The Department of Defense (Defense), through its Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and with the Department of State (State), directs international efforts to train and equip Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). As part of these efforts, the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC) and the Navy spent about $120 million to procure small arms and light weapons for ANSF. International donors also provided weapons. GAO analyzed whether Defense can account for these weapons and ensure ANSF can safeguard and account for them. GAO reviewed Defense and State documents on accountability procedures, reviewed contractor reports on ANSF training, met with U.S. and Afghan officials, observed accountability practices, analyzed inventory records, and attempted to locate a random sample of weapons.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To help ensure that the United States can account for weapons that it procures or receives from international donors for ANSF, the Secretary of Defense should establish clear accountability procedures for weapons in the control and custody of the United States, and direct USASAC, CSTC-A, and other military organizations involved in providing these weapons to (1) track all weapons by serial number and (2) conduct routine physical inventories.|
|Department of Defense||2. To help ensure that ANSF units can safeguard and account for weapons and other sensitive equipment they receive from the United States and international donors, the Secretary of Defense should direct CSTC-A to (1) specifically and systematically assess the ability of each ANSF unit to safeguard and account for weapons in accordance with Afghan ministerial decrees and (2) explicitly verify that adequate safeguards and accountability procedures are in place, prior to providing weapons to ANSF units, unless a specific waiver or exception is granted based on due consideration of practicality, cost, and mission performance.|
|Department of Defense||3. The Secretary of Defense should devote the necessary resources to address the staffing shortages that hamper CSTC-A's efforts to train, mentor, and assess ANSF in equipment accountability matters.|