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Highlights

Since 2002, destroying the terrorist threat and closing the terrorist safe haven have been key national security goals. The United States has provided Pakistan, a key ally in the war on terror, more than $10.5 billion for military, economic, and development activities. Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which border Afghanistan, are vast unpoliced regions attractive to extremists and terrorists seeking a safe haven. GAO was asked to assess (1) the progress in meeting these national security goals for Pakistan's FATA, and (2) the status of U.S. efforts to develop a comprehensive plan for the FATA. To address these objectives, GAO compared national security goals against assessments conducted by U.S. agencies and reviewed available plans.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Security Council 1. The National Security Advisor and the Director of the NCTC should, in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and State, and the Administrator of USAID, the intelligence community, and other executive departments as deemed appropriate, implement the congressional mandate to develop a comprehensive plan using all elements of national power to combat the terrorist threat and close their safe haven in Pakistan's FATA region. The comprehensive plan should also include key components called for in the Intelligence Reform Act, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, and components that we have previously reported as being needed to improve the effectiveness of plans involving multidepartmental efforts to combat terrorism. The plan should (1) place someone directly in charge of this multidepartment effort to improve accountability; (2) articulate a clear strategy to implement the national security goal to destroy terrorists and close the safe haven in the FATA; (3) clarify roles and responsibilities of each department for implementing the goal; (4) provide guidance on setting funding priorities and providing resources to meet these national security goals; and (5) require a monitoring system and provide periodic reports to Congress on the progress and impediments to meeting national security goals in Pakistan.
Closed - Implemented
This report brought renewed Congressional attention to the issue of Pakistan oversight. For example, in May 2008, the Acting Comptroller General testified in front of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs on the lack of a comprehensive plan for U.S. efforts in Pakistan. Later, Congress passed the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which authorized appropriations for FY 2010-2014 to promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan. This Act specifically cites GAO-08-622 in its findings. The Act states a Sense of Congress that paraphrases our recommendation, stating that "the achievement of U.S. national security goals to eliminate terrorism threats and close safe havens in Pakistan requires the development of a comprehensive plan that utilizes all elements of national power ... " Based on this Sense of Congress, the Act then directs the President to develop a Comprehensive Regional Stabilization Strategy. The Act requires further oversight by U.S. agencies, such as a Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report to the Congress, as well as semi-annual monitoring reports on its implementation. The Act also contains specific oversight mandates for GAO in Pakistan, including an independent review of the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report. In July 2009, the NSC distributed a classified Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) that GAO believes addresses our recommendation. For more information, contact Charles Johnson, Director, International Affairs and Trade, at 202-512-7331.
Other 2. The National Security Advisor and the Director of the NCTC should, in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and State, and the Administrator of USAID, the intelligence community, and other executive departments as deemed appropriate, implement the congressional mandate to develop a comprehensive plan using all elements of national power to combat the terrorist threat and close their safe haven in Pakistan's FATA region. The comprehensive plan should also include key components called for in the Intelligence Reform Act, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, and components that we have previously reported as being needed to improve the effectiveness of plans involving multidepartmental efforts to combat terrorism. The plan should (1) place someone directly in charge of this multidepartment effort to improve accountability; (2) articulate a clear strategy to implement the national security goal to destroy terrorists and close the safe haven in the FATA; (3) clarify roles and responsibilities of each department for implementing the goal; (4) provide guidance on setting funding priorities and providing resources to meet these national security goals; and (5) require a monitoring system and provide periodic reports to Congress on the progress and impediments to meeting national security goals in Pakistan.
Closed - Implemented
This report brought renewed Congressional attention to the issue of Pakistan oversight. For example, in May 2008, the Acting Comptroller General testified in front of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs on the lack of a comprehensive plan for U.S. efforts in Pakistan. Later, Congress passed the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which authorized appropriations for FY 2010-2014 to promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan. This Act specifically cites GAO-08-622 in its findings. The Act states a Sense of Congress that paraphrases our recommendation, stating that "the achievement of U.S. national security goals to eliminate terrorism threats and close safe havens in Pakistan requires the development of a comprehensive plan that utilizes all elements of national power ... " Based on this Sense of Congress, the Act then directs the President to develop a Comprehensive Regional Stabilization Strategy. The Act requires further oversight by U.S. agencies, such as a Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report to the Congress, as well as semi-annual monitoring reports on its implementation. The Act also contains specific oversight mandates for GAO in Pakistan, including an independent review of the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report. In July 2009, the NSC distributed a classified Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) that GAO believes addresses our recommendation. For more information, contact Charles Johnson, Director, International Affairs and Trade, at 202-512-7331.

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