United Nations:

U.S. Participation in Peacekeeping Operations

NSIAD-92-247: Published: Sep 9, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of State's management of U.S. interests in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, focusing on the: (1) processes for establishing, financing, and implementing UN peacekeeping missions; (2) effectiveness of State's oversight of U.S. interests in these operations; and (3) Department of Defense's (DOD) role in supporting UN peacekeeping activities.

GAO found that: (1) several UN bodies, including the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Secretariat, are responsible for establishing and overseeing peacekeeping operations; (2) peacekeeping operations are financed through special assessments, and the United States pays for about 30 percent of total peacekeeping costs; (3) the growing number of peacekeeping operations places a significant financial burden on the United States at a time when other countries may have a greater capacity than in the past to share in peacekeeping costs; (4) State has primary responsibility for overseeing U.S. participation in UN peacekeeping operations and for ensuring that U.S.-provided resources are well spent; (5) State has not conducted field-level monitoring of the economy and efficiency of these operations, and opportunities exist to reduce costs and improve efficiency; (6) UN requests for DOD assistance have expanded, but DOD has not been required to track and report expenses incurred and has not billed UN for all reimbursable costs; and (7) other regional and international organizations have peacekeeping roles that complement UN efforts, but use of these organizations has both advantages and disadvantages.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to an unclassified summary of PPD 25, "When U.S. military personnel, goods or services are used for UN peace operations, DOD will receive direct and full reimbursement; reimbursement can only be waived in exceptional circumstances, and only by the President." Furthermore, according to P.L. 103-236, "It is the sense of the Senate that beginning October 1, 1995, funds made available to the Department of Defense (including funds for "Operations and Maintenance") shall be available for...the unreimbursable incremental costs associated with the participation of United States Armed Forces in any UN peacekeeping operation...only to the extent that Congress has authorized, appropriated, or otherwise approved funds for such purpose."

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Defense should resolve peacekeeping reimbursement issues so that the United States can respond more quickly to UN airlift requests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD has updated some procedures for providing logistical support to U.N. peacekeeping as part of its implementation of presidential decision directive 25--the U.S. policy to reform peacekeeping. However, GAO's 1995-1997 reports addressed these issues in more detail and the findings are now being considered by the House and Senate in proposed legislation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should update policies and procedures for providing DOD logistics support to UN peacekeeping forces and ensure that: (1) reimbursable costs are properly billed and controlled; and (2) required financial activity reports are prepared and distributed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to DOD, it has implemented actions to account for and report DOD peacekeeping assistance. The Army has been designated the executive agency with overall responsibility to carry out the actions.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should account for and report DOD peacekeeping assistance to ensure that the United States receives recognition for its peacekeeping contributions, including personnel costs, per diem transportation, and other related costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Military advisors are assigned to State's new peacekeeping efforts.

    Recommendation: When conducting field-level monitoring of peacekeeping activities involving DOD personnel or resources, State should consult with DOD to afford its officials an opportunity to participate in this monitoring.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Effective July 8, 1993, State established an Office of Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations responsible for managing U.S. policy with regard to UN peace and security operations. The Office has a staff of 12 and has visited most of the ongoing peacekeeping operations.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should incorporate field-level monitoring into State's management of U.S. interests in UN peacekeeping activities to identify opportunities and, where appropriate, recommend improvements to the economy and efficiency of peacekeeping operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Public Law 103-236--the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995--reduces the U.S. share of peacekeeping costs to 25 percent beginning in fiscal year 1996. After consultation with Congress, the Administration produced Presidential Decision Directive 25 that, according to an unclassified summary, "orders that GAO work to reduce the peacekeeping assessment percentage from the current 31.7 percent to 25 percent by January 1, 1996..."

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the U.S. Representative to the UN to seek support for re-examining the basis for, and equity of, the special UN assessment scale for peacekeeping operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  7. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On July 29, 1994, the UN General Assembly approved the appointment of an Under Secretary General for Internal Oversight Service (IOS). GAO analysis of the IOS mandate indicated that the Office, if properly implemented, would allow the operational independence to perform functions substantially similar to those performed by the Offices of Inspector General established under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the U.S. Representative to the UN to seek support for requiring that the Secretary General periodically report to member countries on the status of principal internal audit findings and recommendations regarding peacekeeping operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, at its summer session, requested the Secretary General to improve on the reports and presentations on financing peacekeeping operations and to provide more evaluations and analysis in terms of the major items of expenditure. The United States will be taking additional actions to encourage UN to make modifications in its peacekeeping budget procedures.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the U.S. Representative to the UN to seek support for examining the adequacy of the processes and resources used by General Assembly committees in reviewing peacekeeping budgets.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to an unclassified summary of PPD 25, "When U.S. military personnel, goods or services are used for UN peace operations, DOD will receive direct and full reimbursement; reimbursement can only be waived in exceptional circumstances, and only by the President." Furthermore, according to P.L. 103-236, "It is the sense of the Senate that beginning October 1, 1995, funds made available to the Department of Defense (including funds for "Operations and Maintenance") shall be available for...the unreimbursable incremental costs associated with the participation of United States Armed Forces in any UN peacekeeping operation...only to the extent that Congress has authorized, appropriated, or otherwise approved funds for such purposes."

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Defense should resolve peacekeeping reimbursement issues so that the United States can respond more quickly to UN airlift requests.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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