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entitled 'Global War on Terrorism: Reported Obligations for the 
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December 15, 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 
about $808 billion in supplemental and annual appropriations, as of 
September 2008, primarily 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 $162.4 billion in 
fiscal year 2008. 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 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 3] 

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 4] and military service 
or defense agency. The monthly cost reports are typically compiled 
within the 45 days after the end of the reporting month in which the 
obligations are incurred.[Footnote 5] 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 6] 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 2008. Specifically, we assessed (1) DOD's 
cumulative appropriations and reported obligations for military 
operations in support of GWOT and (2) DOD's fiscal year 2008 reported 
obligations, the latest data available for GWOT by military service and 
appropriation account. 

Over the years, we have conducted a series of reviews examining funding 
and reported obligations for military operations in support of GWOT. 
Our prior work[Footnote 7] 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. Based on this work, we 
have made a number 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 is 
taking steps to improve GWOT cost reporting. For example, 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. 
Furthermore, in February 2007, DOD established a Senior Steering Group 
including representatives from DOD, the Defense Finance and Accounting 
Service (DFAS), and the military services in an effort to standardize 
and improve the GWOT cost-reporting process and to increase management 
attention to the process. DOD established a GWOT Cost-of-War Project 
Management Office to monitor work performed by auditing agencies and to 
report possible solutions and improvements to the Senior Steering 
Group. DOD has started several initiatives to improve credibility, 
transparency, and timeliness. One of the initiatives is a quarterly 
validation of GWOT obligation transactions at each of the DOD 
components with the goal of having a sampling of all types of costs in 
fiscal year 2008. Until all DOD 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 also 
depends 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 under way 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.[Footnote 8] We will continue to 
review DOD's efforts to implement these recommendations as part of our 
follow-up work on GWOT. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To conduct our work, we analyzed applicable annual and supplemental 
appropriations from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2008, the 
latest GWOT appropriations provided, as well as DOD's appropriation 
allocation documents. We also analyzed DOD's monthly Supplemental and 
Cost of War Execution Reports from September 2001 through September 
2008, the latest data available. Specifically, we identified 
appropriated amounts primarily intended for GWOT and reported GWOT 
obligations for each operation, military service, and appropriation 
account. 

We are continuing to review DOD's fiscal year 2008 funding and reported 
obligations, including the reliability of the reported obligations. We 
plan to report on this work in March 2009. 

We conducted this performance audit from November 2008 to December 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: 

As of September 2008, Congress has appropriated a total of about $808 
billion primarily for GWOT operations since 2001. Of that amount, about 
$187 billion has been provided for fiscal year 2008. In addition, about 
$65.9 billion was appropriated in fiscal year 2008 for fiscal year 2009 
but was not available for obligation in fiscal year 2008. DOD will 
likely request additional funds for fiscal year 2009. DOD has reported 
obligations of about $654.7 billion for military operations in support 
of the war from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2008. The $152.2 
billion difference[Footnote 9] between DOD's 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 
10] that have yet to be obligated; and obligations for non-DOD 
classified and other activities, which DOD considers to be non-GWOT 
related, that are not reported in DOD's cost- of-war reports.[Footnote 
11] This difference also includes the $65.9 billion appropriated for 
fiscal year 2009. As part of our ongoing work, we are reviewing DOD's 
rationale for reporting its GWOT related obligations. 

Figure 1 shows the increase in DOD's cumulative reported GWOT 
obligations and cumulative GWOT appropriations from fiscal year 2001 
through fiscal year 2008. The appropriations amount does not include 
the fiscal year 2009 appropriation of $65.9 billion. 

Figure 1: DOD's Cumulative Reported GWOT Obligations and Cumulative 
GWOT Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2001 through Fiscal Year 2008: 

This figure is a combination bar and line graph showing DOD's 
cumulative reported GWOT obligations and cumulative GWOT appropriations 
for fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2008. The X axis represents 
fiscal year, and the Y axis represents dollars in millions. The line 
represents cumulative GWOT appropriations, and the bars represents 
cumulative reported GWOT obligations. 

Fiscal year: 2001; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 17; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 0.2. 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 31; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 29.4. 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 100; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 98. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 166; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 169.2. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 269; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 254. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 385; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 352.5. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 554; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 492.2. 

