along with other 
information, to advise Congress on the costs of the war and to 
formulate future GWOT budget requests. DOD reports these obligations by 
appropriation, contingency operation,[Footnote 5] and military service 
or defense agency. The monthly cost reports are typically compiled in 
the 45 days after the end of the reporting month in which the 
obligations are incurred.[Footnote 6] DOD has prepared monthly reports 
on the obligations incurred for its involvement in GWOT since fiscal 
year 2001. 

Section 1221 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
2006[Footnote 7] requires us to submit quarterly updates to Congress on 
the costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom 
based on DOD's monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Reports. 
This report, which responds to this requirement, contains our analysis 
of DOD's reported obligations for military operations in support of 
GWOT through September 2007. Specifically, we assessed (1) DOD's 
appropriations and reported obligations for military operations in 
support of GWOT through fiscal year 2007 and (2) DOD's fiscal year 2007 
reported obligations for GWOT by military service and appropriation 
account. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To conduct our work, we analyzed applicable annual and supplemental 
appropriations from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2007 and DOD's 
monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Reports from September 
2001 to September 2007. Specifically, we identified appropriated 
amounts intended for GWOT and reported GWOT obligations for each 
operation, military service, and appropriation account. Our prior 
work[Footnote 8] has found the data in DOD's monthly Supplemental and 
Cost of War Execution Report to be of questionable reliability. 
Consequently, we are unable to ensure that DOD's reported obligations 
for GWOT are complete, reliable, and accurate, and they therefore 
should be considered approximations. 

DOD is taking steps to improve GWOT cost reporting. Specifically, over 
the years, we have made a series of recommendations to the Secretary of 
Defense intended to improve the transparency and reliability of DOD's 
GWOT obligations. For example we have recommended that DOD (1) revise 
the cost reporting guidance so that large amounts of reported 
obligations are not shown in "other" miscellaneous categories and (2) 
take steps to ensure that reported GWOT obligations are reliable. In 
response, DOD has modified its guidance to more clearly define some of 
the cost categories and is taking additional steps to strengthen the 
oversight and program management of the cost reporting. Specifically, 
DOD has taken steps to improve transparency by requiring components to 
analyze variances in reported obligations and to disclose reasons for 
significant changes, and to affirm that monthly reported GWOT 
obligations provide a fair representation of ongoing activities. We 
have, however, found that some required explanations were not disclosed 
and DOD's methodology did not always identify obligations omitted from 
cost reports and, in some cases, DOD components did not provide 
required affirmation statements to attest to accuracy.[Footnote 9] DOD 
is now developing additional procedures to ensure compliance with the 
variance analysis and affirmation statements policies. Until all DOD's 
efforts are more fully implemented, it is too soon to know the extent 
to which these changes will improve the reliability of DOD's cost 
reporting. While establishing sound cost reporting procedures and 
oversight is clearly important, the reliability of the cost-of-war 
reports is also dependent on the quality of DOD's accounting data. 
Factors contributing to DOD's challenges in reporting reliable cost 
data include long-standing deficiencies in DOD's financial management 
systems. We are aware that DOD has efforts underway to improve these 
systems as well. 

We have also made recommendations to improve transparency and fiscal 
responsibility related to funding the war on terrorism, and to permit 
Congress and the administration to establish priorities and make trade- 
offs among those priorities in defense funding. Specifically, we 
recommended that DOD (1) issue guidance defining what constitutes the 
"longer war against terror," identify what costs are related to that 
longer war, and build these costs into the base defense budget; (2) 
identify incremental costs of the ongoing GWOT operations that can be 
moved into the base budget; and (3) in consultation with the Office of 
Management and Budget consider limiting emergency funding requests to 
truly unforeseen or sudden events. We will continue to review DOD's 
efforts to implement these recommendations as part of our follow-up 
work on GWOT. 

We are beginning to review DOD's fiscal year 2008 funding and reported 
obligations, including the reliability of the reported obligations. We 
are also beginning a review of the process, including models and other 
tools, used to estimate GWOT funding requirements. We plan to report on 
this work later this year. 

