Global War on Terrorism: DOD Should Consider All Funds Requested for the War When Determining Needs and Covering Expenses

GAO-05-767 Published: Sep 28, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2005.
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Highlights

To assist the Congress in its oversight role, GAO is undertaking a series of reviews on the costs of operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). In related work, GAO is raising concerns about the reliability of the Department of Defense's (DOD) reported cost data and therefore is unable to ensure that DOD's reported obligations for GWOT are complete, reliable, and accurate. In this report, GAO (1) identified funding for GWOT in fiscal years 2004 and 2005, (2) compared supplemental appropriations for GWOT in fiscal year 2004 to the military services' reported obligations, and (3) compared supplemental appropriations for GWOT in fiscal year 2005 to the military services' projected obligations.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Because DOD did not concur with our recommendation to adjust its future supplemental appropriations requests to reflect the additional funds the department requested and received in its annual appropriations to support GWOT and explain these adjustments to the Congress, we have no confidence that the Congress will receive the information that we believe the Congress needs to properly assess DOD's requests for supplemental appropriations to support the war. Further, because the amount of funds DOD is receiving to support GWOT through its annual appropriations is substantial--more than $10 billion annually--the Congress may wish to consider directing DOD, when it submits future supplemental appropriations requests, to provide an explanation of how such requests reflect the funds DOD requested and already received in its annual appropriations to support GWOT.
Closed – Implemented
On July 25, 2005, we briefed the results of our findings to the Senate Appropriations' Defense Subcommittee who found this information useful and, working with House conferees, reduced DOD's appropriations in FY 2006 for Operation Noble Eagle by $540.4 million. The reduction was implemented in the final bill signed by the President on December 30, 2005. This action is consistent with our September 2005 report and addresses the intent of our recommendation that DOD adjust supplemental appropriations to reflect the additional funds DOD requested and received in its annual appropriations to support Global War on Terror.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To improve the visibility and accountability of DOD's use of funds for GWOT, the Secretary of Defense, in future requests for supplemental appropriations, should adjust such requests to reflect the additional funds DOD requested and received in its annual appropriations to support GWOT and provide the Congress with an explanation of these adjustments.
Closed – Not Implemented
The Department has been unable to say if the funds provided for Global War on Terror (GWOT) were actually used to cover its GWOT expenses. We are therefore closing the recommendation as not implemented.
Department of Defense Further, in addressing any future GWOT funding needs, the Secretary of Defense should consider the additional GWOT funds provided through the department's annual appropriation when assessing how to cover expenses for the war and document its decisions.
Closed – Not Implemented
The Department has been unable to say if the funds provided for Global War on Terror (GWOT) were actually used to cover its GWOT expenses. We are therefore closing the recommendation as not implemented.

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