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Department of Defense and Department of State need to improve sustainment planning, monitoring, and evaluation for Section 1206 and 1207 assistance programs.

Highlights of GAO-10-431, a report to congressional committees

For Section 1207, unless the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of State (DOS) resolve the issues the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified, including duplication, the Congress should consider not reauthorizing this program and instead appropriating funding to DOS and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For Section 1206, GAO recommends that DOD:

* Establish a monitoring and evaluation system

* Base sustainment funding decisions on assessment of results

* Estimate sustainment costs and seek funding commitments from partner nations

* Seek guidance from the Congress on how to sustain projects. DOD concurred

What Government Accountability Office Found

Sections 1206 and 1207 programs have generally been consistent with U.S. strategic priorities. The Section 1206 program was established to build the military capacity of foreign countries to conduct counterterrorism and stabilization operations. DOD and DOS have devoted 82 percent of this program's funds to address specific terrorist threats, primarily in countries the U.S. intelligence community has identified as priorities for the counterterrorism effort. The Section 1207 program was established to transfer DOD funds to DOS for nonmilitary assistance related to stabilization, reconstruction, and security. DOD, DOS, and USAID have devoted 77 percent of this program's funds to countries at significant risk of instability, mostly those the United States has identified as vulnerable to state failure.

Based on agency guidelines, the Section 1206 program is generally distinct from other programs, while the Section 1207 program is not. In most cases, Section 1206 projects addressed urgent and emergent counterterrorism and stabilization priorities of combatant commanders and did so more quickly than other programs, sometimes in a year, whereas Foreign Military Financing (FMF) projects can take up to three years to plan. DOD and embassy officials GAO spoke to consistently explained why projects do not overlap those of FMF and other programs, although project proposals GAO reviewed did not always document these distinctions. Section 1207 projects are virtually indistinguishable from those of other foreign aid programs in their content and time frames. Furthermore, the Section 1207 program has entailed additional implementation costs and funding delays beyond those of traditional foreign assistance programs, while the 1206 program has not.

The uncertain availability of resources to sustain Section 1206 projects poses risks to achieving long-term impact. Enabling nations to achieve sustainable counterterrorism capabilities is a key U.S. policy goal. The long-term viability of Section 1206 projects is threatened by:

* The limited ability or willingness of partner nations to support new capabilities, as 76 percent of Section 1206 projects are in low- or lower-middle-income countries

* U.S. legal and policy restrictions on using FMF and additional Section 1206 resources for sustainment

In contrast, sustainment risks for Section 1207 projects appear minimal, because DOS, USAID, and DOD are not restricted from drawing on a variety of overlapping funding sources to continue them.

DOD and DOS have incorporated little monitoring and evaluation into the Section 1206 and 1207 programs. For Section 1206 projects, the agencies have not consistently defined performance measures, and results reporting has generally been limited to anecdotal information. For Section 1207 projects, the agencies have defined performance measures and DOS requires quarterly reporting on project implementation. However, DOS has not fully analyzed this information or provided it to DOD to inform program management. As a result, agencies have made decisions to sustain and expand both Section 1206 and 1207 projects without documentation of progress or effectiveness.
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Title Annotation:International Security
Publication:DISAM Journal
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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