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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the management and oversight of the U.S. Special Operations Forces' overseas deployments to train with the armed forces and other security forces of friendly foreign countries, focusing on: (1) whether the Department of Defense (DOD) has implemented the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program in accordance with legislation; (2) whether DOD and the Department of State are providing civilian oversight to ensure that JCET activities are consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives in countries that GAO included in its review; and (3) how DOD is implementing recent legislation that restricts it from training with foreign forces involved in human rights abuses.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. To improve annual reporting to Congress on JCETs, the Secretary of Defense should issue guidance that provides criteria to use in determining whether JCETs are related to counterterrorism or counternarcotics and therefore need to be reported as such.
Closed - Implemented
On July 16, 2002, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) issued a directive (Number 350-3) entitled Joint Combined Exchange Training which addressed GAO's recommendations. In that Directive, SOCOM requires a clear statement of the Mission Essential Tasks Lists which will be addressed in the training which will more clearly identify if the JCET is counterterrorism or counternarcotics related. Moreover, SOCOM has established a computerized reporting system to alleviate the reporting deficiencies GAO noted in its report.
Department of Defense 2. To improve financial management and the accuracy of the reporting of JCET costs, the Secretary of Defense should issue guidance: (1) articulating the criteria for selecting the proper appropriation to charge for each JCET expense; (2) specifying that any such selection must be documented; and (3) clarifying that the selection must be consistently applied throughout the applicable fiscal year.
Closed - Implemented
SOCOM Directive 350-3, dated July 16, 2002, laid out policy for the funding of JCETS to include which activities may be funded under JCET funding authority, and how to fund developing country participation. Moreover, funding policy guidance is directly tied to DOD Financial Management Regulation (Volume 11A, Chapter 15, Training of Special Operations Forces with Friendly Foreign forces, dated October 2000). In conjunction, this directive and regulation provide sufficient guidance to address GAO's recommendation.
Department of Defense 3. The Secretary of Defense should set a milestone for the issuance of final guidance on these issues.
Closed - Implemented
DOD set a milestone of summer 2002 for implementation of the actions needed to address GAO's recommendations, and met all milestones by issuing the final Instruction in July 2002.

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