We conducted this performance audit from November 2007 to January 2008, 
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that 
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and 
conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

Summary: 

From fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2007, Congress has provided 
DOD with about $542.9 billion for its efforts in support of GWOT. 
[Footnote 10] DOD has reported obligations of about $492.2 billion for 
military operations in support of the war from fiscal years 2001 
through 2007. The $50.7 billion difference[Footnote 11] between DOD's 
GWOT appropriations and reported obligations can generally be 
attributed to multiyear funding for procurement; military construction; 
and research, development, test, and evaluation from previous GWOT- 
related appropriations[Footnote 12] that have yet to be obligated, and 
obligations for classified activities, which are not included in DOD's 
reported obligations. DOD's total reported obligations related to GWOT 
have demonstrated a steady annual increase each fiscal year through 
2007. Figure 1 shows DOD's cumulative reported GWOT obligations from 
fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2007. 

Figure 1: DOD's Cumulative Reported GWOT Obligations for Fiscal Years 
2001 through 2007: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a line graph illustrating DOD's cumulative reported GWOT 
Obligations for fiscal years 2001 through 2007. The vertical axis of 
the graph represents dollars in billions from 0 to 500. The horizontal 
axis of the graph represents fiscal years 2001 through 2007. The 
following data is depicted: 

Fiscal year: 2001; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $0.2. 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $29.4. 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $98.0. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $169.2. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $254.0. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $352.5. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Reported GWOT obligations: $492.2. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

Note: Reported GWOT obligations include Operation Noble Eagle, 
Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and generally 
reflect costs reported in DOD's cost-of-war reports. However, the 
fiscal year 2002 and 2003 figures include about $20.1 billion that, 
according to DOD officials, was not reported in DOD's cost-of-war 
reports. GAO has assessed the reliability of DOD's obligation data and 
found significant problems, such that these data may not accurately 
reflect the true dollar value of GWOT obligations. 

[End of figure] 

DOD's reported obligations of about $139.8 billion in fiscal year 2007 
were approximately 1.4 times higher than reported GWOT obligations of 
about $98.4 billion for fiscal year 2006. The higher reported 
obligations in fiscal year 2007 are largely due to costs associated 
with Operation Iraqi Freedom, in part due to the surge strategy 
announced in January 2007, which provided for the deployment of 
additional troops. Also adding to the increased fiscal year 2007 
obligations is DOD's need to repair or replace equipment after several 
years of ongoing operations. Harsh combat and environmental conditions 
in-theater over sustained periods of time exacerbates equipment repair, 
replacement, and modernization problems that existed before the onset 
of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Consequently, obligations 
for procurement, which include aircraft, munitions, vehicles, 
communications, and electronics equipment, account for nearly a quarter 
of reported obligations--about $35.8 billion for fiscal year 2007, 
which is approximately two and a half times higher than reported 
obligations for procurement during fiscal year 2006. 

DOD's reported obligations through fiscal year 2007 include about 
$378.1 billion for operations in and around Iraq as part of Operation 
Iraqi Freedom, and about $86.2 billion for operations in Afghanistan, 
the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, and elsewhere as part of Operation 
Enduring Freedom. It also includes about $27.9 billion for operations 
in defense of the homeland as part of Operation Noble Eagle. 

Reported obligations associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom continue 
to be far higher than those for other GWOT operations in fiscal year 
2007. As figure 2 shows, from fiscal years 2003 through 2007, DOD's 
reported obligations for Operation Iraqi Freedom consistently increased 
each fiscal year. In contrast, DOD's reported obligations for Operation 
Noble Eagle have consistently decreased since fiscal year 2003, while 
those for Operation Enduring Freedom have remained within a range of 
$10.3 billion to $20.1 billion each fiscal year. 

