oversight

Legislative Study Missions: Information on Defense Department-Sponsored Visits to Turkey

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-08-28.

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

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GAO


                                                             LEGISLATIVE STUDY
                                                             MISSIONS
                                                             Information on
                                                             Defense Department-
                                                             Sponsored Visits to
                                                             Turkey
,_I ._.__   .   --..   __.-._..   -.-..-   _---.   .-..-   .._-   -.-   ..-_-.   _____”   __-__.-.--   “II-L----
                       United States
GAO                    General Accounting Office
                       Washington, D.C. 20548

                       National Security and
                       International Affairs Division

                       B-240534

                       August 28,199O

                       The Honorable Gus Yatron
                       Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Rights
                         and International Organizations
                       Committee on Foreign Affairs
                       House of Representatives

                       The Honorable William S. Broomfield
                       Ranking Republican Member
                       Committee on Foreign Affairs
                       House of Representatives

                       In response to your request, we are providing information on the
                       Defense Department’s program to send congressional staff with execu-
                       tive branch officials on study missions to the Republic of Turkey. In this
                       fact sheet, we discuss (1) the origin of the program; (2) the number of
                       program participants and types of aircraft used; (3) the total cost of the
                       program since its inception; (4) the process used to select mission par-
                       ticipants; (5) the extent, if any, of IJS. private sector cooperation in this
                       program; (6) the extent of involvement by Turkish officials; and (7) the
                       number of similar programs with other countries.


                       We found the following:
Results in Brief
                   . The program to send congressional staff on study missions to Turkey
                     began in 1985 because the executive branch was having difficulty in
                     obtaining security assistance funding for Turkey.
                   . A total of 43 participants went on the four study missions. Of this total,
                     40 individuals, one of whom went on two missions, were legislative
                     staff, while two were from the Congressional Research Service.
                   l The estimated in-country cost for the four study missions was about
                     $24,500 for daily living expenses and in-country transportation aboard
                     C-12 aircraft. In addition, estimated round-trip international transporta-
                     tion costs of $133,000 can be attributed to the missions as their share of
                     the military C-135 air flights between the United States and Turkey.
                   l Program participants were selected based on their availability and the
                     judgment of the Defense official who manages the program.
                   8 The U.S. private sector is not involved with the program.
                   9 Turkish officials had no role in selecting program participants and gen-
                     erally had no contact with them until they had arrived in Turkey,
                   . No similar programs exist with other countries.


                       Page 1                       GAO/NSLAD90-269F!3 Legislative Study Missions in Turkey
                   I&240524




                   In October 1981, the Secretary of Defense proposed establishing a high-
Program Origin     level defense group to meet with high-level Turkish officials to discuss
                   policy-related issues. The group is headed by the Assistant Secretary of
                   Defense for International Security Policy and generally includes
                   between 12 and 15 members from various Defense organizations and the
                   Department of State. Since 1981, the group has had nine meetings with
                   Turkish officials. The first meeting was held in West Germany, and the
                   last eight meetings were held in Turkey. At the request of the Turkish
                   government, a 10th trip, scheduled for March 1990, was postponed and
                   may be rescheduled later this year.

                   In 1985, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security
                   Policy initiated a program to take congressional staffers to Turkey as
                   part of the high-level defense group. The program’s purposes are to pro-
                   mote a general understanding of U.S. objectives in Turkey, to give the
                   staffers the opportunity to meet with Turkish officials to discuss rele-
                   vant issues, and to promote an understanding of the political-military
                   importance of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and its relationship
                   to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The program manager, a
                   civilian employee in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
                   International Security Policy, stated that the program was created
                   because the executive branch was having difficulty in obtaining security
                   assistance funding for Turkey from the legislative branch due to a lack
                   of information and understanding about Turkey’s importance.


                   A total of 43 legislative participants-40   congressional staff members,
Program Activity   one of whom went twice, and 2 staff from the Congressional Research
                   Service-went on the four study missions conducted since 1985. The
                   first two missions lasted about 5 days, while the last two missions lasted
                   about a week. The participants received briefings and met with U.S. mil-
                   itary and U.S. embassy officials as well as high-level Turkish military
                   and civilian leaders to discuss military and political issues. The study
                   missions also visited military installations in Turkey.


In-Country Costs   We estimate that the total in-country cost associated with the four study
                   missions to Turkey was about $24,500 for living expenses and trips
                   taken aboard C-12 aircraft. As shown in table 1, the total cost for the
                   four missions for room and board, local transportation, and other mis-
                   cellaneous expenses was about $15,000, which the Department paid for
                   from operation and maintenance funds.



                   Page 2                     GAO/NSIALMO-269FS Legislative Study Missions in Turkey
                                          E240634




Table 1: In-Country Living Coat8 of the
Study Misrions                                                                                        Number of          Total livina
                                          Date of mission
                                                   --                                                 pkonnel             ex r--.---
                                          06/21/E - O6/26/85                                                   11             $2,761
                                                        ____II-
                                          o212lja6 - o2/25/86                                                  10              2,456
                                                                    --__
                                          12/06/86-12/13/86                                                    12              4,670
                                          ---____           -----                                                                 -
                                          o4/12/aa - 04/19/88                                                  10              5,161
                                          -- .-.                           -
                                          Total                                                                43           si5.048

                                          According to the program manager, participants took trips while in
                                          Turkey to the Kayseri tank modernization facility, the Golcuk naval
                                          facility, and the Eskisehir F-16 facility. The participants were trans-
                                          ported aboard C-12 aircraft. The official stated that on each visit, except
                                          the December 1986 visit, the participants were divided into three
                                          groups, with each group visiting one of the facilities. This official stated
                                          that on the December 1986 visit, the participants were divided into two
                                          groups and visited two of the three facilities.

