Drug Control:

ONDCP Efforts to Manage the National Drug Control Budget

GGD-99-80: Published: May 14, 1999. Publicly Released: May 14, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the role of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in shaping the national drug control budget that the President ultimately proposes to Congress to implement the National Drug Control Strategy, focusing on: (1) whether the process ONDCP followed to certify federal agencies' drug control budgets for fiscal year (FY) 1999 was consistent with statutory requirements; and (2) the system ONDCP has developed to assess the extent to which drug control agencies and programs achieve intended results.

GAO noted that: (1) the process ONDCP used to certify FY 1999 drug budgets was generally consistent with the requirements of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988; (2) ONDCP provided budget guidance to agencies and reviewed some agencies' preliminary budgets in the summer and others in the fall; (3) based on its budget reviews, ONDCP notified agencies of recommended changes to incorporate into their final budgets that were submitted to the President for approval; (4) ONDCP reviewed budgets of 14 drug control agencies specifically for certification to determine whether they were adequate to support the goals and objectives of the National Drug Control Strategy; (5) ONDCP certified all but the Department of Defense (DOD) budget; (6) DOD was not certified because DOD and ONDCP could not agree on funding levels for certain drug program initiatives; (7) later, however, DOD's budget was significantly increased following ONDCP's appeals to the Office of Management and Budget and the President; (8) ONDCP continued to monitor development of the national drug control budget during the remaining budget and congressional appropriations process; (9) to assess the extent to which agencies and programs achieve intended results, ONDCP has initiated a system known as Performance Measures of Effectiveness--a long-term effort designed to assess the effectiveness of the nation's drug control efforts; (10) although this system represents a blueprint for the first accountability in the area of drug policy, some questions remain about: (a) the availability of adequate data to measure performance; (b) how the system is to interface with the drug budget process; and (c) how agencies will link the performance expected of them by the National Strategy with the performance goals they prepare in response to the Government Performance and Results Act; and (11) ONDCP plans to continually monitor the system's operation to ensure that it is fully functional and achieving its designed purpose.

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