Peacekeeping:

Thousands Trained but United States Is Unlikely to Complete All Activities by 2010 and Some Improvements Are Needed

GAO-08-754: Published: Jun 26, 2008. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2008.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Joseph A. Christoff
(202) 512-8979
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

In 2004, in response to the Group of Eight (G8) Sea Island Summit, the United States established the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a 5-year program to build peacekeeping capabilities worldwide, with a focus on Africa. Since 2005, the Department of State (State) has allocated $374 million and selected 52 countries to participate in the program. Congress mandated that GAO assess and report on the initiative. This report assesses (1) progress made in meeting GPOI goals, (2) whether State is consistently assessing the quality and effectiveness of the training, and (3) the extent to which countries meet program criteria and whether trainees are adequately screened for human rights abuses. GAO assessed State and Department of Defense (DOD) data and program documents, interviewed U.S. and host country officials, and conducted field work in eight countries.

State and DOD have made some progress in achieving GPOI objectives in three principal areas: training and equipping peacekeepers, providing equipment and transportation for peacekeeping missions, and building peacekeeping skills and infrastructure, but challenges remain in meeting these goals. First, nearly 40,000 military peacekeepers have been trained and some training equipment has been provided. However, State is unlikely to meet the goal of training 75,000 military peacekeepers by 2010 and has encountered problems in accounting for the delivery of training equipment to countries. Second, State supports an equipment depot in Africa and has supplied equipment for missions in Haiti, Lebanon, Somalia, and Sudan, but has been delayed in providing some equipment in support of these missions. Third, State and DOD have trained 2,700 military peacekeeping instructors, conducted several multinational peacekeeping exercises, and refurbished some training centers. However, State has targeted a smaller share of resources to build peacekeeping skills and infrastructure than for training and equipping peacekeepers in Africa in comparison to other regions, in part due to needs and capabilities of the region and a focus on training African peacekeepers for current missions. Of the $98 million State has spent in Africa, 12 percent was spent on building skills and infrastructure needed for long-term peacekeeping capabilities, compared to 20 percent to 51 percent in other regions. While 56 percent of trained military peacekeepers--primarily from Africa--have deployed to peacekeeping missions, State faces challenges in assessing the proficiency of trained peacekeepers against standard skills taught in training and accounting for the activities of trained instructors. Although GPOI training standards follow U.S. military doctrine and United Nations requirements, State does not have a program-wide standard to assess the proficiency of military peacekeepers in skills taught. Further, State is unable to fully account for the training activities of the trained instructors. Collectively, these program limitations result in State's inability to assess the overall outcomes of its program in providing high-quality, effective training. State, in consultation with DOD, has selected 52 partner countries that generally meet program criteria, but in some cases State did not screen trainees for human rights abuses. For 24 countries, State's human rights reporting identified documented human rights violations by security forces in 2007, and GAO found that peacekeepers were not always screened or were not properly screened for human rights abuses. For example, we found that 81 individuals from one country received military training but were not screened for human rights violations.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure that GPOI activities enhance the capabilities of countries to maintain peacekeeping operations on their own, the Secretary of State, in consultation with DOD, should assess estimated resources and time frames needed to complete peacekeeping skills and infrastructure activities in Africa by 2010.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State and DOD have discussed resources and timeframes in several fora, including the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) Coordinating Committee, which meets annually and is chaired by State and DOD, and a lower level policy development oversight committee that is chaired by State and DOD representatives. Within these fora in 2007, 2008, and 2009, State and DOD Africa region representatives assessed resources and time frames to achieve GPOI goals in Africa by 2010. GPOI officials stated that their primary goal during their startup phase of 2005 to 2010 was to train 75,000 peacekeepers with an emphasis on Africa, and that they accomplished this by training 87,673 military peacekeepers during this time period, more than 77,000 of whom were from African partner countries.

    Recommendation: To enhance GPOI's effectiveness, better identify program outcomes, and ensure proper screening for human rights violations, the Secretary of State should develop a system for monitoring the vetting activities for all GPOI training and ensure that all individuals in composite units are vetted for human rights violations, as required by State policy.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, State began building a database in August 2008 to facilitate the record-keeping and recall of past vetting cases. The database became operational throughout the State Department in 2011. In addition, the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) program incorporated guidance on vetting procedures as part of its implementation guide, and distributed this to embassies around the world.

