Cooperative Threat Reduction:

DOD Has Adequate Oversight of Assistance, but Procedural Limitations Remain

GAO-01-694: Published: Jun 19, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 2001.

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Since 1992, Congress has authorized more than $3 billion for the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program to help Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Georgia secure and eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Concerned about proper oversight of equipment and services provided by the program, Congress required the Department of Defense (DOD) to report annually on whether the assistance was being used as intended. This report reviews (1) whether DOD's oversight procedures produce the necessary information to determine if the threat reduction assistance, including equipment provided and services furnished, is being used as intended and (2) whether DOD can improve its oversight. GAO found that DOD has procedures in place that reasonably ensure that at least 95 percent of the assistance is being used as intended and is adequately accounted for. Because of access restrictions imposed by the Russian government, a limited amount of equipment--less than five percent of the total value of assistance provided--is in locations where access by U.S. personnel is not permitted. DOD can enhance the quality of its program oversight by better targeting and expanding the scope of its formal audit and examination procedures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and has fully implemented this recommendation. For example, the fiscal year 2003 and subsequent annual reports to the Congress states that based on GAO's recommendation they incorporated a risk matrix into the development of their audit and examination schedule to target projects with the greatest risk of assistance misuse.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD's accounting of CTR-provided assistance, the Secretary of Defense should strengthen audit and examination procedures by developing criteria to target audits and examinations at the most vulnerable CTR projects, such as those least accounted for through other means.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and has expanded the scope of their audit and examinations beyond simple equipment inventories. DOD's most recent annual reports to the Congress include assessments of whether U.S. assistance is being used efficiently and effectively.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD's accounting of CTR-provided assistance, the Secretary of Defense should strengthen audit and examination procedures by expanding the scope of audits and examinations from simply taking an inventory of equipment provided under the program to assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of CTR assistance, including contracted services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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