DOD Counterdrug Activities:

Reported Costs Do Not Reflect Extent of DOD's Support

NSIAD-98-231: Published: Sep 23, 1998. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the full extent of the Department of Defense's (DOD) drug interdiction and other counterdrug activities, for fiscal year (FY) 1994 through FY 1998, focusing on: (1) the total operating and support (O&S) costs that can be associated with counterdrug activities; (2) the share of the original procurement costs of those weapons systems most often used by the active component in counterdrug activities; and (3) the amount of assistance DOD provided under section 506(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Foreign Assistance Act.

GAO noted that: (1) there are significant O&S costs for counterdrug activities that are not reflected in DOD's counterdrug reported costs and funding requests; (2) these include costs associated with military services' weapon systems and costs for deployed personnel who are not assigned to specific weapon systems; (3) the costs associated with weapons systems, if allocated to counterdrug activities, would total in excess of $2 billion for FY 1994 through FY 1996; (4) the number of military personnel deployed in the United States who were not assigned to specific weapon systems totalled about 14,000; (5) these individuals were assigned for various time periods between FY 1994 and FY 1996; (6) although GAO did not estimate the support costs for these personnel, they would be in addition to the costs reported by DOD and the $2 billion GAO estimated; (7) according to DOD officials, these O&S costs are not included in DOD's counterdrug budgets because they pertain to the existing force structure that supports the national defense mission and would be incurred regardless of the type of operations conducted; (8) this practice is consistent with the way DOD reports incremental costs for contingency operations; (9) the military services use numerous weapon systems for counterdrug activities that were purchased to support the national military strategy; (10) the weapon systems most often used for counterdrug activities were the Air Force's E-3 aircraft, the Army's UH-60 helicopter, and the Navy's P-3 aircraft and Perry class frigate; (11) with the assistance of service officials, GAO developed a methodology to allocate to counterdrug activities a share of the original procurement costs of these systems; (12) using this methodology, GAO calculated that about $150 million of the procurement costs for these four systems could be allocated to counterdrug activities for FY 1994 through FY 1997; (14) in FY 1994 and FY 1995, there were no transfers of articles and services to foreign countries under section 506(a)(2); and (15) in FY 1996 and FY 1997, a total of $131 million in articles and services were transferred from DOD under this authority.

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