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Highlights

Since 1992, the Congress has provided more than $7 billion for threat reduction and nonproliferation programs in the former Soviet Union (FSU). These programs have played a key role in addressing the threats of weapons of mass destruction and are currently expanding beyond the FSU. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 mandated that GAO assess (1) Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) strategies guiding their threat reduction and nonproliferation programs and (2) efforts to coordinate DOD, DOE, and Department of State threat reduction and nonproliferation programs that share similar missions.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretaries of Defense and Energy should, in consultation with other agencies involved in threat reduction and nonproliferation programs, develop an integrated plan for all U.S. threat reduction and nonproliferation programs to ensure that the programs are effectively coordinated and address all threats. The results of this review should be reported to the Congress as part of the President's response to section 1339 of the Fiscal Year 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which requires the President to submit a report after each presidential inauguration on threat reduction and nonproliferation objectives and how executive branch efforts will be coordinated.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not indicate whether it concurred with this recommendation. In April 2007, DOD officials told us they believe that the NSC is the proper government organization to act on this recommendation. In May 2008 officials reiterated that they had not seen a government wide strategy developed by the NSC, but that coordination of programs was on-going thru the NSC.
Department of Energy 2. The Secretaries of Defense and Energy should, in consultation with other agencies involved in threat reduction and nonproliferation programs, develop an integrated plan for all U.S. threat reduction and nonproliferation programs to ensure that the programs are effectively coordinated and address all threats. The results of this review should be reported to the Congress as part of the President's response to section 1339 of the Fiscal Year 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which requires the President to submit a report after each presidential inauguration on threat reduction and nonproliferation objectives and how executive branch efforts will be coordinated.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOE indicated that they believe that the necessary coordination occurs , appropriately, within the NSC. They stated that an interagency working group coordinates Executive Branch Agencies nonproliferation efforts and implements the policies associated with the threat reduction and nonproliferation programs. In follow up conversation in April 2007 and May 2008, agency officials indicated that they had no additional information to provide us.
Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs 3. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs should, through the NSC staff, lead the development of a plan guiding the implementation and coordination of threat reduction and nonproliferation programs addressing border security as they have done with the programs addressing the employment of biological weapons scientists. This plan should identify U.S. government goals and objectives, designate departments' roles and responsibilities, and establish procedures to resolve policy and program disputes.
Closed - Not Implemented
The National Security Council did not provide comments on our proposed recommendation or our draft report. Repeated efforts to contact NSC staff regarding this recommendation were not successful.

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