DOD Should Increase Visibility and Accountability Over Equipment Provided to Iraq's Security Forces
GAO-17-771T: Published: Jul 25, 2017. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2017.
The United States has provided over $2 billion in equipment to Iraq's security forces through the Iraq Train and Equip Fund to counter the expansion of ISIS.
However, the Department of Defense does not collect timely and accurate transportation information about the equipment purchased through the fund. As a result, DOD can't demonstrate that this equipment reached its intended destinations in Iraq.
In this testimony, we reiterated previous recommendations that DOD improve its systems and procedures (such as how it records key transportation data) to better track this equipment. DOD has begun taking steps to address these recommendations.
The Iraq Train and Equip Fund Equipping Process
Figure with maps illustrating military equipment going from the United States to Iraq.
What GAO Found
Our review found that the Department of Defense (DOD) maintains limited visibility and accountability over Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF)-funded equipment using the Security Cooperation Information Portal (SCIP) from acquisition through transfer to the government of Iraq or the Kurdistan Regional Government. DOD maintains the web-based SCIP to provide U.S. government personnel and others with access to information on the status of DOD-purchased equipment for Iraq and other foreign governments. Specifically, DOD is not ensuring that SCIP is consistently capturing key transportation dates of ITEF-funded equipment. While we did not independently determine the root cause for this issue, DOD officials attributed the lack of key transportation dates to potential interoperability and data reporting issues in SCIP. In addition, we found that DOD cannot fully account for ITEF-funded equipment transfers because of missing or incomplete transfer documentation.
Why GAO Did This Study
In 2014, Congress authorized the creation of ITEF to provide equipment and other assistance to Iraq’s security forces, including the Kurdish and tribal security forces, to counter the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. As of December 2016, DOD had disbursed about $2 billion of the $2.3 billion Congress appropriated for ITEF in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to purchase personal protective and communications equipment, weapons, and vehicles for these forces.
GAO was asked to review DOD’s accountability of ITEF-funded equipment. In a May 2017 report, entitled Iraq: DOD Needs to Improve Visibility and Accountability Over Equipment Provided to Iraq’s Security Forces (GAO-17-433), GAO assessed the extent to which DOD maintains visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment from acquisition through transfer to the government of Iraq or the Kurdistan Regional Government. This testimony summarizes the findings and recommendations from that report.
What GAO Recommends
In its May 2017 report, GAO made four recommendations that the Secretary of Defense:
- (1) identify the root causes, such as potential interoperability and data reporting issues within SCIP and other DOD data systems, for why DOD components are not ensuring that ITEF-funded equipment transportation dates are captured in SCIP;
- (2) develop an action plan with associated milestones and time frames for addressing these root causes;
- (3) develop written procedures that specify under which data field ITEF-funded equipment transfer dates should be captured in the Enhanced Freight Tracking System (EFTS) in SCIP; and,
- (4) update the 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s (1st TSC’s) written standard operating procedures to include the 1st TSC commander’s verbal order requiring the inclusion of unique equipment case identifier information for ITEF-funded equipment on transfer documentation.
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