The Departments of Defense (DOD) and State (State) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and others are involved in economic development activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. In June 2006, DOD established the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (Task Force) to support its related efforts. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2011 required that DOD, State, and USAID jointly develop a plan to transition Task Force activities to State, with a focus on potentially transitioning activities to USAID. Under the authority of the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct work on his own initiative and with additional congressional direction, GAO identified (1) factors to consider in planning any transition of Task Force activities and (2) the extent to which the Task Force established guidance to manage its activities and has shared information with other federal agencies. GAO analyzed documents and interviewed multiple agency officials in Washington, D.C., Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To ensure effective project management, oversight, and accountability, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Task Force to develop written guidance that documents, as appropriate, its management processes and practices, including elements such as criteria for project selection, requirements for establishing metrics and project documentation, and project monitoring and evaluation processes.|
|Department of Defense||2. To improve information sharing among the Task Force and other federal agencies involved with stabilization and economic development efforts in Afghanistan, the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Administrator of USAID should determine the most appropriate mechanism for integrating Task Force participation. Such mechanisms could include formalizing the process previously used to obtain State concurrence on Task Force projects, participating in appropriate working groups in Afghanistan, and/or including Task Force project and activity information in existing databases.|