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Highlights

U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have spent billions of dollars to develop Afghanistan. From fiscal years 2004 to 2008, DOD has reported obligations of about $1 billion for its Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP), which enables commanders to respond to urgent humanitarian and reconstruction needs. As troop levels increase, DOD officials expect the program to expand. Under the authority of the Comptroller General, GAO assessed DOD's (1) capacity to manage and oversee the CERP in Afghanistan and (2) coordination of projects with USAID. Accordingly, GAO interviewed DOD and USAID officials, and examined program documents to identify workload, staffing, training, and coordination requirements. In Afghanistan, GAO interviewed key military personnel on the sufficiency of training, and their ability to execute assigned duties.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should direct the commander of U.S. Central Command to evaluate workforce requirements and ensure adequate staff to administer the CERP.
Closed - Implemented
DOD partially concurred and acknowledged the need to ensure adequate staff to administer the CERP. Given the anticipated increase in demand for projects in Afghanistan, US Forces Afghanistan recognized the need for additional personnel, and added personnel to manage the program on a full-time basis since GAO's visit. The Department has taken some actions and do not believe further actions is warranted at this time from the CENTCOM commander, but will monitor the situation and respond as required. USFOR-A has taken steps to ensure that there is adequate staff to administer the CERP program. For example, in its March 2012 CERP SOP, USFOR-A requires that each Local CERP Program Managers are required for every O-5 U.S. Commander and above who is executing CERP funds. The position of CERP Program Managers serving at the brigade level or higher must be a primary duty and those serving at the battalion level this should also be a primary duty. In addition, SOP requires that every CERP project will have an assigned project manager. Project management should be a primary duty of the individual appointed. Regional commands are also required to have a CERP program manager and is to be their primary duty.
Department of Defense 2. The Secretary of Defense should direct the commander of U.S. Central Command to establish training requirements for CERP personnel administering the program, to include specific information on how to complete their duties and responsibilities.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
United States Agency for International Development 3. The Secretary of Defense and Administrator of USAID should collaborate to create a centralized project-development database for use by U.S. government agencies in Afghanistan, including establishing specific milestones for its development and implementation.
Closed - Not Implemented
USAID does not want to share its project information with DOD/CERP via a project database.
Department of Defense 4. The Secretary of Defense and Administrator of USAID should collaborate to create a centralized project-development database for use by U.S. government agencies in Afghanistan, including establishing specific milestones for its development and implementation.
Closed - Not Implemented
As of June 2012 there is no centralized project development data base. While USAID has access to CERP project data, USAID does not want to share its project data with DOD.

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