Figure 2: DOD's Reported GWOT Obligations for Fiscal Years 2001 through 
2007 by Operation: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a stacked line graph illustrating DOD's reported GWOT 
obligations for fiscal years 2001 through 2007 by operation. The 
vertical axis of the graph represents dollars in billions from 0 to 
140. The horizontal axis of the graph represents GWOT obligations per 
fiscal year from 2001 through 2007. The obligations for three 
operations are stacked for each year: Operation Iraqi Freedom; 
Operation Enduring Freedom; and Operation Noble Eagle. The following 
data is depicted: 

GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2001: $0.2 billion; 
GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2002: $29.1 billion; 
GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2003: $68.6 billion; 
GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2004: $71.3 billion; 
GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2005: $84.8 billion; 
GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2006: $98.4 billion; 
GWOT obligations per fiscal year 2007: $139.8 billion. 

Total GWOT Obligations, 2001-2007, by operation: 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: $378.1 billion; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: $86.2 billion. 
Operation Noble Eagle: $27.9. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

Note: Operation Iraqi Freedom began in fiscal year 2003; therefore no 
obligations were reported in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 for this 
operation. Reported GWOT obligations generally reflect costs reported 
in DOD's cost-of-war reports. However, the fiscal year 2002 and 2003 
figures include about $20.1 billion that, according to DOD officials, 
was not reported in DOD's cost-of-war reports. GAO has assessed the 
reliability of DOD's obligation data and found significant problems, 
such that these data may not accurately reflect the true dollar value 
of GWOT obligations. 

[End of figure] 

DOD's reported obligations for fiscal year 2007 totaled $139.8 billion. 
The Army accounts for the largest proportion of reported obligations 
for fiscal year 2007--about $98.0 billion, nearly eight times higher 
than the almost $12.9 billion in obligations reported for the Air 
Force, the military service with the next greatest reported amount. 
While the total reported obligations for fiscal year 2007 increased by 
about 40 percent over fiscal year 2006, reported obligations for the 
Navy increased by 60 percent and reported obligations for the Marine 
Corps increased by almost 75 percent. 

Among appropriation accounts, operation and maintenance, which include 
items such as support for housing, food, and services; the repair of 
equipment; and transportation to move people, supplies, and equipment, 
accounts for the largest reported obligations--about $74.9 billion. 
Reported obligations for procurement account for about a quarter of 
total reported obligations or about $35.8 billion. Of the $43.6 billion 
provided to DOD for procurement in fiscal year 2007, approximately 34 
percent or $14.3 billion, remained available for use in fiscal year 
2008. Figure 3 shows DOD's reported obligations for fiscal year 2007 by 
military service and appropriation account. 

Figure 3: DOD's Reported GWOT Obligations for Fiscal Year 2007, by DOD 
Component and Appropriation Account: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure contains two pie-charts indicating DOD's reported GWOT 
obligations for fiscal year 2007, by DOD component and appropriation 
account. The following data is depicted: 

By DOD component (dollars in billions): 
Army: $98.0; 
Air Force: $12.9; 
Marine Corps: $12.4; 
Navy: $10.0; 
Other DOD components: $6.5. 

By appropriations account (dollars in billions): 
Operations and maintenance: $74.9; 
Procurement: $35.8; 
Military personnel: $17.0; 
Other: $10.3; 
Research, development, test and evaluation: $0.6; 
Working Capital Fund: $0.6; 
Military construction: $0.5. 

Total: $139.8 billion. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

Note: GAO has assessed the reliability of DOD's obligation data and 
found significant problems, such that these data may not accurately 
reflect the true dollar value of GWOT obligations. Obligation figures 
may not add to $139.8 billion because of rounding. 

[End of figure] 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD noted it continues 
to take actions to implement the intent of our prior recommendations. 
Specifically, DOD stated that efforts are underway to identify and 
correct the problem of missing affirmations and variance analysis 
explanations in its cost reporting. DOD stated that these controls are 
internal administrative requirements applicable to the overall 
management and understanding of the content of cost reports submitted 
by each Component. Further, it stated that the lack of an affirmation 
statement or explanation does not indicate the information reported is 
not reliable or lacks credibility and, accordingly, identifying missing 
affirmations and variance explanations in published reports could 
mislead readers to believe the reports are inaccurate or less reliable. 
We agree that DOD has taken steps to improve cost reporting, which we 
acknowledge in our report. We also note DOD is now developing 
additional procedures to ensure compliance with the variance analysis 
and affirmation statement policies, but is only beginning to implement 
many of these efforts. We continue to believe that users of the reports 
should have sufficient information to assess the reliability of 
reported cost information, including information about affirmations and 
variance explanations. DOD also stated it is focused on validating the 
reliability of the current reporting process and making improvements. 
As stated in our report, we recognize DOD's efforts. However, until all 
DOD's efforts are more fully implemented, it is too soon to know the 
extent to which these changes will improve DOD's cost reporting. 
Therefore, users of DOD's reported cost information need to continue to 
exercise caution in interpreting the data and should consider DOD's 
reported GWOT obligations as approximations. 

