Fast Facts

The United States has provided over $2 billion in equipment to Iraq's security forces through the Iraq Train and Equip Fund to counter the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

However, the Department of Defense does not collect timely and accurate transportation information about the equipment purchased through the fund. As a result, DOD can't demonstrate that this equipment reached its intended destinations in Iraq. We recommended that DOD improve its systems and procedures (such as how it records key transportation data) to better track this equipment.

Examples of Equipment DOD Purchased with the Fiscal Year 2015 Iraq Train and Equip Fund

Graphic showing personal protective equipment, weapons, vehicles, and communications equipment.

Graphic showing personal protective equipment, weapons, vehicles, and communications equipment.

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Highlights

What GAO Found

The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains limited visibility and accountability over equipment funded by the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF). Specifically, DOD is not ensuring that the Security Cooperation Information Portal (SCIP) is consistently capturing key transportation dates of ITEF-funded equipment. DOD guidance states that DOD components should use SCIP to identify the status and track the transportation of all building partner capacity materiel, such as ITEF. DOD also issued an order in October 2016 requiring DOD components to ensure that equipment transfer dates are recorded in SCIP. The process for providing the equipment to Iraq's security forces generally falls into three phases: (1) acquisition and shipment, (2) staging in Kuwait and Iraq, and (3) transfer to the government of Iraq or the Kurdistan Regional Government. However, for the 566 ITEF-funded requisitions marked as complete in SCIP's management reporting system as of February 2017, GAO found that the system captured one of two key transportation dates for 256 of the requisitions in phase 1, and none of the transportation dates for these requisitions in phase 2 or phase 3 (see figure).

Key Transportation Dates for Completed Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF)–Funded Equipment Requisitions Captured in the Security Cooperation Information Portal's Management Reporting System, by Equipping Phase

Key Transportation Dates for Completed Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF)–Funded Equipment Requisitions Captured in the Security Cooperation Information Portal's Management Reporting System, by Equipping Phase

DOD officials attributed the lack of key transportation dates in SCIP's management reporting system to potential interoperability and data reporting issues in all three equipping phases.

  • Interoperability issues. DOD officials said that SCIP's management reporting system may not be importing transportation data correctly from other DOD data systems or from another shipment tracking system feature in SCIP.
  • Data reporting issues. DOD officials said they are not reporting the arrival dates of equipment to Kuwait or Iraq because they rely on other DOD data systems and are not required to do so. DOD officials said they have had difficulty ensuring that SCIP has captured equipment transfer dates.

In addition, DOD cannot fully account for ITEF-funded equipment transfers because of missing or incomplete transfer documentation. Without timely and accurate transit information, DOD cannot ensure that the equipment has reached its intended destination, nor can program managers conduct effective oversight of ITEF-funded equipment.

Why GAO Did This Study

In 2014, Congress authorized the creation of ITEF to provide equipment and other assistance to Iraq's security forces, including the Kurdistan Regional Government forces, to counter the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. As of December 2016, DOD had disbursed about $2 billion of the $2.3 billion Congress appropriated for ITEF in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to purchase, for example, personal protective equipment, weapons, and vehicles for these forces. DOD's web-based SCIP provides U.S. government personnel and others transportation information on DOD equipment imported from other DOD data systems or reported by SCIP users.

GAO was asked to review DOD's accountability of ITEF-funded equipment. This report assesses the extent to which DOD maintains visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment from acquisition through transfer to the government of Iraq or the Kurdistan Regional Government. GAO analyzed DOD guidance, procedures, SCIP data, and transfer documentation and interviewed officials from DOD agencies with a role in the ITEF equipping process in the United States, Kuwait, and Iraq.

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Recommendations

GAO is making four recommendations that include identifying the root causes for addressing why DOD is not capturing ITEF-funded equipment transportation dates in SCIP and developing an action plan to address these issues. DOD generally concurred with GAO's recommendations and stated that it would develop a plan.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should identify the root causes, such as potential interoperability and data reporting issues within SCIP and other DOD data systems, for why DOD components are not ensuring that ITEF-funded equipment transportation dates are captured in SCIP.
Open

Recommendation status is Open.

DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of October 2019, DOD was in the process of developing a plan to address this recommendation. GAO is continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
Department of Defense To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should develop an action plan with associated milestones and time frames for addressing the root causes for why DOD components are not ensuring that ITEF-funded equipment transportation dates are captured in SCIP.
Open

Recommendation status is Open.

DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of October 2019, DOD was in the process of developing a plan to address this recommendation. GAO is continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
Department of Defense To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should develop written procedures that specify under which data field ITEF-funded equipment transfer dates should be captured in the Enhanced Freight Tracking System in SCIP.
Open

Recommendation status is Open.

DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. The department commented that the relevant organizations have most, if not all, of the written procedures that are necessary for reporting these dates in the Enhanced Freight Tracking System. However, it would coordinate with all interested parties to update these procedures if needed. As of October 2019, GAO was continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
Department of Defense To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should update the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's (1st TSC) written standard operating procedures to include the 1st TSC commander's verbal order requiring the inclusion of unique equipment case identifier information for ITEF-funded equipment on transfer documentation.
Open

Recommendation status is Open.

DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of October 2019, DOD officials said they had updated the 1st TSC's written standard operating procedures to include the 1st TSC's commander's verbal order, and GAO was in the process of obtaining documentation of these changes.

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