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Status of Funding for the Central America Regional Security Initiative

GAO-13-295R Published: Jan 30, 2013. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 2013.
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What GAO Found

As of September 30, 2011, of the $350 million that U.S. agencies had allocated to support CARSI activities, the Department of State (State) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had disbursed over $75 million of INCLE, ESF, and NADR funds. In addition, State had committed almost $22 million of FMF funds to support CARSI activities. The two principal accounts for CARSI are the INCLE and ESF accounts. U.S. agencies also allocated funds for Central America from the NADR and FMF accounts. From fiscal years 2008 through 2011, State and USAID disbursed about $44.4 million in INCLE funds, $25.9 million in ESF funds, and almost $5 million in NADR funds to support CARSI activities in partner countries. The agencies used the funds to support programs in Central American countries that strengthen law enforcement and maritime interdiction capabilities, support capacity building and training programs, and deter and detect border criminal activity.

Why GAO Did This Study

In Central America, violent criminal and drug trafficking organizations, transnational youth gangs, and other criminal networks operate with virtual impunity and take advantage of weak government institutions, undermining citizen security and the rule of law. The United States created the Merida Initiative and later the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) to help Central American countries respond to these threats. From fiscal years 2008 through 2011, U.S. agencies allocated $350 million in assistance funding for CARSI activities in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. CARSI assistance employs an integrated approach to support anti-corruption, judicial reform, anti-gang, community policing, and corrections efforts, as well as crime prevention, law enforcement, and counternarcotics programs. Assistance to fund these activities has come from four accounts: International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE); Economic Support Fund (ESF); Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR); and Foreign Military Financing (FMF).

In this correspondence, we are providing information on the status of funding provided under CARSI to support programs in partner countries as of September 30, 2011. Specifically, we describe how much funding U.S. agencies have disbursed each fiscal year for partner countries.

For more information, contact Charles Michael Johnson, Jr. at (202) 512-7331, or

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