Fiscal year: 2008; 
Cumulative GWOT appropriations: 741; 
Cumulative reported GWOT obligations: 654.3. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD and appropriations data. 

Notes: Appropriations amounts reflect totals provided in supplemental 
and annual appropriations legislation. 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 war 
related but 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] 

Of DOD's total cumulative reported obligations for GWOT for fiscal year 
2008 (about $654.7 billion), about $508.4 billion is for operations in 
and around Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and about $118.2 
billion is for operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, the 
Philippines, and elsewhere as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 
remaining about $28.1 billion is for operations in defense of the 
homeland as part of Operation Noble Eagle. 

As figure 2 shows, DOD's reported obligations for Operation Iraqi 
Freedom have consistently increased each fiscal year since operations 
began. The increases in reported obligations for Operation Iraqi 
Freedom are in part due to continued costs for military personnel, such 
as military pay and allowances for mobilized reservists, and for rising 
operation and maintenance expenses, such as higher contract costs for 
housing, food, and services and higher fuel costs. In addition, the 
need to repair and replace equipment because of the harsh combat and 
environmental conditions in theater and the ongoing costs associated 
with the surge strategy announced in January 2007, which provided for 
the deployment of additional troops, have further increased obligations 
for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In contrast, DOD's reported obligations 
for Operation Noble Eagle have consistently decreased since fiscal year 
2003, largely because of the completion of repairs to the Pentagon and 
upgrades in security at military installations that were onetime costs, 
as well as a reduction in combat air patrols and in the number of 
reserve personnel guarding government installations. Reported 
obligations for Operation Enduring Freedom have ranged from about $10.3 
billion to about $32.0 billion each fiscal year since 2003. Recent 
increases in reported obligations for Operation Enduring Freedom are in 
part caused by higher troop levels in Afghanistan, the costs associated 
with training Afghan security forces, and the need to repair and 
replace equipment after several years of ongoing operations. 

Figure 2: DOD's Reported GWOT Obligations for Fiscal Year 2001 through 
Fiscal Year 2008 by Operation: 

This figure is a shaded line graph showing DOD's reported GWOT 
obligations for fiscal years 2001 through 2008, by operation. The X 
axis represents reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year, and the Y 
axis represents dollars (in billions). The bars represent Operation 
Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Noble Eagle. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2001: $0.2; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 0.1; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 0.1; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 0. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2002: $29.1; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 14.2; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 15; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 0. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2003: $68.6; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 6.3; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 15.9; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 46.4. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2004: $71.3; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 3.8; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 10.3; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 57.2. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2005: $84.8; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 2.1; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 10.7; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 72. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2006: $98.4; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 0.8; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 14.2; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 83.4. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2007: $139.8; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 0.5; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 20.1; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 119.1. 

Reported GWOT obligations per fiscal year: 2008: $162.4; 
Operation Noble Eagle: 1.5; 
Operation Enduring Freedom: 32; 
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 130.3. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

Notes: 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 
war related but 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] 

In fiscal year 2008, DOD's total reported obligations of about $162.4 
billion which is about 16 percent more than the total amount of 
obligations it reported for all of fiscal year 2007. Reported 
obligations for Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to account for the 
largest portion of total reported GWOT obligations by operation--about 
$130.3 billion. In contrast, reported obligations associated with 
Operation Enduring Freedom total about $32.0 billion, and reported 
obligations associated with Operation Noble Eagle total about $150.0 
million. As part of our work, we are evaluating DOD's methodology for 
attributing cost to specific contingency operations. 

The Army accounts for the largest portion of reported obligations for 
fiscal year 2008 --about $115.0 billion, eight times higher than the 
almost $14.2 billion in obligations reported for the Air Force, the 
military service with the next greatest reported amount. Among 
appropriation accounts, operation and maintenance, which includes 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 $65.5 billion. 
Reported obligations for the procurement account are about 26 percent 
of reported obligations or about $42.5 billion. Of the $58.2 billion 
provided to DOD for procurement in fiscal year 2008, approximately 27 
percent, or $15.7 billion, has yet to be obligated and remains 
available in fiscal year 2009. 

Figure 3 shows DOD's reported obligations for fiscal year 2008 by DOD 
component and appropriation account. 