    Recommendation: To enhance GPOI's effectiveness, better identify program outcomes, and ensure proper screening for human rights violations, the Secretary of State should ensure that the evaluations of contractor performance of training in Africa are properly recorded into the contractor performance system as required by agency regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State noted in its comments to the report that it concurred with this recommendation. It noted that although evaluation data had been collected, the data had yet to be entered into State?s contracting databases, but expected to enter this data shortly. In April 2009, State noted the Office of Acquisition Management (AQM), International Programs Division, International Affairs Branch hired several additional contractor personnel to enter the past performance data for all contracts exceeding $100,000. A State official confirmed in July 2012 that AQM had captured all past contract performance data in the Contract Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), but noted that AQM was still in the process of trying to complete all of the past evaluations it is required to enter into CPARS. However, State demonstrated compliance with the recommendation by providing examples of performance evaluations of GPOI?related contract activities in Africa recorded in CPARS in 2011.

    Recommendation: To enhance GPOI's effectiveness, better identify program outcomes, and ensure proper screening for human rights violations, the Secretary of State should develop and implement, in consultation with DOD and in accordance with the GPOI strategy, the use of standard military task lists and related training standards to enable program managers to evaluate the quality of training and measure the proficiency of trainees program-wide.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In consultation with stakeholders in the United Nations and in cooperation with DOD, the Department of State developed training manuals that include task lists and training standards for military units, as well as guidelines for trainee evaluation. These manuals were finalized in September 2009 and distributed to GPOI implementers in May 2010. State also produced a monitoring and evaluation plan that includes reviewing training reports and conducting on-site assessments.

    Recommendation: To enhance GPOI's effectiveness, better identify program outcomes, and ensure proper screening for human rights violations, the Secretary of State should provide additional guidance to U.S. missions to help the United States and Italy collect data on the training and deployment activities of COESPU graduates in their home countries.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of State noted in its agency comments that it concurred with this recommendation, and noted that GPOI has been examining mechanisms to improve data collection on the activities of COESPU graduates and is developing a systematic approach for the gathering of post-training data. In May 2010, State informed GAO that it and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributed a survey of COESPU partner countries to provide at least a mid-course analysis of post-graduation employment of students. In May 2012, State noted that since March 16, 2011, the United States and Italy, working with 23 GPOI/COESPU partner country Ministries of Foreign Affairs, have implemented a data collection effort which tracks COESPU graduate (a) deployments to actual peacekeeping missions/operations and (b) employments in peacekeeping/ capacity-building activities. State provided a sample of its Graduate Tracking Data as of May 14, 2012, to document its compliance with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To enhance GPOI's effectiveness, better identify program outcomes, and ensure proper screening for human rights violations, the Secretary of State should monitor implementation of new procedures to account for delivery and transfer of nonlethal training equipment to partner countries on an ongoing basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has taken a number of actions to implement this recommendation. It (1) established a logistics contract for the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) to oversee the entire logistics process for commercial acquisition from acquisition to delivery; (2) completed an accounting reconciliation through the ACOTA program office for all training event equipment purchased in previous financial years; (3) established a procedure for monitoring equipments purchased through States' Office of Acquisition Management's regional procurement support offices (RPSO) and hired additional personnel in the U.S. Southern Command to assist with this process; (4) for training equipment bought through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system, jointly developed a "Title and Custody" note with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), where the U.S. government keeps its rights over any defense articles being transferred through GPOI until they are officially delivered to a recipient country (this process also calls for a U.S. government agent to confirm and document delivery of defense articles); and (5) assigned program management employees in the GPOI Evaluation Team to monitor equipment procurement and delivery procedures as part of their routine data collection.

    Recommendation: To enhance GPOI's effectiveness, better identify program outcomes, and ensure proper screening for human rights violations, the Secretary of State should work in consultation with DOD to assist Italy in staffing the key unfilled positions at the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (COESPU) to better evaluate progress made and monitor results.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, State and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) worked together to develop a position for a Training Center Plans Officer that was filled in May 2009. The responsibilities of this position include: assisting in the development of procedures that ensure COESPU's financial reporting, program performance analyses, work plans and budget requests meet U.S. government guidelines, and; assisting in the development and implementation of measures to evaluate the effectiveness of COESPU training.

    Recommendation: To ensure that GPOI activities enhance the capabilities of countries to maintain peacekeeping operations on their own, the Secretary of State, in consultation with DOD, should ensure that any plans for extending GPOI activities beyond 2010 identify sufficient resources for developing long-term peacekeeping skills and infrastructure in Africa.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has developed a strategy for the second phase of the program, from 2010 to 2014, which was finalized and published in October 2009. The strategy highlights building long-term peacekeeping skills and infrastructure, such as strengthening the skills of local instructors, with a focus on Africa. African capacity building efforts are a priority in the strategy document. The strategy contains program activities, which are the criteria against which proposals for using Global Peace Operations Initiative funds are evaluated and funding allocations are determined.

    Jul 24, 2014

    Jul 21, 2014

    Jul 9, 2014

    Jul 8, 2014

    Jun 26, 2014

    Jun 25, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here