Jordan:

Suspension of U.S. Military Assistance During Gulf Crisis

NSIAD-92-343: Published: Sep 25, 1992. Publicly Released: Oct 2, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) reviewed the policy related to the delivery of defense articles to Jordan under the security assistance program; (2) determined whether deliveries were terminated at any time; (3) identified the number and types of defense articles that were delivered; (4) identified defense articles procured, but not delivered, and their current status; and (5) examined whether Congress was adequately informed of these actions.

GAO found that: (1) actions taken by the State Department to suspend military assistance to Jordan were of short duration and not well implemented; (2) while State placed a hold on the approval of all new Foreign Military Sales (FMS) letters of offer and acceptance for Jordan, 12 new letters were approved after the hold; (3) State did not suspend all licenses and other written approvals for the export of defense articles to Jordan until February 6, 1991, and the suspension only remained for 1 month; (4) State's failure to provide written instructions to the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA) caused delays and confusion as to the full scope and intent of the suspension; (5) military depots continued to deliver defense articles to Jordan's freight forwarder while the suspension was in effect; (6) State did notify the Customs Service in writing of its decision to suspend defense article exports to Jordan, but failed to notify Jordan's freight forwarder, as applicable regulations required; and (7) although State was not legally required to notify Congress of its actions, officials inaccurately described the timing and scope of their actions to halt military assistance to Jordan.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To minimize the risk of the unauthorized export of defense articles when it is determined that a suspension of deliveries is warranted, the Secretary of State should require the Office of Defense Trade Controls to immediately notify applicants and licensees, such as freight forwarders, of all license suspensions in accordance with section 126.7 of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. This step would clarify whether or not a suspension has been placed in effect.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: State argues that it followed regulations and acted in accordance with ITAR. State believes that it is not required to notify the freight forwarder of suspensions. GAO's position is that the freight forwarder functions as a licensee and is party to the export. The recommendation should be closed because State Department officials have stated that they are under no obligation to notify licensees of a license suspension unless the suspension will be in effect for an extended period. The officials have argued that the Jordan suspension was "informal" and therefore required no notification.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs and the Director, DSAA, should jointly develop procedures for quickly and effectively implementing suspensions of foreign military assistance. Such procedures would prevent delays in implementation of State Department policy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Security Assistance Agency

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agrees with the recommendation. As a result of a State Department review, new mechanisms have been put in place, including a record of all decisions to suspend transfers of military assistance and a standardized format for communicating those decisions. Since the time of the Jordan suspension, State has established a computer database that contains all significant decisions affecting the status of security assistance programs for any country. Such improved operating procedures are reflected in the effective implementation of suspending military assistance to Peru as dicussed in the report.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs and the Director, DSAA, should jointly develop procedures for quickly and effectively implementing suspensions of foreign military assistance. Such procedures would prevent delays in implementation of State Department policy.

    Agency Affected: Department of State: Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State agrees with the recommendation and has put in place new mechanisms including a record of all decisions to suspend transfers of military assistance and a standardized format for communicating these decisions. Since the time of the Jordan suspension, State has established a computerized database that provides the status of security assistance programs for a country. Such improved operating procedures are reflected in the effective implementation of suspending military assistance to Peru as discussed in the report. To date, however, State has not provided documentation in support of these actions.

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