Relatively Little of the $3 Billion in Requested Assistance Is Subject to State's Certification of Pakistan's Progress on Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism Issues
GAO-11-786R: Published: Jul 19, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 2011.
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Pakistan is central to U.S. efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and deny its resurgence in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The United States has sought to secure these interests through counterterrorism and counterinsurgency cooperation, as well as through a long-term partnership anchored, in part, by increased civilian and military assistance. Since fiscal year 2002, the U.S. government has provided the Pakistani government almost $21 billion in assistance and reimbursements toward these goals. However, al Qaeda and other terrorists and violent extremists continue to promote instability and use safe havens in Pakistan's western border region to plan and train for attacks against U.S. interests. At the same time, the United States continues to be concerned with the ongoing effect of A. Q. Khan's illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya. To address these and other concerns, in October 2009, Congress enacted the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, which, among other things, limits certain security-related assistance to Pakistan each fiscal year from 2011 through 2014. Before the United States can provide security-related assistance to Pakistan in each of those fiscal years, the Secretary of State must certify that Pakistan continues to cooperate with the United States on dismantling nuclear networks. Pakistan demonstrated a sustained commitment to and made significant efforts toward combating terrorism in the preceding fiscal year, and Pakistan's security forces are not subverting the political and judicial processes of Pakistan. The Act also allows the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, to waive the limitations on security-related assistance if the Secretary determines that it is important to the national security interests of the United States to do so. The law did not set a specific date during the fiscal year to issue either a certification or a waiver. On March 18, 2011, the Department of State (State) issued its fiscal year 2011 certification. The Act also required GAO to conduct an independent analysis of the Secretary of State's certification and report to Congress on the results of its analysis. GAO is required to submit its analysis not later than 120 days after the Secretary of State makes the certification. This report responds to the GAO requirement by providing information on the amount of U.S. funding subject to the certification. To address the mandate further, we will issue a separate, classified product evaluating State's justification for certifying Pakistan's cooperation and progress. We are not making any recommendations in this report.
The Act limits the provision of security-related assistance to Pakistan through the Military Assistance Program, the Excess Defense Articles Program, and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for fiscal years 2011-2014 and arms transfers to Pakistan for fiscal years 2012-2014 unless the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, certifies to Congress that for each fiscal year: (1) The government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle nuclear supplier networks, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks. (2) The government of Pakistan has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and has made significant efforts toward combating terrorist groups during the preceding fiscal year, including taking into account progress made on matters such as: a. ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistani military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups; b. preventing al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan; and c. strengthening counterterrorism and anti-money-laundering laws. (3) Pakistan's security forces are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan. On March 18, 2011, the Secretary of State signed a certification attesting that Pakistan continues to cooperate with the United States on dismantling nuclear networks; Pakistan demonstrated a sustained commitment to and made significant efforts towards combating terrorism in the preceding fiscal year; and Pakistan's security forces are not subverting the political and judicial processes of Pakistan. As a result of State's certification, the United States can provide security-related assistance to Pakistan in fiscal year 2011. State originally requested $296 million in fiscal year 2011 in FMF for Pakistan. According to discussions with State Department officials and our review of the law and State budget requests, the Enhanced Partnership Act could limit about $350 million in FMF that State requested for Pakistan in fiscal year 2012. That is approximately 12 percent of the administration's fiscal year 2012 request of $3 billion for total foreign assistance to Pakistan. This leaves about 88 percent, or $2,615 million that is not limited. The FMF program provides grants for Pakistan's acquisition of U.S. defense articles, services, and training, primarily for activities related to counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. In the past, Pakistan had used these grants to refurbish or upgrade defense articles that the United States had provided under the Excess Defense Articles program, including Cobra helicopters, armored personnel carriers, and the frigate USS McInerney.