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Highlights

In 2004, Congress combined preexisting and newly created units to form the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) within the Department of the Treasury (Treasury). TFI's mission is to integrate intelligence and enforcement functions to (1) safeguard the financial system against illicit use and (2) combat rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, and other national security threats. In the 5 years since TFI's creation, questioned have been raised about how TFI is managed and allocates its resources. As a result, GAO was asked to analyze how TFI (1) implements its functions, particularly in collaboration with interagency partners, (2) conducts strategic resource planning, and (3) measures its performance. To conduct this analysis, GAO reviewed Treasury and TFI planning documents, performance reports, and workforce data, and interviewed officials from Treasury and its key interagency partners.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury 1. To help strengthen Treasury's ability to achieve its strategic goal of preventing terrorism and promoting the nation's security through strengthened international financial systems, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to develop and implement, in consultation with interagency partners participating in international forums related to anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing issues, (a) compatible policies, procedures, and other means to operate across agency boundaries and (b) a mechanism for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on interagency collaboration.
Closed - Not Implemented
With regard to our recommendation that TFI develop and implement policies and procedures to operate across agency boundaries and develop a mechanism for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on interagency collaboration, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence indicated in comments on a draft of this report that his counterparts in other agencies have never expressed concerns about process or substance to him regarding TFI?s collaboration. Nonetheless, Treasury stated that it would redouble its efforts to coordinate with other agencies, but did not identify specific steps it planned to take. As discussed in our report, we recommended that such steps include developing clear policies for conducting and monitoring the results of interagency collaboration. Despite our repeated efforts to contact TFI officials from April through July 2013, they did not respond with any information or documentation on how they implemented this recommendation.
Department of the Treasury 2. To help strengthen Treasury's ability to achieve its strategic goal of preventing terrorism and promoting the nation's security through strengthened international financial systems, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to develop and implement policies and procedures for aligning resources with TFI's strategic priorities.
Closed - Not Implemented
In response to our recommendation to develop and implement policies and procedures for aligning resources with TFI's strategic priorities, Treasury indicated in its comments on a draft of this report that TFI was working to improve its processes in this area. While Treasury stated that its use of the annual budget process has worked well to match resources to strategic goals, we had concluded that the annual budget process does not necessarily reflect TFI's strategic priorities, in part because it reflects priorities for only a given year and not longer-term priorities. Despite our repeated efforts to contact TFI officials from April through July 2013, they did not respond with any information or documentation on how they implemented this recommendation.
Department of the Treasury 3. To help strengthen Treasury's ability to achieve its strategic goal of preventing terrorism and promoting the nation's security through strengthened international financial systems, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to develop and implement a TFI-wide process, including written guidance, that addresses the key principles of strategic workforce planning.
Closed - Not Implemented
In relation to our recommendation to develop and implement a TFI-wide process to address the key principles of strategic workforce planning, Treasury commented on the draft of this report that it was working with Johns Hopkins University's Capstone Consulting to develop a workforce planning model for Treasury. As a part of this effort, TFI planned to develop and disseminate written guidance establishing a process to align resources with TFI and Treasury strategic goals within 12 months of the issuance of this September 2009 report. Despite our repeated efforts to contact TFI officials from April through July 2013, they did not respond with any information or documentation on how they implemented this recommendation.
Department of the Treasury 4. To help strengthen Treasury's ability to achieve its strategic goal of preventing terrorism and promoting the nation's security through strengthened international financial systems, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to ensure that TFI's performance measures exhibit the key attributes of successful performance measures.
Closed - Implemented
In commenting on a draft of the report, TFI committed to finalizing performance measures and working to ensure they meet the attributes of successful measures. GAO identified 5 newly-developed TFI performance measures for fiscal year 2011 and evaluated these new measures for the key attributes of successful performance measures. GAO found that the new measures fully satisfy the attributes of "linkage" and "core program activities" in addition to addressing nearly all of the other key attributes

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