oversight

Security Assistance: DOD's Ongoing Reforms Address Some Challenges, but Additional Information Is Needed to Further Enhance Program Management

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-11-16.

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

                United States Government Accountability Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Committees




November 2012
                SECURITY
                ASSISTANCE
                DOD’s Ongoing
                Reforms Address Some
                Challenges, but
                Additional Information
                Is Needed to Further
                Enhance Program
                Management




GAO-13-84
                                                November 2012

                                                SECURITY ASSISTANCE
                                                DOD’s Ongoing Reforms Address Some Challenges,
                                                but Additional Information Is Needed to Further
                                                Enhance Program Management
Highlights of GAO-13-84, a report to
congressional committees




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
Congress appropriated approximately             Security cooperation officials report three major types of challenges—training
$18.8 billion in fiscal year 2012 for           and workforce structure, defining partner country requirements, and obtaining
various security cooperation and                acquisition and delivery status information—in conducting assistance programs.
assistance programs that supply military        Ongoing Department of Defense (DOD) reforms address challenges that DOD
equipment and training to more than             security cooperation officials reported in meeting staff training needs and
100 partner countries. Amid concerns            achieving the optimum workforce structure. The Defense Security Cooperation
that traditional security assistance            Agency (DSCA) has also initiated efforts to respond to challenges in developing
programs were too slow, Congress                assistance requests resulting from the limited expertise of partner countries and
established several new programs in
                                                U.S. Security Cooperation Organization (SCO) staff in identifying country
recent years. DSCA oversees the
                                                assistance requirements and the equipment that can meet them. However,
security assistance process, with key
functions in agreement development,
                                                according to DOD security cooperation officials, information gaps in the
acquisition, and equipment delivery             acquisition and delivery phases of the security assistance process continue to
performed by U.S. military departments.         hinder the effectiveness of U.S. assistance. Nearly all of GAO’s focus groups and
DOD has undertaken a variety of                 interviews reported persistent difficulties obtaining information on the status of
management reforms since 2010 to                security assistance acquisitions and deliveries because information systems are
improve the security assistance                 difficult to access and contain limited information. DOD’s existing delivery
process. GAO assessed the extent to             tracking system provides only limited data on the status of equipment deliveries
which (1) DOD reforms address                   because partner country agents and DOD agencies are not entering the needed
implementation challenges faced by              data into the system. Without advance notice of deliveries, SCO staff have been
security cooperation officials and (2)          unable to ensure that addresses were correct and that partner countries were
DSCA performance measures indicate              ready to receive and process deliveries, resulting in delays or increased costs.
improvement in the timeliness of                DOD is developing a new information system to address information gaps, but it
security assistance. GAO analyzed               is not expected to be fully implemented until 2020.
DOD data and performance measures,
conducted focus groups and interviews
with security cooperation officials at all      DSCA’s Security Assistance Process
six geographic combatant commands,
and interviewed SCO staff for 17
countries.

What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends that the Secretary               DSCA data indicate that DOD has improved timeliness in the initial phases of the
of Defense (1) establish procedures to          security assistance process, but these data provide limited information on other
ensure that DOD agencies enter                  phases. The average number of days spent developing a security assistance
needed acquisition and delivery status          agreement has improved from an average of 124 days in fiscal year 2007 to 109
data into security assistance                   days in fiscal year 2011. However, assessing the timeliness of the whole security
information systems and (2) establish           assistance process is difficult because DSCA has limited timeliness measures for
performance measures to assess                  later phases, which often comprise the most time-consuming activities. For
timeliness for additional phases of the         example, DSCA has not established a performance measure to assess the
security assistance process.                    timeliness of acquisition, which can take years. In addition, DSCA does not
DOD concurred with GAO’s                        consistently measure delivery performance against estimated delivery dates.
recommendations.
                                                Without such performance measures, DSCA cannot assess historical trends or
                                                the extent to which reforms impact the timeliness of the security assistance
                                                process.
View GAO-13-84. For more information,
contact Charles Michael Johnson, Jr. at (202)
512-7331 or johnsoncm@gao.gov.

                                                                                        United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                           1
                       Background                                                                3
                       DOD Reforms Address Many Challenges, but More Comprehensive
                         Acquisition and Delivery Information Is Needed                          9
                       DSCA Data Indicate Improved Timeliness in the Initial Phases of
                         the Security Assistance Process, but Provide Limited
                         Information on Other Phases                                           17
                       Conclusions                                                             25
                       Recommendations for Executive Action                                    26
                       Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                      26

Appendix I             Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                      29



Appendix II            Challenges Identified by Geographic Combatant Command Security
                       Cooperation Officials                                                   34



Appendix III           Comments from the Department of Defense                                 36



Appendix IV            GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                   39



Related GAO Products                                                                           40



Tables
                       Table 1: Summary of BPC Programs Administered by DSCA                     4
                       Table 2: Average Days for Agreement Development for Sample
                                Afghanistan and Iraq BPC, Other BPC, and FMF Programs
                                (Fiscal Years 2007-2011)                                       20
                       Table 3: On-time Completion of Security Assistance Agreements by
                                Type, Fiscal Year 2011                                         21
                       Table 4: Challenges within DOD’s Purview to Implementing
                                Security Assistance Programs that Were Identified by
                                Combatant Command Officials.                                   34




                       Page i                                         GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Figures
          Figure 1: Acting Entities and Steps in FMS and Pseudo-FMS
                   Processes                                                                        6
          Figure 2: Percentage of Intermediate and Final Delivery Points
                   Containing Data for Sample Deliveries Originating in
                   Fiscal Years 2007-2011                                                           15
          Figure 3: Average Days Spent in Agreement Development (FY2007-
                   FY2011)                                                                          19
          Figure 4: Open Supply Discrepancy Reports Greater than 1 Year
                   Old, Fiscal Years 2007-2011                                                      24




          Abbreviations
          BPC         building partner capacity
          DOD         Department of Defense
          DSCA        Defense Security Cooperation Agency
          EFTS        Enhanced Freight Tracking System
          FMF         Foreign Military Financing
          FMS         Foreign Military Sales
          SCO         Security Cooperation Organization



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          Page ii                                                     GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   November 16, 2012

                                   Congressional Committees

                                   U.S. national security is inextricably tied to the effectiveness of our efforts
                                   to help foreign partners and allies build their own security capacity. As
                                   part of these efforts, Congress appropriated $18.75 billion 1 in fiscal year
                                   2012 for various security cooperation and assistance programs that
                                   supply military equipment and training to more than 100 partner
                                   countries. 2 However, traditional security assistance programs such as
                                   Foreign Military Sales (FMS) 3 and Foreign Military Financing (FMF), 4
                                   while beneficial, have been criticized as being too slow and cumbersome
                                   to meet needs for training and equipping foreign forces for
                                   counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. In recent years
                                   Congress has expanded the number of funding mechanisms and
                                   programs to build partner capacity. The Department of Defense’s (DOD)
                                   Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) oversees program
                                   administration for both traditional and newer programs and has


                                   1
                                    See Table 1 for a summary of programs discussed in this report. This appropriated total
                                   does not include amounts that are authorized from other accounts for security assistance
                                   and cooperation programs, such as the Section 1206 program, Coalition Readiness
                                   Support Program, and Global Security Contingency Fund.
                                   2
                                    According to DOD, security cooperation is the more encompassing term and includes
                                   security assistance as one of its components. “Security cooperation” consists of activities
                                   undertaken by DOD to encourage and enable international partners to work with the
                                   United States to achieve strategic objectives, including international armaments
                                   cooperation, security assistance activities, and provision of U.S. peacetime and
                                   contingency access to host nations. “Security assistance” refers to the group of programs
                                   by which the United States provides defense articles, military training, and other defense-
                                   related services in furtherance of national policies and objectives. See DOD Directive
                                   5132.03, DOD Policy and Responsibilities Relating to Security Cooperation,
                                   October 24, 2008.
                                   3
                                    Foreign partners using FMS purchase equipment and services using their own funds.
                                   The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (as amended, 22 U.S.C. §§ 2751 et seq.) authorizes
                                   the sale of defense articles and defense services to eligible foreign countries under the
                                   FMS program. Although DOD implements FMS, the Secretary of State is responsible for
                                   the continuous supervision and general direction of security assistance programs,
                                   including FMS.
                                   4
                                    FMF provides financial assistance in the form of credits or guarantees to U.S. allies to
                                   purchase military equipment, services, and training from the United States. Recipient
                                   countries can use the assistance to purchase items from the U.S. military departments
                                   through the FMS process or directly from private U.S. companies.




