Peacekeeping:

Assessment of U.S. Participation in the Multinational Force and Observers

NSIAD-95-113: Published: Aug 15, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S participation in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), focusing on: (1) U.S. contributions to MFO and measures taken to reduce MFO costs; (2) the operational impacts of U.S. participation in MFO; (3) the Department of State's oversight of U.S. participation in MFO; and (4) views of MFO performance and lessons learned.

GAO found that: (1) the United States provides one-third of MFO operating expenses and the largest military contingent; (2) while U.S. annual assessments of MFO operating costs have steadily declined since 1989, the Department of Defense's (DOD) costs have increased, mainly due to salary increases; (3) Army operations have been impacted by the cumulative effects of DOD contingency efforts, but opportunities may exist to reduce the impact by reducing the number of logistical troops and using reserve forces; (4) despite MFO operational success and its ability to reduce certain costs, State needs to improve its oversight of U.S. participation in MFO because of inadequate internal controls and auditing procedures and the quality of its reporting to Congress; and (5) State and international officials view MFO as an operationally effective peacekeeping operation that has helped sustain peace between Egypt and Israel since 1982, while DOD views MFO as a limited operation that is not applicable to more hostile peacekeeping environments.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The agency has changed its operating procedures to include examination of the MFO annual financial statements, and has assured GAO that its 1995 report includes such action.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should improve the oversight of MFO by examining the MFO annual published financial statements for discrepancies.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The agency has changed its operating procedures to include examination of the MFO annual financial statements, and has assured GAO that its latest report includes such action.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should improve the oversight of MFO by requesting and reviewing all reports issued by MFO external auditors.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has requested in a letter to MFO that the external auditor periodically perform a separate audit of MFO management and internal accounting controls and provide a copy to State.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should request MFO to have its external auditor periodically perform a separate audit of MFO management and internal accounting controls and provide a copy to State.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The State Department has included the U.S. annual assessment cost contribution of one-third of the MFO operating costs in its 1995 report to Congress on MFO.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should include the U.S. annual assessment cost contribution of one-third of the MFO operating costs in its annual report to Congress on the MFO.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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