oversight

FY 2003 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-08.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548



          April 8, 2003

          The Honorable John Warner
          Chairman
          The Honorable Carl Levin
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Armed Services
          United States Senate

          The Honorable Duncan Hunter
          Chairman
          The Honorable Ike Skelton
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Armed Services
          House of Representatives

          Subject: FY 2003 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

          Under section 1308 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001
          (P.L. 106-398), the Department of Defense is to submit an annual report to Congress
          on its Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program no later than the first Monday in
          February of each year. The Department of Defense, however, submitted its CTR
          annual report for fiscal year 2003 to Congress on January 8, 2003, more than 11
          months after the submission date mandated by law. The legislation also requires the
          Comptroller General to provide Congress with an assessment of the report’s
          multiyear plan setting forth the amount and purpose of funding to be provided over
          the 5-year term of the plan and describing the department’s efforts to ensure that CTR
          assistance is accounted for and used as intended.

          As agreed with your staff, we reviewed the fiscal year 2003 annual CTR report and
          compared it with our assessment of the 2002 annual report. As with the 2002 report,
          we analyzed the 2003 report to determine whether it (1) provides a 5-year plan that
          sets forth the funding requirements for the program and includes key federal strategic
          planning elements and (2) describes the methods used to determine whether the
          assistance provided is used for the purposes intended. We also reviewed the 2003
          report to determine if it addresses past open GAO recommendations. We did not
          assess the validity of the data contained in the 2003 annual CTR report because most
          of the information contained in the report was outdated due to its late submission to
          Congress.

          In reviewing the CTR annual report submitted for fiscal year 2002, we found that it
          (1) did not clearly set forth the amount of CTR funding to be provided over the 5-year


                          GAO-03-627R FY 2003 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
term of its plan, (2) did not include key federal strategic planning elements in the
5-year plan, (3) described the procedures CTR officials used to account for the
assistance provided but in some instances asserted a more rigorous methodology
than what was actually used, and (4) incorporated some but not all prior GAO
recommendations.1

When comparing the 2002 CTR annual report with the 2003 report, we found that the
Department of Defense had corrected some of the weaknesses we had previously
identified. Primarily, the 2003 report clearly provides the required funding
information for each program objective through fiscal year 2007, the 5-year period
covered by the plan. For fiscal years 2002 through 2007, the Department of Defense
estimates that it may spend more than $2.3 billion.2

However, the 2003 report continues to omit key federal strategic planning elements
contained in the Government Performance and Results Act. Such planning elements
could help guide preparation of annual CTR budgets. The current report excludes (1)
external factors that could impact program goals, (2) annual performance goals that
are linked to long-term program goals, and (3) evaluation plans that could help
determine or revise program goals. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency that
oversees the implementation of the CTR program has begun including such federal
planning elements in its internal strategic plan.

The 2003 annual CTR report describes the methods used by the Department of
Defense to determine whether the assistance provided is used for the purposes
intended. For example, the report explains the status of CTR-provided equipment and
contracts, as well as the methods used to ensure the proper use of equipment. The
2003 annual report accurately describes the procedures used in accounting for CTR
assistance.

In compiling the 2003 annual CTR report, the Department of Defense addresses open
GAO recommendations regarding the program. We found that the current CTR report
does list CTR-provided services and provide a cumulative listing of assistance as
recommended in our 2000 report.3 In addition, the 2003 CTR report incorporates a
2001 recommendation that the Department of Defense develop criteria for
conducting audits and examinations of CTR-provided equipment. The 2003 CTR
report does not address our 2001 recommendation that the Department of Defense
expand the scope of its CTR audits and examinations from simply taking an inventory
of equipment to assessing whether CTR-provided assistance is being used efficiently
and effectively.4 However, according to the 2003 annual report, the Department of
Defense will include such an assessment in its 2004 CTR annual report.

1
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Cooperative Threat Reduction Annual Report, GAO-03-341R
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 2, 2002).
2
  Since fiscal year 2001, the CTR program has obligated more than $3.5 billion.
3
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Cooperative Threat Reduction: DOD’s 1997-98 Reports on
Accounting for Assistance Were Late and Incomplete, GAO/NSIAD-00-40 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15,
2000).
4
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Cooperative Threat Reduction: DOD Has Adequate Oversight of
Assistance, but Procedural Limitations Remain, GAO-01-694 (Washington, D.C.: June 19, 2001).


Page 2          GAO-03-627R FY 2003 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
We performed our work in Washington, D.C., from January through April 2003 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

We provided a draft of this report to Department of Defense officials, but they had no
comments.

                                          -----

We are sending copies of this report to the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of
Defense, and to interested congressional committees. The report will also be
available at no charge on our Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions regarding this assessment, please contact me
at (202) 512-8979. James Shafer, Beth Hoffman León, Hynek Kalkus, Pierre Toureille,
and Lynn Cothern also made key contributions to this report.




Joseph A. Christoff
Director, International Affairs and Trade




(320180)


Page 3         GAO-03-627R FY 2003 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program