                                   Page 1                                                       GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
undertaken a series of internal reform efforts to address concerns about
the timeliness of security assistance. In addition, the Secretary of
Defense convened a Security Cooperation Reform Task Force in fiscal
year 2010, which made additional recommendations for reform.

In response to a Senate Armed Services Committee mandate 5 to review
DSCA’s program implementation processes, this report assesses the
extent to which (1) DOD reforms address challenges that security
cooperation officials face in implementing assistance programs and (2)
DSCA performance measures indicate improvement in the timeliness of
security assistance. While DOD and the Department of State (State)
manage other U.S. security cooperation and assistance programs, our
report addresses only those programs where DSCA plays a role. 6

To identify ongoing and planned DOD security cooperation reforms, we
reviewed a DOD task force report, 7 analyzed its recommendations, and
discussed reform efforts with DSCA officials. To identify challenges that
DOD officials face in implementing security cooperation programs, we
convened focus groups and conducted interviews of security cooperation
officials in all six geographic combatant commands. 8 We also conducted
interviews with staff at Security Cooperation Organizations (SCOs) —
DOD officials located in a foreign country who manage DOD security
cooperation programs under the guidance of the combatant command—
for 17 countries. We selected these countries based on geographic
representation, the value of U.S.-funded security assistance the country


5
 See S. Rep. No. 112-26 (June 22, 2011) accompanying S.1253, National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.
6
 For example, DSCA implements a small portion of DOD’s counternarcotics program and
a portion of State’s Peacekeeping Operations programs, for which $383.8 million was
appropriated in fiscal year 2012 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Pub. L. No
112-74), to provide assistance to enhance the capacity of foreign civilian security forces to
participate in peacekeeping operations.
7
    DOD Security Cooperation Reform Task Force, Phase I Report, July 2011.
8
 The geographic combatant commands are the U.S. Northern Command, which includes
North America and parts of the Caribbean, Southern Command (Central and South
America, and parts of the Caribbean), European Command (Europe, Russia, Greenland,
and Israel), Central Command (the Middle East and southwest Asia), Africa Command
(Africa, excluding Egypt), and Pacific Command (the Pacific Ocean, East and South Asia,
and Australia). Combatant commands may also be functional rather than geographic in
nature, such as the Special Operations Command. For the purposes of this report,
“combatant commands” refers only to the geographic combatant commands.




Page 2                                                       GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
             received from 2006 to 2010, and other factors. We excluded International
             Military Education and Training in order to focus on equipment and
             equipment-associated training and because we had recently issued a
             report specifically assessing International Military Education and
             Training. 9 To assess the extent to which DSCA performance measures
             indicate improvement in the timeliness of security assistance, we
             reviewed DSCA performance measures and discussed them with DSCA
             officials and implementing agency officials. We reviewed the first three
             quarterly management reports of performance measures for fiscal year
             2012 to assess the extent that DSCA has performance measures that can
             be used to assess timeliness. Where sample data permitted, we also
             analyzed DOD data to assess performance trends. Appendix I provides
             further details on our scope and methodology.

             We conducted this performance audit from November 2011 through
             November 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
             auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the
             audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable
             basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
             believe the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
             findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             The United States provides military equipment and training to partner
Background   countries through a variety of programs. Foreign partners may pay the
             U.S. government to administer the acquisition of materiel and services on
             their behalf through the FMS program. The United States also provides
             grants to some foreign partners through the FMF program to fund the
             partner’s purchase of materiel and services through the process used for
             FMS. In this report, we refer to FMS, FMF, and other State Department
             programs implemented by DOD as “traditional” security assistance
             programs. In recent years, Congress has expanded the number of
             security cooperation programs to include several new programs with
             funds appropriated to DOD, as well as administered and implemented by
             DOD, that focus on building partner capacity (BPC). See table 1 for
             descriptions of the BPC programs included in our report.




             9
              GAO, International Military Education and Training: Agencies Should Emphasize Human
             Rights Training and Improve Evaluations, GAO-12-123 (Washington, D.C.: October 2011).




             Page 3                                                  GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Table 1: Summary of BPC Programs Administered by DSCA

Program and fiscal
year established                  Summary
Afghanistan Security              Funds appropriated to the Secretary of Defense to provide
Forces Fund                       assistance to the security forces of Afghanistan, including for the
2005                              training, equipping, and maintenance of Afghanistan’s security
                                  forces.
Iraq Security Forces              Funds appropriated to the Secretary of Defense to provide
Fund                              assistance to the security forces of Iraq, including for the
2005                              training, equipping, and maintenance of Iraq’s security forces.
Coalition Support                 The Coalition Support Fund’s Coalition Readiness Support
Fund                              Program is used to provide specialized training, procure supplies
2002                              and specialized equipment, and loan such equipment and
                                  supplies on a nonreimbursable basis to coalition forces
                                  supporting U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
Section 1206 Global               Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to use up to $350 million
Train and Equip                   each year, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to
2006                              build the capacity of foreign military forces of a country in order
                                  for that country to conduct counterterrorist operations or to
                                  support military and stability operations in which the U.S. armed
                                  forces are a participant.
Pakistan                          The Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund is appropriated to the
Counterinsurgency                 Secretary of Defense. The Pakistan Counterinsurgency
Fund / Pakistan                   Capability Fund is appropriated to the Secretary of State but
Counterinsurgency                 may be transferred to the Secretary of Defense. Both funds
Capability Fund                   provide assistance for Pakistan’s security forces to bolster their
2009                              counterinsurgency efforts.
Global Security                   The Global Security Contingency Fund provides assistance to
Contingency Fund                  enhance the capabilities of a foreign country’s military and
2012                              security forces to conduct border and maritime security, internal
                                  defense, and counterterrorism operations; and participate in or
                                  support military, stability, or peace support operations consistent
                                  with U.S. foreign policy and national security interests.
Sources: GAO analysis of public laws and DOD documents.



DSCA oversees program administration for both traditional programs and
newer BPC programs. DSCA establishes security assistance procedures
and systems, provides training, and guides the activities of implementing
agencies. 10 Implementing agencies of the military departments—the
Army, Navy, and Air Force—are responsible for preparing, processing,



10
   To recover the cost of administering FMS, DOD applies a surcharge to each FMS
agreement. As of November 1, 2012, the surcharge was 3.5 percent of the value of the
sale.




Page 4                                                                GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
and executing the vast majority of security assistance agreements. 11
While these implementing agencies maintain their own unique systems
and procedures, DSCA provides overall guidance through the Security
Assistance Management Manual and associated policy memos. DSCA
provides education and training to security cooperation officials through
its Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management.

Both the traditional and BPC programs that DSCA administers use the
FMS process to provide security assistance, but, as shown in figure 1,
some roles, responsibilities, and actors differ. In contrast to traditional
programs, under the BPC programs, the United States consults with the
partner country, but takes lead in identifying partner requirements and
funds, obtains, and delivers equipment on the partner’s behalf. The form
of the FMS process used to implement BPC programs is referred to as
the “pseudo-FMS” process. While the many steps of the FMS and
pseudo-FMS processes can be grouped in different ways, they fall into
five general phases: assistance request, agreement development,
acquisition, delivery, and case closure. See figure 1 for a summary of
selected entities and their roles in these phases of the FMS and pseudo-
FMS processes.




11
  The lead agencies within the military departments are the Deputy Assistant Secretary of
the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, Navy International Programs Office, and
the Air Force Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs. Additional implementing
agencies include the Missile Defense Agency, National Security Agency, and Defense
Logistics Agency.




Page 5                                                     GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Figure 1: Acting Entities and Steps in FMS and Pseudo-FMS Processes




                                       Note: This summary of the FMS and pseudo-FMS processes does not encompass all steps and
                                       actors that may be involved, such as technology releasability reviews that may be required for
                                       sensitive equipment.




                                       Page 6                                                            GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
•      Assistance Request. During the assistance request phase, in
       traditional FMS, the partner country identifies its requirements
       (needed materiel or services) and documents them in a formal letter
       of request. Implementing agencies as well as SCOs and officials at
       DOD’s six geographic combatant commands may provide input to the
       assistance request. In the pseudo-FMS process, SCOs and
       combatant commands consult with partner countries and take the lead
       in identifying partner country requirements and drafting the request,
       sometimes with input from the partner country.