Figure 3: DOD's Reported GWOT Obligations for Fiscal Year 2008 by DOD 
Component and Appropriation Account: 

This figure is a combination of two pie graphs showing DOD's reported 
GWOT obligations for fiscal year 2008 by DOD component and 
appropriation account. 

By DOD component (dollars in billions): 

Army: $115: 70.8%; 
Air Force: $14.2: 8.7%; 
Navy: $13.7: 8.4%; 
Marine Corps: $10.5: 6.5%; 
Other DOD components: $9.0: 5.5%. 

By appropriation account (dollars in billions): 

Operation and maintenance: $65.5: 40.3%; 
Procurement: $42.5: 26.2%; 
Other: $31.4: 19.3%; 
Military personnel: $18.6: 11.5%; 
Military construction: $1.8: 1.1%; 
Working Capital Fund: $1.5: 0.9%; 
Research, development, test, and evaluation: $1.1: 0.7%. 

[See PDF for image] 

Notes: Obligation figures may not add to $162.4 billion because of 
rounding. The "Other" portion of the appropriation account pie chart 
includes programs designed to reimburse coalition countries for 
logistical and military support, to train and equip the Afghan National 
Army and Armed Forces of Iraq and to execute the Commanders Emergency 
Response Program. 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] 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD described a new 
Status of Funds report that will replace the Cost of War report, from 
which data for this report was drawn. DOD commented that our report 
accurately stated that the difference between the funding appropriated 
for GWOT and the reported obligations for GWOT can be attributed to, 
among other things, certain non-GWOT programs that are funded by GWOT 
appropriations, but are not reported in the Cost of War report. 
According to DOD, this new report will include a table that delineates 
these non-GWOT amounts by appropriation and baseline program and will 
provide greater transparency and utility for those interested in cost 
of war information. Because this new report will be issued beginning 
with the October 2008 reporting, we have not yet evaluated it. DOD also 
provided technical comments, which we incorporated where appropriate. 
DOD's comments are included in enclosure I of 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. 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. 

Sharon L. Pickup: 

Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 

Enclosures: 

List of Committees: 

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

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

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

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 I: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Comptroller: 

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

December 11, 2008: 

Ms. Sharon L. Pickup: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W.: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Pickup:

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) Draft Report GAO-09-233R, "Global War On 
Terrorism. Reported Obligations for the Department of Defense, " dated 
December 3, 2008 (GAO Code 351298). 

As mentioned in our comments to your third quarter report, the 
Department will replace the Cost of War report with the Status of Funds 
report for the October 2008 reporting. The Status of Funds report is a 
primary example where the Department is taking steps to improve the 
transparency, reliability and usefulness of cost of war reporting. 

The Congress, since FY 2001, has appropriated amounts for baseline 
requirements in GWOT appropriations, referred to by the Department as 
non-GWOT programs (i.e., non-DoD classified programs, increases for 
baseline fuel costs, etc.). In the draft report, you accurately state 
that the difference between GWOT appropriated amounts and cost of war 
obligations is partly due to certain GWOT programs that will not result 
in obligations on a cost of war report. The monthly Status of Funds 
report includes a table that delineates the non-GWOT amounts by 
appropriation and baseline program. We view this as an example of the 
greater transparency and utility the Status of Funds report will 
provide for the community that uses cost of war information. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

Douglas A. Brook: 
Acting: 

[End of section] 

GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

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

Acknowledgments: In addition to the contact named above, Ann Borseth, 
Assistant Director; Bruce Brown; Richard Geiger; Linda Keefer; Ron La 
Due Lake; Lonnie McAllister; and Eric Petersen made key contributions 
to this report. 

[End of section] 

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" (Dec. 2001), 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] For more information see GAO, Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding 
Iraq: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-308SP] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 9, 
2007), and Global War on Terrorism: Observations on Funding, Costs, and 
Future Commitments, [[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-
885T] (Washington, D.C.: July 18, 2006). 

[4] 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. 

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

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

[7] 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, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/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). 

[8] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-68]. 

[9] We calculated this difference by comparing available data on 
appropriations and reported obligations. 

[10] 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 available longer) are usually available for 3 
years; and military construction funds are usually available for 5 
years. 

[11] We have not reviewed DOD's determination of what appropriations 
should be considered non-GWOT.