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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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DOD’s Global Train and Equip Counterterrorism Program Needs Better Management, Reporting

Department of Defense (DOD) Global Train and Equip program project proposals did not always adhere to federal internal control standards for clearly documenting three of those elements—absorptive capacity, project assessment and sustainment plans, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit report.

The program is supposed to help build the capacity of its foreign partners to combat terrorism around the world.

DOD and State Department officials “consistently considered four key security assistance project planning elements for fiscal year 2015 GlobalTrain and Equip project proposals,” GAO said, but, “DOD did not require project proposal packages to document information about the recipient unit’s absorptive capacity. In addition, assessments of recipient unit baseline capabilities did not always include all information required by agency guidance to facilitate project assessment.”

GAO reported that “13 of 54 project proposals did not include required estimates of annual sustainment costs. The sharp increase in funding for program activities in fiscal year 2015 … heightens the importance of documenting consideration of key planning elements to provide decision makers sufficient information about recipient units’ ability to use and sustain assistance.”

“Moreover,” GAO stated, “incomplete baseline assessments may limit DOD’s ability to conduct project assessments to inform future funding decisions.”

Continuing, GAO said, “DOD reporting on Global Train and Equip project assessments has not met statutory deadlines but identifies some progress in building partner nation capabilities. Despite a legal requirement to complete and submit to Congress annual assessments within 90 days of the end of each fiscal year, DOD’s fiscal year 2013, 2014, and 2015 assessment reports were submitted up to 21 months late."

"Untimely reporting may limit decision makers’ ability to use assessments to inform future project selection and sustainment decisions," GAO determined, adding that, "DOD’s assessments—which cover 28 percent of funds allocated in fiscal years 2006 through 2013—indicate some progress in building capability to combat terrorism and conduct stability operations. They also identify factors that challenge the achievement of project objectives such as proposal design and interpretation and equipment delivery and procurement. For example, one country received sniper spotting scopes that were too tall for use in a prone position, exposing the spotter.”

GAO made two recommendations to enhance DOD’s documentation and management of the Global Train and Equip program, and one to ensure timely completion of required assessment reporting to Congress.

DOD concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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