•      Agreement Development. During the agreement development phase,
       the implementing agency enters the letter of request 12 into the
       Defense Security Assistance Management System, a DSCA
       information system used by all implementing agencies to process
       letters of request and produce security assistance agreements. DSCA
       reviews the draft agreement and coordinates with the State
       Department before sending any congressional notifications that, for
       the traditional FMS process, may be required based on the dollar
       value or sensitivity of the potential sale but for pseudo-FMS are
       required for all programs. When approvals are in place, DSCA
       conducts a final quality assurance review and State performs a final
       review. In traditional FMS, DSCA authorizes the implementing agency
       to send the agreement to the partner country for acceptance; in the
       pseudo-FMS process, the implementing agency accepts the
       agreement on behalf of the combatant command.

•      Acquisition. During the acquisition phase, implementing agencies
       requisition from existing supply or procure equipment and services
       using the same procedures they use to supply the U.S. military. The
       process is the same for both FMS and pseudo-FMS. Case managers
       at implementing agencies monitor acquisitions and enter status
       information into their data systems. Unlike the single information
       system used to develop agreements, the information systems used in
       the acquisition phase are not common across implementing agencies.
       However, DSCA has created a web-based overlay, the Security
       Cooperation Information Portal, which imports some of the information
       available in implementing agency data systems and is accessible over
       the Internet by security cooperation and partner country officials.




12
     In pseudo-FMS, the letter of request is referred to as a memorandum of request.




Page 7                                                        GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
•    Delivery. In the traditional FMS process, the partner country takes
     custody of materiel in the United States and is responsible for
     arranging delivery. The partner country may pay to use the U.S.
     military transportation system, but often uses its own freight
     forwarder—an authorized agent responsible for managing shipment to
     the final destination. If shipments are incomplete or otherwise
     deficient, the partner country may file a supply discrepancy report to
     seek redress. All BPC program shipments use the U.S. military
     transportation system or other U.S. government-procured
     transportation, with the SCO responsible for providing the delivery
     address, ensuring foreign customs requirements can be met, jointly
     checking shipments for completeness with the partner country, and
     preparing any needed supply discrepancy reports. Implementing
     agencies are responsible for conducting BPC deliveries and
     confirming that SCOs are ready to receive a planned delivery. For
     both FMS and pseudo-FMS processes, DOD uses the Enhanced
     Freight Tracking System (EFTS), a secure web-based application
     accessible within the Security Cooperation Information Portal
     designed to provide visibility of the security assistance distribution
     system.

•    Case Closure. An FMS case is a candidate for closure when all
     materiel has been delivered, all ordered services have been
     performed, no new orders exist or are forthcoming, and the partner
     has not requested the case be kept open. At case closure, any
     remaining case funds may be made available to the country for further
     use. Pseudo-FMS cases may be submitted for closure as soon as
     supply and services are complete.

DOD has undertaken internal improvement efforts designed to address
challenges in implementing security cooperation and security assistance
programs and improving timeliness of U.S. efforts. DSCA has also
undertaken improvements recommended by its internal improvement
program, begun in 2008, which has reviewed DSCA and implementing
agency processes. 13 In fiscal year 2010, the Secretary of Defense
initiated a comprehensive review of DOD’s internal processes. The
results of the task force review led to recommendations focusing on areas


13
  DSCA conducts a quarterly forum where senior officials from DSCA, industry
associations, partner nation groups, military departments, and others in DOD discuss
issues in security assistance management, propose improvements, and present and
review performance data.




Page 8                                                     GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                       for improvement including: identification of partner requirements;
                       acquisition and transportation; and training, education, and workforce
                       development. DOD and DSCA have initiated a variety of efforts to
                       implement the recommendations, and a follow-up task force report
                       describes the status of action on the recommendations. In focus groups
                       we conducted in 2012 at all six combatant commands 14 and interviews
                       with the officials at SCOs in 17 countries, security cooperation officials
                       reported three types of challenges: (1) optimizing training and workforce
                       structure, (2) defining partner country requirements, and (3) obtaining
                       information on the acquisition and delivery status of assistance
                       agreements.


                       DSCA has undertaken reforms to address challenges associated with (1)
DOD Reforms            training and workforce structure, (2) defining partner country
Address Many           requirements, and (3) obtaining information on the acquisition and
                       delivery status of assistance agreements. 15 While ongoing reforms are
Challenges, but More   addressing the first two challenges in the short term, reforms to address
Comprehensive          information system gaps are more long-term focused and are expected to
Acquisition and        take years to complete.

Delivery Information
Is Needed




                       14
                          See app. I for a description of focus group methodology. We conducted focus groups at
                       five of the combatant commands and an interview at Northern Command due to the small
                       number of countries and officials involved in security cooperation at the command. This
                       interview used the same questions and we used the same method of analysis for the
                       results as for the focus groups at the other combatant commands. For the purposes of the
                       report we refer to focus groups at all six combatant commands.
                       15
                          See app. II for a complete list of challenges identified by two or more combatant
                       commands and within DOD’s purview. For the purposes of this report, we focused on
                       those challenges which lie within DOD’s purview and did not address those challenges
                       identified as beyond DOD’s control, such as delays in partner country decisionmaking and
                       approvals. SCOs and focus groups also reported that they perceive delays in
                       implementation due to slowness of State Department approval of funding and the time
                       required for State Department and congressional reviews and notifications.




                       Page 9                                                    GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
DOD Reforms Are           Security cooperation officials reported that the existing training and
Addressing Training and   workforce structure presented a challenge to successfully implementing
Workforce Challenges      security assistance. Specifically, focus groups at four of the six combatant
                          commands indicated that training or staffing of SCOs was insufficient,
                          limiting SCO effectiveness as they develop assistance requests, build
                          relationships in-country, and track assistance agreements through to
                          delivery. These focus group participants and officials at the SCOs and
                          military departments reported that they felt a number of changes were
                          needed, such as including more training on newer security cooperation
                          authorities, providing additional refresher courses, and ensuring that
                          security cooperation officers meet with their military department points of
                          contact as part of their predeployment training for their SCO assignments.
                          In addition, according to focus groups and interviews we conducted with
                          SCOs, SCOs were insufficiently staffed or rotations in the field were not
                          long enough. For example, some SCOs reported having only one security
                          cooperation officer, and rotations sometimes lasted only 1 year, which
                          was often less than the cycle time to develop and execute a security
                          assistance agreement. Focus group participants said a lack of institutional
                          memory in these SCOs created challenges for new officers who must
                          assume responsibility for ongoing security cooperation efforts.

                          DSCA has initiated a number of reforms designed to address training and
                          workforce structure challenges previously identified by DOD and raised
                          again during our focus groups and interviews. DOD recognized the need
                          for improved training and workforce management as early as 2009, when
                          the Deputy Secretary of Defense included efforts to improve security
                          cooperation training in his top 10 Office of Management and Budget high-
                          priority performance goals for 2010 and 2011. DSCA is developing
                          several courses to address reported gaps in knowledge and to increase
                          the percentage of the security cooperation workforce that receives
                          training. For example, the Deputy Secretary of Defense declared in 2009
                          that DSCA must plan to educate 95 percent of the security cooperation
                          workforce by the end of fiscal year 2011. As of September 2012, DSCA
                          has consistently reported that this goal has been met or exceeded since it
                          was first achieved in June 2011. DSCA and the Defense Institute of
                          Security Assistance Management are currently identifying key positions in
                          the security cooperation community and developing improved procedures
                          to help ensure the selection of well-qualified candidates for those
                          positions.

                          In addition to monitoring the percentage of people trained, DOD has
                          reforms underway to address concerns about the content of the training
                          for, and the staffing of, security cooperation positions. In 2011, DOD’s


                          Page 10                                           GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                           Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management began expanding a
                           required course for DOD personnel responsible for security assistance
                           and security cooperation management in overseas positions such as at
                           SCOs, combatant commands, and Defense Attaché Offices. Furthermore,
                           the course now includes information that security cooperation personnel
                           identified as important, such as a section on BPC programs. As of
                           September 2012, the Institute reported that students found the initial
                           expansion of the required course better covered the planning and
                           execution of the wide variety of security cooperation programs. The
                           course changes are now complete and, beginning in October 2012, the
                           Institute plans to offer the final expanded course. As a result of changes
                           to this course, security cooperation officers are now able to meet—in
                           person and by video-teleconference—with the DOD points of contact they
                           will work with to implement security cooperation programs once they are
                           in the field. In addition, these new course offerings introduce the topic of
                           security cooperation to U.S. government officials who interact with partner
                           countries but do not necessarily work on security cooperation programs.

