Drug Control:

Oversight Needed to Prevent Acquisition of Unnecessary Equipment

NSIAD-92-260: Published: Jul 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the procurement and modification of aircraft and other equipment used for drug detection and monitoring, focusing on: (1) whether equipment acquisitions met the Department of Defense's (DOD), the U.S. Customs Service's, and the U.S. Coast Guard's legitimate requirements; and (2) whether the agencies coordinated their acquisitions.

GAO found that: (1) each agency determines its own needs and acquisition plans for drug detection and monitoring equipment; (2) no agency routinely oversees or coordinates acquisitions to ensure that acquisitions are justified and nonduplicative; (3) the National Guard and the Coast Guard both acquired aircraft for which they had no valid requirements; (4) the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) presently reviews and certifies each agency's annual budget request, thus verifying that planned programs meet requirements of the National Drug Control Strategy; and (5) ONDCP already coordinates the agencies' operations through interagency coordinating committees and the National Counter-drug Planning Process.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Whether ONDCP will act on this recommendation given the extent of its downsizing is doubtful.

    Recommendation: To prevent counterdrug funds from being spent unnecessarily on acquisition of detection and monitoring equipment, the Director, ONDCP, should certify that: (1) budget requests to acquire detection and monitoring equipment are based on valid requirements derived from the national drug-threat assessment; and (2) the requirements cannot be met with existing or planned resources in the federal inventory. This certification process should employ, to the extent practicable, the coordination mechanisms already in place via various interagency committees.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD intends to continually validate the need for the UC 26.

    Recommendation: The DOD Coordinator for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support should disapprove all future requests for counterdrug funds for the UC-26C program unless a valid counterdrug requirement for the aircraft is established and the Coordinator's office verifies that the requirement cannot be met with existing or planned assets of either DOD or another interdiction agency.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GAO has not received the Coast Guard's formal response and will not be able to tell what the National Guard plans until they revalidate the requirement. Even then, they don't plan to get rid of the UC-26 as they maintain that it will be used to perform a nondrug mission.

    Recommendation: The Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Commandant of the Coast Guard should declare, respectively, the UC-26C and the EC-130V aircraft excess unless a validated requirement is established.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: National Guard Bureau

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GAO has not received the Coast Guard's formal response and will not be able to tell what the National Guard plans until it revalidate the requirement. Even then, they don't plan to get rid of the UC-26, as they maintain that it will be used to perform a nondrug mission.

    Recommendation: The Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Commandant of the Coast Guard should declare, respectively, the UC-26C and the EC-130V aircraft excess unless a validated requirement is established.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: United States Coast Guard

 

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