FY 2003 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

GAO-03-627R: Published: Apr 8, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 2003.

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Joseph A. Christoff
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Under section 1308 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, the Department of Defense is to submit an annual report to Congress on its Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program no later than the first Monday in February of each year. The Department of Defense, however, submitted its CTR annual report for fiscal year 2003 to Congress on January 8, 2003, more than 11 months after the submission date mandated by law. The legislation also requires the Comptroller General to provide Congress with an assessment of the report's multiyear plan setting forth the amount and purpose of funding to be provided over the 5-year term of the plan and describing the department's efforts to ensure that CTR assistance is accounted for and used as intended. We reviewed the fiscal year 2003 annual CTR report and compared it with our assessment of the 2002 annual report. As with the 2002 report, we analyzed the 2003 report to determine whether it (1) provides a 5-year plan that sets forth the funding requirements for the program and includes key federal strategic planning elements and (2) describes the methods used to determine whether the assistance provided is used for the purposes intended. We also reviewed the 2003 report to determine if it addresses past open GAO recommendations. We did not assess the validity of the data contained in the 2003 annual CTR report because most of the information contained in the report was outdated due to its late submission to Congress.

In reviewing the CTR annual report submitted for fiscal year 2002, we found that it (1) did not clearly set forth the amount of CTR funding to be provided over the 5-year term of its plan, (2) did not include key federal strategic planning elements in the 5-year plan, (3) described the procedures CTR officials used to account for the assistance provided but in some instances asserted a more rigorous methodology than what was actually used, and (4) incorporated some but not all prior GAO recommendations. When comparing the 2002 CTR annual report with the 2003 report, we found that the Department of Defense had corrected some of the weaknesses we had previously identified. Primarily, the 2003 report clearly provides the required funding information for each program objective through fiscal year 2007, the 5-year period covered by the plan. For fiscal years 2002 through 2007, the Department of Defense estimates that it may spend more than $2.3 billion. However, the 2003 report continues to omit key federal strategic planning elements contained in the Government Performance and Results Act. Such planning elements could help guide preparation of annual CTR budgets. The current report excludes (1) external factors that could impact program goals, (2) annual performance goals that are linked to long-term program goals, and (3) evaluation plans that could help determine or revise program goals. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency that oversees the implementation of the CTR program has begun including such federal planning elements in its internal strategic plan.

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