                           In addition to improvements to course offerings, DSCA has created
                           additional resources for security cooperation officials. In April 2012,
                           DSCA added a new chapter devoted specifically to building partner
                           capacity to the Security Assistance Management Manual. DSCA and the
                           Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy have created a tool kit which
                           provides points of contact and implementation guidance for each
                           assistance program. Mandatory training for security cooperation officers
                           includes a review of this tool kit.


DOD Reforms Are            Focus group participants in five of six combatant commands and officials
Responding to Challenges   at 9 of the 17 SCOs noted challenges in identifying and defining partner
Defining Partner Country   country assistance requirements. 16 These officials noted that partner
                           countries did not have enough experience or expertise to identify their
Requirements
                           requirements or develop an assistance request that DOD can act upon.
                           Further, focus groups at four of the six combatant commands reported
                           that SCOs lacked the experience or capacity necessary to identify
                           equipment to match the partner country’s requirements. For example,


                           16
                             These challenges are consistent with the 2011 DOD security cooperation reform task
                           force findings, which reported that “not all U.S. allies and partners possess the institutions,
                           training, and equipment required to tackle the security challenges facing them, or to
                           cooperate viably with U.S. forces in a coalition or multinational operating environment.”




                           Page 11                                                        GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                             officials in two focus groups reported that some SCOs lacked staff with
                             expertise to develop either traditional or BPC assistance requests.

                             Since 2009, DOD has initiated reforms to improve the process of
                             developing assistance requests intended to reduce implementation
                             delays and improve the effectiveness of assistance to partner countries.
                             DOD reforms include developing new training courses and providing in-
                             country advisors to help country officials identify short-term and long-term
                             requirements and strategies to meet those requirements. DOD has also
                             reformed its own processes for defining requirements to improve long-
                             term effectiveness of security cooperation programs and provide short-
                             term solutions for meeting requirements using assistance requests. For
                             example, beginning in 2011, DOD issued new policies and guidance to
                             help combatant commands and implementing agencies plan for, and
                             better develop, security assistance requests. Also in 2011, DSCA
                             established a strategic planning support group to assist combatant
                             commands with early identification and resolution of issues related to
                             capability requirements and certain types of assistance requests. In
                             addition, DSCA established Expeditionary Requirements Generation
                             Teams whose purpose is to help the combatant commands, partner
                             countries, and security cooperation officers identify and refine a partner
                             country’s requirements. These teams are available for both traditional and
                             BPC programs upon request by combatant commands. DSCA noted that
                             these teams would be particularly useful when a security cooperation
                             officer lacks experience or familiarity with the type of equipment in
                             question. DSCA provided pilot teams for Bulgaria, Iraq, and Uzbekistan
                             and, after the pilot was determined to be successful, sent teams to assist
                             Armenia, the Philippines, and again Iraq. The pilot teams produced 34
                             assistance letters of request, including some for FMF programs.


DOD Efforts Underway         DOD officials participating in focus groups at all six combatant commands
Will Not Provide             and officials at 16 of the 17 SCOs we interviewed reported difficulties
Comprehensive                obtaining information from DSCA and the implementing agencies of the
                             military departments—the Army, Navy, and Air Force—on the status of
Information on Acquisition   assistance agreements throughout the security assistance process.
and Delivery Status until    These officials reported that obtaining information on acquisition and
2020                         delivery status was particularly problematic. According to DSCA’s
                             Security Assistance Management Manual, in order to facilitate information
                             sharing regarding assistance agreement status, the implementing




                             Page 12                                           GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
agencies must communicate frequently with DSCA, the combatant
commands, and the security cooperation officers, as well as with other
entities involved in executing security assistance programs. 17 However,
focus group participants at the commands and the security cooperation
officers we interviewed reported a number of problems obtaining the
information they need in order to implement security assistance programs
throughout the process. Specifically, they reported that:

•    DSCA and implementing agency information systems were difficult to
     access;

•    implementing agency information systems often did not contain
     current information;

•    these systems often did not contain the specific type of information
     the officials needed;

•    implementing agencies generally did not proactively provide the
     information that was available;

•    shipping documentation was often missing or inadequate; and

•    deliveries arrived when the SCOs did not expect them.

Security cooperation officials we interviewed reported examples of this
lack of information delaying assistance, increasing costs, or negatively
affecting their ability to keep partner countries and senior officers at the
combatant commands informed about the progress of the assistance
agreements. For example, security cooperation officers at four SCOs
reported that equipment was held by the partner country’s customs
agency because the delivery lacked proper documentation or proper
address labels, and additional customs fees were incurred while the
security cooperation officers found the missing information. Security
cooperation officers in two SCOs noted instances where shipments were
warehoused in a customs office for 2 years because they had no


17
  The manual uses many terms to describe the entities involved in the security assistance
process. In this instance, the manual mentions the implementing agencies must
communicate frequently with a list of entities, one of which is the “requesting authority.” It
also states that the combatant commands often perform the role of the requesting
authority within DOD. For the purpose of this report, we will refer to the requesting
authority as the combatant commands. See DSCA 5105.38-M at C15.1.3.8 and C15.1.3.6.




Page 13                                                       GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
addresses or were improperly addressed. Security cooperation officers in
three SCO reported discovering equipment at ports and airports that had
arrived without advance notice.

In addition to receiving reports of challenges encountered by officials
using the various DOD information systems, we analyzed the extent to
which data were available in the delivery tracking information system.
DOD has created an information system intended to provide a single,
consolidated, authoritative source for security assistance shipment
information tracking. However, we found that DOD is not ensuring that
entities charged with carrying out deliveries are fully providing data for
this system. The Security Assistance Management Manual recommends
that SCOs use the EFTS to maintain awareness of incoming shipments to
the partner country when the items are shipped using the U.S. Defense
Transportation System. EFTS, accessible through the Security
Cooperation Information Portal, collects, processes, and integrates
transportation information generated by the military services, Defense
Logistics Agency, the U.S. Transportation Command, participating
carriers, freight forwarders, and partner countries—all of which can play a
role in the equipment delivery process and in populating the information
systems.

However, EFTS is not currently populated with sufficient information to
provide transit visibility. The system currently provides information
regarding when cargo leaves the supply source for most security
assistance deliveries, but we found that information availability decreases
as deliveries transit through intermediate points and on to final
destinations. EFTS provides limited information documenting, for
example, the date a shipment departs the United States and arrives at a
port in the recipient country. In addition, the system documents about 1
percent of the dates that equipment arrived at the in-country final
destination. Figure 2 provides percentages of fields in EFTS for which
participating entities provided data, based on a sample of FMF deliveries,
for fiscal years 2007-2011.




Page 14                                           GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Figure 2: Percentage of Intermediate and Final Delivery Points Containing Data for
Sample Deliveries Originating in Fiscal Years 2007-2011




The lack of data in EFTS is caused by inconsistent participation by the
entities executing deliveries, which need to provide the data that would
populate the system. Equipment deliveries for traditional security
assistance programs are often executed by partner country freight
forwarders. According to DOD officials, some freight forwarders have
been reluctant to participate in EFTS and must be directed by the partner
country to do so, possibly requiring a change to the freight forwarder’s
contract with the partner country. Although DSCA can issue guidance to
freight forwarders, according to DSCA officials, it has no authority to
require them to follow the guidance. The 2008 DSCA memo announcing
the introduction of EFTS notes that the success of the program relies
greatly on the participation of partner countries and their freight
forwarders, and DSCA officials have since discussed ways to encourage
freight forwarders to participate in the EFTS system and report final




Page 15                                                GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
shipments. DSCA officials have acknowledged that there is still work to
be done to address challenges in implementing EFTS.

DOD has reforms underway for additional information systems to address
the lack of information across the process. In an effort to develop more
complete, comparable, and detailed data on security assistance
agreement execution, DSCA is developing a new electronic system, the
Security Cooperation Enterprise Solution, to aggregate data from the
separate computer management systems used by DOD’s implementing
agencies and standardize the handling of security assistance agreements
regardless of the assigned military service. The system is intended to
improve visibility on the acquisition and later phases of the security
assistance process. Agency leaders have noted that the Army’s Security
Assistance Enterprise Management Resource system has already
contributed to significantly increased management visibility across the
entire security assistance process for Army-implemented assistance
agreements and will bolster efforts to make similar management tools
available across implementing agencies, particularly once incorporated
into the Security Cooperation Enterprise Solution.

