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Palestinian Authority: U.S. Assistance Is Training and Equipping Security Forces, but the Program Needs to Measure Progress and Faces Logistical Constraints

GAO-10-505 Published: May 11, 2010. Publicly Released: May 11, 2010.
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The 2003 Roadmap for Peace process sponsored by the United States and other nations obligates the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Government of Israel to undertake security efforts as a necessary precursor for achieving the long-standing objective of establishing a Palestinian state as part of the two-state solution for peace in the Middle East. In 2005 the Department of State (State) created the office of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) to help the parties meet these obligations. GAO was asked to (1) describe the nature and extent of U.S. security assistance to the PA since 2007; (2) assess State's efforts to measure the effectiveness of its security assistance; and (3) describe factors that may affect the implementation of U.S. security assistance programs. GAO analyzed documents; interviewed officials and regional experts; and conducted fieldwork in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of State As State develops the USSC campaign plan for providing security assistance to the PA, the Secretary of State should establish outcome-based indicators and track them over time. State should define specific program objectives and identify appropriate outcome-based indicators that would demonstrate progress toward achieving those objectives, and would enable it to, among other things, weigh the progress made in developing the security forces, civil police, Ministry of Interior, and justice sectors.
Closed – Implemented
State partially concurred with the recommendation. In a letter to Congressional committees after the report's issuance, State stated that it had drafted a new umbrella Letter of Agreement (LOA) between itself and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The LOA included seven projects that were designed to establish and enhance the PA's capability to build a professional security force under civilian command and control and expand popular access to Rule of Law. The LOA defines goals and establishes performance measures for each of the seven project areas. Moreover, the parties to the LOA agree to furnish each other the information necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of project operations under the terms of the LOA. Furthermore, upon termination of a project, a completion report will be issued and shall include a summary of project contributions, activities performed, objectives achieved, and related data. The LOA was signed by the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority in June 2010. Subsequently, in October 2010, the incoming head of the USSC updated the USSC campaign plan to guide the effort for the next 3-5 years through a time of transition in the USSC-PA relationship from a Train and Equip program for the new Palestinian security forces to efforts to help the PA sustain the completed force structure. A review of State, USSC, U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem and contractor weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports between July 2010 and April 2012 demonstrates that State has been consistently tracking progress toward the seven activities agreed to under the terms of the June 2010 LOA.

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Foreign aid programsForeign military trainingInternational cooperationInternational organizationsInternational relationsLogisticsMilitary trainingNeeds assessmentPerformance managementPerformance measuresSecurity assessmentsStrategic forcesStrategic planningProgram goals or objectivesProgram implementation