DOD further commented on our prior recommendation related to funding 
for the war on terrorism. Specifically, DOD stated that while we 
continue to recommend that the incremental costs of ongoing operations 
be built into the base defense budget, Congress has not yet 
appropriated funds to cover all of DOD's fiscal year 2008 GWOT costs, 
the majority of which was requested concurrent with the fiscal year 
2008 President's budget request. It further stated that it is the 
Office of Management and Budget, not DOD, that determines what amounts 
in DOD's budget request will be recommended for designation by the 
President as emergency requirements. We recognize Congress appropriated 
some funding to cover DOD's fiscal year 2008 GWOT costs; however, we 
note that GWOT funds were not requested as part of DOD's base defense 
budget but as a distinct emergency request. We continue to believe that 
DOD could identify additional incremental GWOT needs that could be 
moved into the base budget, which would assist the Congress in 
evaluating priorities and making tradeoffs among all funding needs. We 
recognize the role of the Office of Management and Budget concerning 
the use of emergency funding requests and, as we have previously 
recommended, encourage the department, in consultation with the Office 
of Management and Budget, to consider limiting emergency funding 
requests to truly unforeseen or sudden events. DOD's comments are 
included in enclosure I in this report. 

We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional 
committees; the Secretary of Defense; the Under Secretary of Defense 
(Comptroller); and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. 
Copies of this report will also be made available to others upon 
request. In addition, this report will be available at no charge on the 
GAO Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-9619 or pickups@gao.gov. Contact points for our 
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on 
the last page of this report. Key contributors to this report are 
listed in enclosure II. 

Signed by: 

Sharon Pickup: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 

List of Committees: 

The Honorable Carl Levin:
Chairman:
The Honorable John McCain:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Armed Services:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Ike Skelton:
Chairman:
The Honorable Duncan Hunter:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Armed Services:
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye:
Chairman:
The Honorable Ted Stevens:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Defense:
Committee on Appropriations:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable John P. Murtha:
Chairman:
The Honorable C. W. Bill Young:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Defense:
Committee on Appropriations:
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure 1: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of The Under Secretary Of Defense: 
Comptroller: 
1100 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, DC 20301-1100: 

January 28, 2008: 

Ms. Sharon Pickup: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Pickup: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) Draft Report GAO-08-423R, "Global War On 
Terrorism: Reported Obligations for the Department of Defense," dated 
January 17, 2008 (GAO Code 351133). 

The Department continues to take actions to implement the intent of 
GAO's recommendations. Efforts are underway to identify and correct the 
problem of missing affirmations and variance analysis explanations. The 
Department would like to emphasize that these controls are internal 
administrative requirements applicable to the overall management and 
understanding of the Cost of War (CoW) report content submitted by each 
Component. The lack of an affirmation statement or explanation does not 
indicate the information reported is not reliable or lacks credibility. 
Accordingly, identifying missing affirmations and variance explanations 
in published reports could mislead readers to believe the reports are 
inaccurate or less reliable. 

The Department is focused on validating the reliability of the current 
reporting process and making improvements. The underlying controls in 
capturing the Global War on Terror (GWOT) data at the various sources 
and reporting the consolidated balances in the monthly CoW reports are 
key to producing reliable and credible information. Preliminary results 
of the ongoing transaction sampling, allocation methodology reviews, 
and improvement actions demonstrate the balances and reporting process 
are generally reliable. 