The Security Cooperation Enterprise Solution is intended to be a long-
term solution to information management challenges. DSCA officials
expect to provide the system to one of the implementing agencies in 2015
and plan to complete system implementation in 2020, when the remaining
two implementing agencies will have access to the system. DSCA has
also initiated reforms intended to increase visibility for specific phases of
the process. For example, in 2010, DSCA undertook an effort to improve
the quality of the documentation included with each shipment. As a result,
the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management issued a
training guide in 2012 to improve the accuracy of addresses on
shipments. Furthermore, to address problems with the agreement
development phase, DSCA is working with the Defense Contracting
Management Agency to develop a way to make contract information
available to FMS customers via the Security Cooperation Information
Portal. The stated goal is to allow customers to search for the information
as well as to create reports containing contract information that can be
sent to a range of FMS customers. The training and workforce structure
reforms discussed earlier may also address some of the reported
challenges regarding information accessibility.




Page 16                                            GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                            DSCA has collected data that show improved timeliness in processing
DSCA Data Indicate          security assistance requests and developing security assistance
Improved Timeliness         agreements. However, assessing the timeliness of the entire security
                            assistance process is difficult, because DSCA lacks timeliness
in the Initial Phases of    performance measures for the other phases and for the overall process. 18
the Security                For example, the agency does not measure the timeliness of assistance
Assistance Process,         acquisition, delivery, and case closure, which usually comprise the most
                            time-consuming activities.
but Provide Limited
Information on Other
Phases

DSCA Collects Information   According to Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government,
from Implementing           U.S. agencies should monitor and assess the quality of performance over
Agencies to Monitor         time. 19 Furthermore, the Government Performance and Results Act of
                            1993, as amended, requires agencies to develop performance measures,
Performance across the
                            monitor progress on achieving goals, and report on their progress in their
Security Assistance         annual performance reports. 20 Our previous work has noted that the lack
Process                     of clear, measurable goals makes it difficult for program managers and
                            staff to link their day-to-day efforts to achieving the agency’s intended
                            mission. 21

                            DSCA has access to many security assistance management systems that
                            implementing agencies use and maintain to manage the security
                            assistance process. DSCA routinely extracts selected information from
                            these systems to oversee the process and has established some
                            performance measures to assess timeliness in various phases.



                            18
                              We have previously commented on DSCA’s limited ability to obtain information to
                            effectively administer and oversee the security assistance process in GAO, Defense
                            Exports: Foreign Military Sales Program Needs Better Controls for Exported Items and
                            Information for Oversight, GAO-09-454 (Washington, D.C.: May 2009).
                            19
                             GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1
                            (Washington, D.C.: November 1999).
                            20
                              Pub. L. No. 103-62, as amended by the Government Performance and Results Act
                            (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010, Pub. L. No.111-352.
                            21
                             GAO, Results-Oriented Government: GPRA Has Established a Solid Foundation for
                            Achieving Greater Results, GAO-04-38 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 10, 2004).




                            Page 17                                                   GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
DOD Has Improved
Request Processing Time,
but DSCA Cannot Measure
All Time Spent Developing
Assistance Requests         DSCA data indicate improvements in the timeliness of assistance request
                            processing. In the assistance request phase, DSCA measures the
                            number of security assistance requests and the time spent processing
                            them after they are received. DSCA measures processing time as the
                            number of days from the time a request is formally received until it is
                            “complete,” or ready for the agreement development phase. According to
                            DSCA data, the number of days necessary for processing assistance
                            requests once they are formally received has improved from about 22
                            days in fiscal year 2008 to about 13 days in fiscal year 2011.

                            While DOD has improved its response to the formal request, a partner
                            country or combatant command’s perspective of the time required to
                            develop security assistance requests may be different from the portion of
                            that time under the oversight of DSCA. A significant amount of time
                            devoted to the development of assistance requests takes place before the
                            customer submits an assistance request to an implementing agency or
                            DSCA. For example, U.S. officials such as combatant command and
                            SCO staff as well as experts on relevant defense equipment may work
                            intensively with partner country officials before the request is officially
                            submitted.


DOD Has Improved the
Timeliness of Agreement
Development

                            DSCA data show that implementing agencies have reduced the time
                            spent during the agreement development phase of the security
                            assistance process. DSCA uses a single data system to collect detailed
                            information from implementing agencies on the time required to develop
                            security assistance agreements. 22 This information allows common



                            22
                             Information regarding key security assistance milestones is collected in the Defense
                            Security Assistance Management System.




                            Page 18                                                    GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
performance measurement that provides a basis for focused reforms to
reduce process times in this phase. Aggregate DSCA data for all
agreements indicate a reduction in the average, or mean, number of days
for an assistance agreement to be fully developed and offered to partner
countries from 124 days in fiscal year 2007 to 109 days in fiscal year
2011, with a fiscal year 2009 low of 103 days (see fig. 3).

Figure 3: Average Days Spent in Agreement Development (FY2007-FY2011)




In addition, sample DSCA data we analyzed indicate that agreement
development is faster for BPC programs than the traditional FMF security
assistance program for the 17 countries in our sample. 23 During fiscal
years 2007 through 2011, FMF security assistance agreement
development for our 17 sample countries took an average of 89 days,
whereas agreement development for BPC programs in sample countries
other than Iraq and Afghanistan took an average of 76 days. Agreement




23
 We analyzed data on agreement development performance for DSCA-administered BPC
and traditional FMF security assistance programs for a judgmental sample of 17 countries.
See app. I for more details.




Page 19                                                   GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
development for BPC assistance projects in Afghanistan and Iraq was
faster still—36 days on average. See table 2.

Table 2: Average Days for Agreement Development for Sample Afghanistan and
Iraq BPC, Other BPC, and FMF Programs (Fiscal Years 2007-2011)

Program                                                         Average number of days
Afghanistan- and Iraq-related BPC program agreements                                       36
Other BPC program agreements                                                               76
Traditional (FMF) program agreements                                                       89
Source: GAO analysis of DSCA data




DOD officials we interviewed suggested several factors that may be
contributing to the faster agreement development time for Afghanistan,
Iraq, and other BPC programs in our sample. For example, funding for
BPC programs may need to be obligated more quickly than traditional
security assistance funding; 24 intensive management offices for
Afghanistan and Iraq help expedite agreement development for those
partner countries; and DOD’s combatant command for the region
including Iraq and Afghanistan has created a task force to enhance
communication of command priorities. Furthermore, our analysis of
sample data did not indicate that the improved timeliness in developing
BPC security assistance agreements decreased the timeliness of
developing FMF agreements for our sample countries. We found that the
time spent developing FMF agreements in our selected countries
decreased slightly from over 100 days in fiscal year 2007 to less than 90
days in fiscal year 2011. 25

Despite reducing the time spent in the agreement development phase,
implementing agencies have not consistently met DSCA’s established
timeliness goal. In 2010, DSCA defined this goal as providing security
assistance agreements to customers on or before the anticipated offer
date for at least 85 percent of agreements. The anticipated offer date is


24
 Several BPC programs are funded with appropriations that are generally available for
obligation only 1 or 2 years, so the funds must be obligated within a shorter timeframe.
Funds for traditional FMF programs do not have such time constraints.
25
   The results of our analysis may differ from overall DSCA timeliness metrics due to
factors such as the type of equipment and training requested by sample partner countries
and the quality of the assistance requests submitted.




Page 20                                                     GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                         the target date by which the implementing agency is to complete
                         agreement development and offer the agreement for acceptance. 26 As
                         shown in table 3, DSCA data indicate that in fiscal year 2011,
                         implementing agencies met DSCA’s timeliness goal for BPC agreements,
                         88 percent of which were completed by the anticipated offer date. For
                         traditional agreements, the implementing agencies fell short of this goal,
                         regardless of the complexity of the agreement.

                         Table 3: On-time Completion of Security Assistance Agreements by Type, Fiscal
                         Year 2011

                                                                                   Percentage of agreements
                                                              Time allotted to     completed on time
                         Agreement type                       complete agreement   Target: 85 percent
                         Traditional                Group A   75 days              80 percent
                         (in order of
                                                    Group B   120 days             72 percent
                         complexity)
                                                    Group C   >121 days            64 percent
                         BPC                        Group D   75 days              88 percent
                         Source: GAO analysis of DSCA data




DSCA Does Not Measure
Acquisition Timeliness


                         In the acquisition phase of the security assistance process, DSCA has not
                         established performance measures to assess timeliness of acquisitions,
                         which are carried out by the implementing agencies. This phase, from
                         when implementing agencies begin to make acquisitions needed for
                         finalized security assistance agreements until such activities are
                         completed and equipment is ready to ship, is often the longest phase of
                         the process. DSCA data indicate that acquisitions that required DOD to
                         award a contract in fiscal year 2011 took between 376 and 1,085 days,
                         but there are limited common data sources across implementing agencies




                         26
                          Implementing agencies use DSCA policy guidance to assign an anticipated offer date to
                         each agreement depending on its type and complexity.




