Department of Defense and Department of State Need to Improve Sustainment Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation for Section 1206 and 1207 Assistance Programs

Article excerpt

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. …