Foreign Aid:

Police Training and Assistance

NSIAD-92-118: Published: Mar 5, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on U.S. training and assistance provided to foreign law enforcement personnel, focusing on the: (1) legislative authority for providing training and assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies and personnel; (2) extent and cost of U.S. activities; and (3) opinions of academic and legal experts on current U.S. assistance to foreign police.

GAO found that: (1) Congress enacted legislation in 1973 and 1974 that prohibited the use of foreign economic or military assistance funds for police training and related programs in foreign countries, but subsequently granted numerous exemptions to permit assistance in some countries and in various aspects of police force development, including material and weapons support, force management, narcotics control, and counterterrorism tactics; (3) the 1974 prohibition did not apply to the use of funds by other such agencies as the Departments of Justice or Transportation to train or assist foreign law enforcement personnel; and (4) although some U.S. departments and agencies do not maintain data or regularly report on the total extent or cost of assistance they provide to foreign police, GAO identified 125 countries that received U.S. training and assistance for their police forces at a cost of at least $117 million. GAO also found that current and former U.S. government officials and academic experts involved in assisting foreign police forces stated that the U.S. government lacks: (1) a clear policy on the role of U.S. assistance to police forces in the new and emerging democracies; (2) clearly defined program objectives; (3) a focal point for coordination and decision making; and (4) a means for determining whether individual programs and activities support U.S. policy.

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