                         Page 21                                                   GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                        for assessing acquisition performance and documenting trends. 27 DOD’s
                        implementing agencies manage acquisitions with several unique
                        electronic systems, each of which allows for various status updates and
                        reporting. 28 However, we have previously reported that although the
                        systems may provide performance information within each implementing
                        agency, the information is not comparable across agencies, thus reducing
                        its value to DSCA for overall oversight. 29 DSCA plans for the Security
                        Cooperation Enterprise Solution to include information from all
                        implementing agencies and improve DSCA’s ability to monitor acquisition
                        activities across agencies. This new system is intended to be fully
                        implemented in 2020.


DSCA Does Not Measure
Delivery Timeliness


                        DSCA does not measure the timeliness of all security assistance
                        deliveries. Furthermore, DSCA does not consistently record either the
                        original target delivery dates or the actual delivery dates required to
                        determine delivery timeliness. DSCA monitors and reports one timeliness
                        target that is common across implementing agencies. According to this
                        target, estimated delivery dates for major assistance items, established
                        by implementing agencies, should be met for 95 percent or more of these
                        cases. 30 However, the usefulness of this measure for assessing or noting



                        27
                          As opposed to agreements that require awarding a contract, the time to provide items
                        from DOD stock is typically between 40 days and 8 months. Furthermore, according to
                        DSCA officials, acquisition activities for BPC programs can also be faster than the overall
                        average, but DSCA does not have data on acquisition time specific to BPC programs.
                        28
                          The Army has recently developed the Security Assistance Enterprise Management
                        Resource which is currently focused on tracking security assistance case performance for
                        Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and coalition partners, but the Army plans to expand this tool
                        to allow for the tracking of all security assistance cases in both agreement development
                        and execution phases.
                        29
                         GAO, Defense Exports: Foreign Military Sales Program Needs Better Controls for
                        Exported Items and Information for Oversight, GAO-09-454 (Washington, D.C.:
                        May 2009).
                        30
                          Definitions of “major” vary by implementing agency, but generally reflect the relative size
                        of the sale or sensitivity of the equipment.




                        Page 22                                                       GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
improvement in performance is limited. First, it does not cover all security
assistance agreements. Rather, it is used only for major equipment items
and excludes all BPC deliveries. Second, estimated delivery dates may
be extended in some circumstances. For example, DSCA officials have
noted that implementing agencies frequently change these dates when it
is determined that the original commitments cannot be met. Therefore,
the measure monitors timeliness against the most recently updated
estimated delivery date, not the original date.

The Security Cooperation Information Portal includes a data field for an
estimated date by which all security assistance materiel and services
contained in an agreement are envisioned to be delivered, as well as a
field for the actual date. Implementing agencies update the estimated
date when schedules change, rather than maintaining the original date.
Furthermore, while DSCA cannot compel partner nations to provide
actual receipt information for all traditional security assistance deliveries,
and U.S. SCO staff are required to record the actual receipt date of BPC
deliveries, they rarely do. 31 As a result, DSCA does not always have
information regarding the actual receipt dates of security assistance
deliveries. Without original estimated delivery dates and actual delivery
receipt dates, DSCA cannot fully assess the timeliness of deliveries.
Furthermore, DSCA cannot assess historical delivery timeliness
performance to identify challenges to be addressed or report
improvements achieved through reform efforts.

Learning that there is a problem with equipment that has been delivered
is often the only indication of delivery DSCA receives from partner
countries that use freight forwarders. If a partner country identifies
delivery errors, such as equipment that is missing or damaged upon
receipt, it may file a supply discrepancy report to request restitution. It is
then the implementing agencies’ responsibility, along with the DOD or
commercial source of the item in question, to address the complaints.
DSCA does have a performance measure related to adjudication of
supply discrepancy reports—the number of reports that have not been




31
   We have previously reported that weaknesses in the security assistance shipment
verification process leave security assistance articles vulnerable to loss, diversion, or
misuse. GAO, Defense Exports: Foreign Military Sales Program Needs Better Controls for
Exported Items and Information for Oversight, GAO-09-454 (Washington, D.C.:
May 2009).




Page 23                                                    GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
addressed within 1 year. 32 According to DSCA data, DSCA has reduced
the number of reports that have taken more than 1 year to address, as
shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: Open Supply Discrepancy Reports Greater than 1 Year Old, Fiscal Years
2007-2011




32
  While DSCA notes improved performance in resolving customer-identified equipment
delivery problems, DSCA does not track the frequency with which delivery problems arise.
Data reported at the August 2010 session of DSCA’s quarterly management forum noted
that supply discrepancy reports had been submitted for only 1.8 percent of total shipments
in the previous 5 years. A suggestion to institute a performance measure noting the
proportion of DSCA shipments that generate supply discrepancy reports had been
proposed to the forum as early as 2007, but had not been implemented.




Page 24                                                    GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
DSCA Does Not Measure
Timeliness of Case Closure


                             DSCA does not measure the time required to close a case—the last
                             phase of the security assistance process—and therefore cannot assess
                             the extent to which closures are performed in a timely fashion. Closing
                             inactive security assistance cases allows residual funds associated with
                             those projects to be re-purposed. Officials from the U.S. Africa Command
                             noted that even relatively small amounts of residual funds can be very
                             helpful to some partner countries. Focus group participants at five of six
                             combatant commands noted that closure of completed security
                             assistance cases takes too long and may take years. DSCA tracks the
                             number of cases closed, but not the time required to close them. In
                             addition, DSCA officials noted that the individual implementing agencies
                             track other case closure performance measures, but DSCA does not
                             incorporate those performance measures into their oversight of the
                             security assistance process.


                             Increasing global threats to U.S. interests abroad make the timely
Conclusions                  provision of U.S. assistance in building foreign partner capacity to
                             address transnational threats vital to U.S. national security. Congress has
                             created new programs to build partner capacity, and DOD has in turn
                             created new procedures to implement those programs. DOD has
                             recognized a number of challenges to managing its efforts to build foreign
                             partner capacity and has ongoing reforms to address challenges
                             associated with personnel training and workforce structure and with
                             defining partner country needs. While DOD’s reforms are addressing
                             several challenges, existing information systems are not consistently
                             populated with needed data. A lack of timely and accurate information for
                             partners, combatant commands, and SCO staff on agreement and
                             delivery status can delay assistance, impact the costs of fielding
                             equipment and training, and may adversely affect U.S. relationships with
                             partner countries. Without performance measures to monitor timeliness
                             across all phases of the security assistance process—particularly
                             acquisition, delivery, and case closure, which comprise some of the most
                             time-consuming activities—DSCA cannot assess the results of reforms or
                             inform Congress of their progress.




                             Page 25                                          GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                      To improve the ability of combatant command and SCO officials to obtain
Recommendations for   information on the acquisition and delivery status of assistance
Executive Action      agreements, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense establish
                      procedures to help ensure that DOD agencies are populating security
                      assistance information systems with complete data.

                      To improve the ability to measure the timeliness and efficiency of the
                      security assistance process, we recommend that the Secretary of
                      Defense take the following actions:

                      •   establish a performance measure to assess timeliness for the
                          acquisition phase of the security assistance process;

                      •   establish a performance measure to assess timeliness for the delivery
                          phase of the security assistance process; and

                      •   establish a performance measure to assess timeliness for the case
                          closure phase of the security assistance process.


                      We provided a draft of this report to the Departments of State and
Agency Comments       Defense for comment. State elected not to provide comments on the draft
and Our Evaluation    report; DSCA concurred with the report’s recommendations. DSCA stated
                      that it would work with military departments to ensure that information
                      systems are populated with acquisition and delivery status data and
                      continue to promote the use of the EFTS. In addition, DSCA stated that it
                      will work with the military departments to assess timeliness during the
                      acquisition phase; establish performance measures for the delivery phase
                      and encourage adherence to reporting in-country deliveries; and establish
                      performance measures to assess the timeliness of case closure. DOD
                      also provided technical comments, which we have incorporated as
                      appropriate.




                      Page 26                                          GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
We are sending copies of this report to appropriate congressional
committees, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State. In
addition, this report will be available at no charge on GAO’s website at
http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-7331 or johnsoncm@gao.gov. Contact points for our
offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the
last page of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in
appendix IV.




Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
Director
International Affairs & Trade




Page 27                                           GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
List of Committees

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


The Honorable Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Chairman
The Honorable Adam Smith
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives




Page 28                                 GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Methodology



Methodology

              In response to a Senate Armed Service Committee mandate to review the
              Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) program implementation
              processes, this report assesses the extent to which (1) Department of
              Defense (DOD) reforms address challenges that security cooperation
              officials face in implementing assistance programs and (2) DSCA
              performance measures indicate improvement in the timeliness of security
              assistance.

              To describe the phases and participants in the traditional Foreign Military
              Sales (FMS) process and the pseudo-FMS process used for newer
              programs, we reviewed and summarized the Security Assistance
              Management Manual description of these processes and DSCA flow
              charts that illustrate the FMS process at varying levels of detail. We also
              met with DSCA officials and reviewed system documentation describing
              the functions of DSCA information systems. Our summary of the FMS
              and pseudo-FMS processes does not encompass all steps and actors
              that may be involved, such as technology releasability reviews that may
              be required for sensitive equipment. To describe newer building
              partnership capacity programs (BPC), we reviewed summaries of those
              programs in the Security Assistance Management Manual, previous GAO
              reports and appropriations and authorizing legislation creating the
              programs. Our review focuses on those security cooperation programs
              where DSCA plays a role, and it does not assess other security
              assistance programs implemented by the State Department or most DOD
              counternarcotics programs.

              To assess the extent to which ongoing DOD security cooperation reforms
              address challenges that security cooperation officials face in
              implementing assistance programs, we compared security assistance
              implementation challenges to DOD reforms that are currently planned or
              in progress. To identify ongoing reform efforts, we reviewed the Security
              Cooperation Reform Phase I Report and analyzed its recommendations
              to identify those that required action by DSCA. To verify our analysis of
              DSCA’s role in addressing the recommendations, we met with the director
              and deputy director of the Security Cooperation Reform Task Force and
              DSCA officials who participated in the Task Force or are involved in
              addressing the recommendations. We also met with DSCA’s Acting Chief
              Performance Officer and the Manager of DSCA’s Continuous Process
              Improvement Program to identify and describe DSCA-directed internal
              process reviews and requested and received documentation of these
              efforts.




              Page 29                                           GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




To identify challenges to the implementation of security assistance, we
conducted focus groups or interviews with security cooperation officials in
the six geographic combatant commands and interviewed security
cooperation officers in Security Cooperation Organizations (SCOs) in 17
countries. These officers manage DOD security cooperation programs
under the guidance of the combatant commands. To select the 17
countries, we obtained data from DSCA regarding total value of
transactions per fiscal year from 2006 to 2010 for each country benefitting
from seven U.S. government-funded programs administered by DSCA:
Foreign Military Financing; Section 1206; Peacekeeping Operations and
the Global Peace Operations Initiative; Iraq Security Forces Fund;
Afghanistan Security Forces Fund; Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund;
and Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. We did not include the
Global Security Contingency Fund as part of our data analysis because it
was newly authorized in fiscal year 2012. We excluded International
Military Education and Training in order to focus on equipment and
equipment-associated training and because we had recently issued a
report specifically assessing International Military Education and
Training. 1

We then selected three countries from each of the combatant commands
for inclusion in our review based on those countries that received both the
highest volume of assistance and received the widest diversity of
programs. For Northern Command, however, we selected the only two
countries within the combatant command’s area of responsibility, Mexico
and the Bahamas, which benefitted from one of these programs. For the
remaining five geographic combatant commands, countries included in
our review were: Africa Command: Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Tunisia; Central
Command: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; European Command:
Albania, Romania, and Ukraine; Pacific Command: Bangladesh,
Indonesia, and the Philippines; and Southern Command: Belize, the
Dominican Republic, and Honduras.

Using questions tailored slightly for individual countries where
appropriate, we interviewed the staff of SCOs in these 17 countries. We
also interviewed officials at the military departments, and in the Office of
the Secretary of Defense to further clarify these challenges and their
effects. In addition, at the recommendation of security cooperation



1
    GAO-12-123.




Page 30                                            GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




officials we interviewed at the combatant commands and DSCA, we also
interviewed the staff of SCOs of two additional countries, Georgia and
Yemen. These two SCOs each had experience with a specific program,
the Coalition Readiness Support Program in Georgia and the new Global
Security Contingency Fund program in Yemen.

Using a single facilitator and common set of questions, we conducted
eight focus groups with more than 50 security cooperation officials at all
geographic combatant commands except Northern Command. We
conducted at least one focus group in each command and two in Pacific
Command, Central Command, and Africa Command. For Northern
Command, we conducted the discussion as a phone interview due to the
small number of officials involved but used the same questions that we
used with the focus groups. The focus group questions asked security
cooperation officials to describe challenges they experienced in each
phase of the security assistance process. For these sessions, we divided
the process into: creating a case (beginning with the development of a
letter or memorandum of request and ending with the finalization of a
letter of offer and acceptance); approvals (including disclosure
notification, technology transfer, Congressional notifications, and State
Department concurrence); executing a case (including procurement or
provision from DOD stock); delivery and case closure, and postdelivery
sustainment in the form of training and spares. We requested that
combatant commands identify focus group participants who would be
able to speak about their experience implementing security cooperation at
the combatant command as well as having responsibility for one or more
of the 17 countries selected for SCO interviews. During the focus groups,
the GAO facilitator wrote comments as they were made so that all focus
group participants could see them and other GAO staff took notes
documenting the discussion. No audio recordings were made.

GAO staff then consolidated the notes from each session and two GAO
staff members independently summarized the challenges and common
themes identified by each focus group and the Northern Command
interview. The two independent staff members then met to resolve any
discrepancies and agreed to a common set of 65 distinct challenges to
the implementation of U.S. government-funded programs raised in the
focus group discussions and the Northern Command interview. For
additional analyses of the challenges, we counted which challenges were
raised by more than one geographic combatant command. We then
conducted a second round of coding. Two staff members independently
analyzed the challenges and identified those that were within DSCA’s
purview and identified themes under which these challenges could be


Page 31                                          GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




grouped. The two coders met to resolve any discrepancies and identified
20 challenges within DSCA’s purview that were raised by more than one
geographic combatant command. The coders grouped the challenges
according to categories; along with 2 other challenges that did not fit
these categories. 2 Additional challenges fall under the authority of
government agencies other than DSCA, and others fall beyond the U.S.
government’s control. The focus group and interview results are not
generalizable to all recipient countries but represent the experiences of
security cooperation officials in all combatant commands for the countries
with the highest transaction values. We also reviewed interviews with the
SCOs to further document the challenges identified by focus group
participants.

To determine the availability of data on the status of deliveries in process,
we requested data on all deliveries from fiscal years 2007 to 2011 for the
17 countries and BPC programs in our sample from DOD’s Enhanced
Freight Tracking System. We then analyzed the extent to which data in
the system were populated for key milestones in the delivery process
from origin to final destination.

To identify the extent to which DSCA performance measures indicate
improvement in the timeliness of security assistance, we reviewed DSCA
performance measures reported at DSCA’s Security Cooperation
Business Forum and the discussion of these measures reflected in the
minutes of these quarterly meetings. We met with DSCA officials and
implementing agency officials to further understand these measures and
the systems that implementing agencies have in place to track and report
data to DSCA. We also inquired of DSCA’s acting Chief Performance
Officer whether there were any other performance measures routinely
compiled for senior management review. We reviewed the additional
measures provided and determined that these did not assess timeliness.
We reviewed the first three quarterly forum reports for fiscal year 2012 to
identify the current performance measures that exist for the five phases of
the FMS process we identified in order to determine whether DSCA has
data in that phase on the time required to complete it, and performance
measures to assess the timeliness of the phase. We then analyzed these




2
 See app. II for a complete list of the 20 challenges identified by more than two combatant
commands.




Page 32                                                     GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




data and measures to assess the extent that DSCA has performance
measures that can be used to assess timeliness.

To determine the timeliness of the phases of the security assistance
process, we summarized existing DSCA data reporting and performed
additional analyses of DSCA source data. We also performed an
independent analysis of the number of days spent by DSCA and
implementing agencies developing security assistance agreements based
on security assistance requests received from the 17 partner countries in
our sample and for BPC programs for fiscal years 2007 through 2011. For
this analysis we used data from the DSCA’s Defense Security Assistance
Management System. The system contains information regarding key
milestone dates that can be used to assess timeliness of some aspects of
the security assistance process. We determined the DSCA performance
metrics and data were sufficiently reliable for our purposes by undertaking
data reliability steps including reviewing system usage and
documentation guidance; interviewing knowledgeable agency officials;
conducting electronic and manual data testing to identify missing data,
outliers, and obvious errors; and by reviewing internal controls. To
determine the time to develop an agreement, we calculated the number of
days between the date listed for “Customer Request Complete” and
“Document Sent,” in accordance with DSCA’s method of measuring
processing time from the time when a letter of request is complete until
the release of the security assistance agreement to partner countries for
signature. Using these data, we analyzed the time frames to develop
agreements for BPC programs and traditional programs for the 17 sample
countries. The results of our analysis may differ from overall DSCA
timeliness metrics due to factors such as the type of equipment and
training requested by sample partner countries and the quality of the
assistance request submitted. The results of our work for the BPC
programs and 17 countries in our sample are not generalizable to all
countries receiving assistance.