                                          No records were available to show costs associated with trips other than
                                          for the three trips taken during the April 1988 mission. According to the
                                          U.S. Embassy in Turkey, three C-12 aircraft were used to transport pro-
                                          gram participants at an estimated cost of about $2,600. Assuming the
                                          cost per trip taken within Turkey during the other three missions was
                                          about the same as the cost for the April 1988 mission, the estimated
                                          total cost for all trips taken by the four missions within Turkey was
                                          about $9,500.


Allocation of International               The Defense Department also incurred costs for round-trip transporta-
Transportation Costs                      tion between the United States and Turkey for both the high-level
                                          defense group and the study missions. Based on Defense Department
                                          data on the round-trip flight time and the only available fiscal year
                                          (1988) hourly cost of $3,945 for operating a C-135 aircraft with a max-
                                          imum capacity of 32 seats, we estimated the maximum total aircraft
                                          cost for the high-level defense group and the study mission participants
                                          to be about $395,000. To determine the costs attributable to each of the
                                          congressional study missions, we divided the maximum aircraft cost by
                                          32 seats to obtain a cost per seat, and multiplied this figure by the
                                          number of participants in the study mission. Based on this calculation,
                                          we estimate that, at maximum, about $133,000 of the total aircraft oper-
                                          ation cost can be attributed to the missions. These costs are shown in
                                          table 2.



                                          Page 3                               GAO/NSIADM289FS   Legislative Study Missions in Turkey
                                          E240634




Table 2: Estimated Costs for
lnternstlonal Flights Associated With                                                                                                               cost
Congressional Study Missions                                                                                                               attributable
                                                                                              Number of          Total aircraft cost for        to study
                                          Date
                                          _.._..--. ..--..-.- .- ..-...---.....--            participants                         c-135          mission
                                          06185                                                           llPP                 $102,570 --___~~-.-
                                                                                                                                              $35,258
                                          02186                                                        ~- IO                     93,694         29,279
                                          12186                                     --..-                 12            __--    101,584
                                                                                                                                 ______-.--     38,094
                                          04188                                                -ii--                             97,639         30,512
                                          Total                                                          43                    $395.487    ~---$133,143


                                          Although these costs can be attributed to the study missions, the
                                          Defense Department would have incurred the costs for the aircraft to
                                          transport the high-level defense group regardless of whether or not the
                                          missions went to Turkey.


                                          According to the program manager, no written procedures exist for
Selection Procedures                      selecting mission participants. He stated that he develops a list of indi-
                                          viduals from the staffs of congressmen who work on matters related to
                                          Turkey and from various House and Senate Committees. He stated that
                                          he uses his own judgment in placing persons on the list and selects par-
                                          ticipants based on their interest and availability. He may or may not
                                          know these individuals personally.

                                          Information provided by the Defense Department indicates that a
                                          variety of congressional staff have participated in the four study mis-
                                          sions. For example, participants included congressional staff from the
                                          personal staffs from the offices of representatives and senators and
                                          staff from the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Foreign Rela-
                                          tions. The program manager said that he tries to select a balanced group
                                          comprised of men and women, staff members from the Senate and
                                          House of Representatives, and staff members representing both the
                                          majority and minority members of the Congress.


                                          Information provided by the Defense Department also indicates that
Other Matters
                                        . the US. private sector is not involved with the program;
                                        . Turkish officials have no role in selecting program participants and gen-
                     Y                    erally have no contact with them until they arrive in Turkey, where




                                          Page 4                                            GAO/NSLAD-90-269FS Legislative Study Missions in Turkey
                B240534




                they receive briefings and attend meetings with high-level Turkish offi-
                cials in the military, Foreign Service, Parliament, and private-sector; and
              . no similar programs exist with other countries.


                In Washington D.C., we interviewed the Defense Department program
Scope and       official and officials having information related to the program’s cost.
Methodology     We obtained and reviewed travel vouchers and supporting documents on
                the daily expenses and obtained the itineraries for each of the study
                missions to Turkey. In addition, the Air Force provided us with informa-
                tion on the round-trip flight time between the United States and Turkey
                and the fiscal year 1988 hourly cost for operating a C-135 aircraft. Also,
                we obtained information from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey,
                relating to costs associated with the C-12 aircraft used by the study mis-
                sions for in-country travel. We did not verify the cost data provided by
                either the Defense Department or the U.S. Embassy.

                Our review was conducted between April and August 1990.


                As requested, we did not obtain written agency comments on this fact
                sheet, but we discussed its contents with responsible agency officials,
                who agreed with the facts presented in the report.

                We are sending copies of this fact sheet to the Secretaries of Defense and
                State; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other inter-
                ested parties.

                If I can be of further assistance, please call me on (202) 275-4128. Major
                contributors to this fact sheet were Charles Schuler, Assistant Director,
                and Joseph Brown and Ronald Hughes, Senior Evaluators.




                Joseph E. Kelley
                Director, Security and International
                  Relations Issues




(46681)4)        Page 6                      GAO/NSIAD-90-269FS Legislative Study Missions in Turkey
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