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    Federal Agency: "Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs"

    2 publications with a total of 3 open recommendations
    Director: Stephen L. Caldwell
    Phone: (202) 512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to counter piracy and maritime crime are coordinated and prioritized to effectively address the evolving threat, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, in collaboration with the Secretaries of Defense and State, should work through the Counter-Piracy Steering Group or otherwise collaborate with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Transportation, and the Treasury, and the Attorney General to determine whether additional actions to address counterpiracy and maritime security, such as developing an action plan that includes elements of a strategic approach, are needed to guide and coordinate activities.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2014, the Executive Office of the President issued the United States Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan, which includes an annex specific to activities in and around the Gulf of Guinea. While the plan outlines some of the planned indicators of effectiveness for activities in and around the Gulf of Guinea, the extent to which the agencies have assessed or plan to assess costs and benefits are not explicitly addressed. The plan states that the Counter Piracy Steering Group will coordinate, implement, and monitor the objectives outlined in the plan and will assess methods and agency activities to reduce risk and protect the maritime industry from acts of piracy and related maritime crime. The plan identifies an increase in investigating and prosecuting cases and a reduction in the trend of piracy and related maritime crime as tangible indicators of successful implementation of the plan. However, GAO's past work on piracy off the Horn of Africa recommended that, as part of a strategic approach, agencies (1) identify the costs of U.S. counterpiracy efforts including operational, support, and personnel costs; and (2) assess the benefits, and effectiveness of U.S. counterpiracy activities. The 2014 plan and its Gulf of Guinea annex do not include a discussion of these elements of a strategic approach. In August 2017, neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of State (the co-chairs of the Counter Piracy Steering Group) provided an update on the extent to which they have collectively or individually addressed the assessment of costs and benefits for activities in and around the Gulf of Guinea. Including these elements in the plan can help assess the effectiveness of current efforts, prioritize future efforts, and leverage resources. GAO will continue to monitor progress in this area.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To streamline and eliminate potential for fragmentation and overlap among U.S. government programs involved in preventing and detecting smuggling of nuclear materials, equipment, and technologies overseas, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs should undertake--or direct and delegate an appropriate agency or agencies to undertake--a comprehensive review of the structure, scope, and composition of agencies and programs across the federal government involved in such efforts. Such a review should assess several issues, including: (1) the level of overlap and duplication among agencies and programs, especially in the provision of nuclear detection equipment and in training provided to foreign border security, customs, and law enforcement officials; (2) potential for consolidation of these functions to fewer programs and agencies; (3) the feasibility, costs, and benefits of establishing a special coordinator to preside over the allocation of U.S. counter-nuclear-smuggling assistance to foreign nations and be responsible for directing the interagency process of development, funding, and implementation of all U.S. government programs related to combating nuclear smuggling overseas; and (4) any U.S. laws that would need to be amended by Congress in order to facilitate consolidation, elimination, or other changes to existing programs.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs has not demonstrated progress on comprehensively reviewing the structure, scope, and composition of agencies and programs across the federal government involved in efforts to combat nuclear smuggling overseas, as GAO recommended in December 2011. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs did not comment on the December 2011 recommendation. The National Security Council Staff (NSCS), who assist the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, informed GAO in November 2012 that the recommendation had been provided to the appropriate NSCS directorate for consideration in the NSCS-led interagency policy committee process. However, the NSCS did not provide further information, except for stating that the issue was being addressed within the interagency process. GAO most recently contacted the NSCS for additional information in August 2016 on the actions the NSCS had taken or intended to take, if any, to implement the recommendation. In November 2016, NSCS informed GAO that they had no comments on the recommendation. In the absence of more specific information from NSCS, GAO was unable to conclude that this recommendation has been addressed.
    Recommendation: Following this review, to ensure remaining programs are being coordinated and implemented effectively, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs should issue new guidance that incorporates the elements of effective strategic plans, including clearly delineating the roles and missions of relevant programs, specific priorities and objectives, performance measures and targets, overall program cost estimates, and projected time frames for program completion.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs has not demonstrated progress on issuing new guidance for federal programs combating nuclear smuggling overseas that includes the elements of effective strategic plans, as GAO recommended in December 2011. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs did not comment on the December 2011 recommendation. The National Security Council Staff (NSCS), who assist the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, informed GAO in November 2012 that the recommendation had been provided to the appropriate NSCS directorate for consideration in the NSCS-led interagency policy committee process. However, NSCS did not provide further information, except for stating that the issue was being addressed within the interagency process. GAO most recently contacted the NSCS in August 2016 to request additional information on the actions the NSCS had taken or intended to take, if any, to implement the recommendation. In November 2016, NSCS informed GAO that they had no comments on the recommendation. In the absence of more specific information from NSCS, GAO was unable to conclude that this recommendation has been addressed.