Since September 11, 2001, Congress has provided about $808 billion to the Department of Defense (DOD) for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) in addition to funding in DOD's base budget. Prior GAO reports have found DOD's reported GWOT cost data unreliable and found problems with transparency over certain costs. In response, DOD has made several changes to its cost-reporting procedures. Congress has shown interest in increasing the transparency of DOD's cost reporting and funding requests for GWOT. Under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative, GAO assessed (1) DOD's progress in improving the accuracy and reliability of its GWOT cost reporting, and (2) DOD's methodology for reporting GWOT costs by contingency operation. For this engagement, GAO analyzed GWOT cost data and applicable guidance, as well as DOD's corrective actions.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. In order to improve the transparency and reliability of DOD's reported obligations for GWOT by contingency operation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to develop a plan and timetable for evaluating whether expenses not directly attributable to specific GWOT contingency operations are incremental costs and should continue to be funded outside of DOD's base budget.|
|Department of Defense||2. In order to improve the transparency and reliability of DOD's reported obligations for GWOT by contingency operation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to ensure DOD components establish an auditable and documented methodology for determining what portion of GWOT costs is attributable to Operation Iraqi Freedom versus Operation Enduring Freedom when actual costs are not available.|