We conducted this performance audit from November 2011 through
November 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the
audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
believe the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 33                                          GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix II: Challenges Identified by
                                               Appendix II: Challenges Identified by
                                               Geographic Combatant Command Security
                                               Cooperation Officials


Geographic Combatant Command Security
Cooperation Officials
                                               Between April and June 2012, GAO conducted eight focus groups with 50
                                               security cooperation officials at all geographic combatant commands
                                               except Northern Command. For Northern Command, we conducted the
                                               discussion as an interview in June due to the small number of officials
                                               involved but used the same questions as for the focus groups. GAO
                                               analyzed the results and identified 65 distinct challenges to implementing
                                               security assistance programs, 20 of which were raised in two or more of
                                               the six commands and are within DOD’s purview. GAO grouped these 20
                                               challenges into four categories: U.S. training and workforce structure;
                                               U.S. ability to define partner country requirements; information on
                                               assistance security agreement status; and other challenges.

Table 4: Challenges within DOD’s Purview to Implementing Security Assistance Programs that Were Identified by Combatant
Command Officials.

                                                                Africa Central European Northern Pacific Southern
Challenge                                                     Command Command Command Command Command Command
U.S. training and workforce structure                            x                     x                    x           x
1.   SCOs do not have sufficient staffing, limiting their        x                                          x
     effectiveness as they produce proposals, build
     relationships in-country, and track cases through to
     delivery.
2.   SCOs do not have sufficient training.                                             x                    x           x
U.S. ability to define partner country needs                     x                     x      x             x           x
3.   SCOs do not adequately define requirements when                                   x      x             x           x
     assisting with the preparation of letters or
     memorandums of request.
4.   Senior U.S. officials who are not Foreign Military          x                     x                    x           x
     Sales experts (such as Defense Attachés) do not
     understand the process and may create unrealistic
     partner country expectations.
Information on assistance security agreement status              x          x          x      x             x           x
5.   The Theater Security Cooperation Management                 x                                          x
     Information System currently provides an insufficient
     common operating picture of all security cooperation
     activities.
6.   The Security Cooperation Information Portal is not                                x                                x
     user friendly and requires training partner countries
     may not have received/have access to.
7.   The Security Cooperation Information Portal is not                                x                                x
     user friendly and requires training U.S. personnel
     may not have received.
8.   DSCA staff are insufficiently responsive to requests        x                                          x
     for detailed information or for reliable resources for
     such information.




                                               Page 34                                            GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
                                              Appendix II: Challenges Identified by
                                              Geographic Combatant Command Security
                                              Cooperation Officials




                                                                      Africa Central European Northern Pacific Southern
Challenge                                                           Command Command Command Command Command Command
9.   Implementing agency processes and systems vary,                                                               x           x
     which requires additional work by combatant
     command staff.
10. Combatant commands lack sufficient information                         x                     x
    about the letter of request case history, such as
    access to a copy of the letter for reference.
11. Inaccurate cost estimates lead to the cancellation or                  x                 x
    reductions in scope of a case.
12. Combatant commands lack sufficient updates                             x                 x                     x
    regarding DSCA and the implementing agencies’
    development of letters of offer and acceptance.
13. Combatant commands have insufficient information                                         x                     x           x
    on the status of cases in execution.
14. There is limited ability to track equipment shipments.                 x                                       x
15. U.S. and partner countries communication and                           x                                       x
    planning for equipment delivery are insufficient.
16. Items are delivered to the wrong address.                              x                 x       x
17. Deliveries arrive without advance notice.                              x                         x
18. Deliveries do not have sufficient customs and other                                              x                         x
    shipping documentation.
Other challenges
19. Case closure is too slow and residual funds that could                 x                 x   x                 x           x
    be used to fill additional requirements are left unused.
20. Small dollar value cases receive insufficient attention.                                 x                                 x
                                              Source: GAO analysis of focus group results.




                                              Page 35                                                    GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix III: Comments from the
              Appendix III: Comments from the Department
              of Defense



Department of Defense




              Page 36                                      GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 37                                      GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 38                                      GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Charles Michael Johnson, Jr., 202-512-7331, or johnsoncm@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, James B. Michels, Assistant
Acknowledgments   Director; Kathryn Bolduc; Martin DeAlteriis; Karen Deans; Katherine
                  Forsyth; Mary Moutsos; Michael Silver; and Michael Simon made key
                  contributions to this report. C. Etana Finkler provided additional technical
                  assistance.




                  Page 39                                            GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
Related GAO Products
             Related GAO Products




             State Partnership Program: Improved Oversight, Guidance, and Training
             Needed for National Guard’s Efforts with Foreign Partners. GAO-12-548.
             Washington, D.C.: May 15, 2012.

             Security Force Assistance: Additional Actions Needed to Guide
             Geographic Combatant Command and Service Efforts. GAO-12-556.
             Washington, D.C.: May 10, 2012.

             Humanitarian and Development Assistance: Project Evaluations and
             Better Information Sharing Needed to Manage the Military’s Efforts.
             GAO-12-359. Washington, D.C.: February 8, 2012.

             Persian Gulf: Implementation Gaps Limit the Effectiveness of End-Use
             Monitoring and Human Rights Vetting for U.S. Military Equipment.
             GAO-12-89. Washington, D.C.: November 17, 2011.

             International Military Education and Training: Agencies Should
             Emphasize Human Rights Training and Improve Evaluations.
             GAO-12-123. Washington, D.C.: October 27, 2011.

             Foreign Police Assistance: Defined Roles and Improved Information
             Sharing Could Enhance Interagency Collaboration. GAO-11-860SU.
             Washington, D.C: May 9, 2012.

             International Affairs: Accountability for U.S. Equipment Provided to
             Pakistani Security Forces in the Western Frontier Needs to Be Improved.
             GAO-11-156R. Washington, D.C: February 15, 2011.

             Defense Exports: Reporting on Exported Articles and Services Needs to
             Be Improved. GAO-10-952. Washington, D.C.: Sep 21, 2010.

             Persian Gulf: U.S. Agencies Need to Improve Licensing Data and to
             Document Reviews of Arms Transfers for U.S. Foreign Policy and
             National Security Goals. GAO-10-918. Washington, D.C: September 20,
             2010.

             International Security: DOD and State Need to Improve Sustainment
             Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation for Section 1206 and 1207
             Assistance Programs. GAO-10-431. Washington, D.C.: April 15, 2010.

             Defense Exports: Foreign Military Sales Program Needs Better Controls
             for Exported Items and Information for Oversight. GAO-09-454.
             Washington, D.C.: May 20, 2009.


             Page 40                                         GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
           Related GAO Products




           Afghanistan Security: Lack of Systematic Tracking Raises Significant
           Accountability Concerns about Weapons Provided to Afghan National
           Security Forces. GAO-09-267. Washington, D.C.: January 30, 2009.

           Combating Terrorism: Increased Oversight and Accountability Needed
           over Pakistan Reimbursement Claims for Coalition Support Funds.
           GAO-08-806. Washington, D.C.: June 24, 2008.

           Preliminary Observations on the Use and Oversight of U.S. Coalition
           Support Funds Provided to Pakistan. GAO-08-735R. Washington, D.C.:
           May 6, 2008.

           Stabilizing Iraq: DOD Cannot Ensure That U.S.-Funded Equipment Has
           Reached Iraqi Security Forces. GAO-07-711. Washington, D.C.: July 31,
           2007.

           Section 1206 Security Assistance Program—Findings on Criteria,
           Coordination, and Implementation. GAO-07-416R. Washington, D.C.:
           February 28, 2007.

           Security Assistance: State and DOD Need to Assess How the Foreign
           Military Financing Program for Egypt Achieves U.S. Foreign Policy and
           Security Goals. GAO-06-437. Washington, D.C.: April 11, 2006.




(320878)
           Page 41                                        GAO-13-84 Security Assistance
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