Iraq:

Characteristics of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq and How It Compares to Other DOD Security Cooperation Organizations

GAO-20-196R: Published: Nov 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2019.

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Brian M. Mazanec
(202) 512-5130
MazanecB@gao.gov

 

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The Office of Security Cooperation–Iraq, based in Baghdad, helps provide weapons, training, and other services to Iraq’s security forces. It manages over $15 billion in assistance.

This report consolidates information on the office’s activities and budget that we gave to congressional staff. The office’s activities included efforts to strengthen Iraqi defense institutions and regional military cooperation.

In May, the State Department ordered non-emergency personnel to leave Iraq, cutting the office’s staff by over half. State was still determining the number of positions needed in Iraq for the core mission as of September.

A military jet flying over land

A military jet flying over land

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Brian M. Mazanec
(202) 512-5130
MazanecB@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

What GAO Found

In fiscal year 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) obligated $36.8 million in operational funding for the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I). Prior to the ordered departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Iraq in May 2019, OSC-I’s chief reported to a Senior Defense Official-Defense Attaché who was responsible for overseeing OSC-I. OSC-I had five directorates that engaged in a variety of activities around three lines of effort: (1) defense institution building, (2) security assistance and building partner capacity, and (3) regional engagement. OSC-I had 103 authorized U.S. government positions engaged in a variety of activities with multiple elements of Iraq’s security forces, using additional authorities granted to OSC-I by Congress. OSC-I was the largest of the security cooperation organizations (SCO) managed by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), in terms of number of personnel and the amount of funding it received for its operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Two Senate reports accompanying the National Defense Authorization Acts for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 include provisions for GAO to review OSC-I’s operations and how they compare to those of other SCOs. This report consolidates information GAO provided to Congressional Committee staff between September 2018 and August 2019 in four enclosures on topic areas related to OSC-I’s (1) operational funding; (2) structure, activities, and size; (3) use of additional authorities granted to it by Congress; and (4) personnel and operational funding, in comparison to other SCOs in the region. GAO reviewed and analyzed fiscal year 2018 funding and staffing data for OSC-I and other CENTCOM-managed SCOs, OSC-I’s organizational charts and information on OSC-I’s activities, and documentation on OSC-I’s use of its additional authorities. GAO interviewed DOD and Department of State (State) officials in Washington, D.C., and traveled to Tampa, Florida, to interview CENTCOM officials and Baghdad, Iraq, to interview OSC-I, U.S. Embassy, and DOD officials.

For more information, contact Brian Mazanec at (202) 512-5130 or mazanecb@gao.gov.

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