The Department notes that while the GAO continues to recommend that 
incremental costs of ongoing operations be built into the base defense 
budget, the Congress has not yet appropriated $102.5 billion for the FY 
2008 GWOT costs, the majority of which was requested concurrent with 
the FY 2008 President's Budget request. In addition, the Department 
notes that it is the Office of Management and Budget, not DoD, who 
determines what amounts included within the budget request will be 
recommended for designation by the President as emergency requirements. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

J. David Patterson: 
Principal Deputy: 

[End of enclosure] 

Enclosure 2: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Sharon Pickup, (202) 512-9619 or pickups@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact listed above, Ann Borseth, Assistant 
Director; Richard Geiger; Ron La Due Lake; Deanna Laufer; and Lonnie 
McAllister made key contributions to this report. 

[End of enclosure] 

Footnotes: 

[1] After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the President 
announced a Global War on Terrorism, requiring the collective 
instruments of the entire federal government to counter the threat of 
terrorism. Ongoing military and diplomatic operations overseas, 
especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, constitute a key part of GWOT. 
These operations involve a wide variety of activities, such as 
combating insurgents, training the military forces of other nations, 
and conducting small-scale reconstruction and humanitarian relief 
projects. 

[2] According to Department of Defense, Financial Management 
Regulation, 7000.14-R, vol. 1, Definitions (December 2001), p. xvii, 
obligations are incurred through actions such as orders placed, 
contracts awarded, services received, or similar transactions made by 
federal agencies during a given period that will require payments 
during the same or a future period. 

[3] Of the $161.8 billion, Congress provided $67.4 billion in Title IX 
of the Department of Defense Appropriation Act, 2007 as bridge funding 
to support ongoing operations early in the fiscal year. Congress 
provided the remaining $94.4 billion in the U.S. Troop Readiness, 
Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007. 

[4] For more information see GAO, Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding 
Iraq: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight, GAO-07-308SP (Washington, 
D.C.: Jan. 9, 2007), and Global War on Terrorism: Observations on 
Funding, Costs, and Future Commitments, GAO-06-885T (Washington, D.C.: 
July 18, 2006). 

[5] DOD defines contingency operations to include small, medium, and 
large-scale campaign-level military operations, including support for 
peacekeeping operations, major humanitarian assistance efforts, 
noncombatant evacuation operations, and international disaster relief 
efforts. 

[6] DOD, Financial Management Regulation, 7000.14-R, vol. 12, ch. 23. 
This regulation generally establishes financial policy and procedures 
related to DOD contingency operations. Vol. 6A, ch. 2, and vol. 3, ch. 
8, of the DOD Financial Management Regulation also include provisions 
to ensure the accuracy of cost reporting. 

[7] Pub. L. No. 109-163,  1221(c) (2006). 

[8] For more information see GAO, Global War on Terrorism: DOD Needs to 
Improve the Reliability of Cost Data and Provide Additional Guidance to 
Control Costs, GAO-05-882 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 21, 2005) and Global 
War on Terrorism: DOD Needs to Take Action to Encourage Fiscal 
Discipline and Optimize the Use of Tools Intended to Improve GWOT Cost 
Reporting, GAO-08-68 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 6, 2007). 

[9] GAO-08-68. 

[10] From fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2004, military 
operations in defense of the homeland (Operation Noble Eagle) were 
funded through supplemental appropriations. Since fiscal year 2005, 
these operations have been funded through DOD's base budget. Because 
Congress does not appropriate funds by military operation, these 
amounts cannot be separately identified. Therefore, the $542.9 billion 
includes funding for Operation Noble Eagle only from fiscal years 2001 
through 2004. 

[11] We calculated this difference by comparing available data on 
appropriations and reported obligations. Since data on appropriations 
for Operation Noble Eagle from fiscal year 2005 through fiscal year 
2007 is unavailable, the difference between DOD's GWOT appropriations 
and reported obligations may be larger. 

[12] Appropriations for military personnel and operation and 
maintenance are usually available for 1 year, while appropriations for 
research, development, test and evaluation are usually available for 2 
years; procurement funds (with the exception of shipbuilding funds, 
which are sometimes longer) are usually available for 3 years; and 
military construction funds are usually available for 5 years. 

[End of section] 

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