Follow-Up Audit of Department of State Efforts To Measure, Evaluate, and Sustain Antiterrorism Assistance Objectives in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

AUD-MERO-20-32
    Report Contents
    Unclassified
    Unclassified


    What OIG Audited
    The Department of State (Department) Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program trains civilian security and law enforcement personnel in foreign countries in counterterrorism techniques. The Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT) jointly manage the ATA program. In 2018, the Department spent $182 million to carry out the ATA program, with approximately $28 million dedicated to efforts implemented in partner countries that fall under the Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP).

    OIG conducted this follow-up audit to determine whether DS and CT have implemented corrective actions to address previous recommendations related to the ATA program and whether those actions have improved the Department’s efforts to measure, evaluate, and sustain ATA program objectives in EAP. OIG conducted fieldwork for this audit in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

    What OIG Recommends
    OIG made four recommendations to CT and DS to further improve the execution of the ATA program in the EAP region. On the basis of CT’s and DS’s responses to a draft of this report, OIG considers all four recommendations resolved, pending further action. A synopsis of the comments addressing the recommendations offered and OIG’s reply follow each recommendation in the Audit Results section of this report. CT’s response is reprinted in its entirety in Appendix D, DS’s response is reprinted in its entirety in Appendix E, and Embassy Bangkok’s response is reprinted in Appendix F.

    What OIG Found
    DS and CT have implemented corrective actions to warrant closure of 13 previously offered recommendations related to the ATA program, including 1 that was closed in February 2020. Specifically, OIG found that DS and CT had established a monitoring and evaluation process for the ATA program and had improved coordination with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to ensure that ATA-designated countries were eligible for assistance. In addition, DS established standard operating procedures for contract oversight, including developing a standardized reporting process. These procedures verify compliance with contract terms and conditions as well as receipt of and payment for goods and services and execution of contract modifications. Furthermore, DS implemented a process to ensure weapons and equipment transfers were properly recorded and appropriate for the partner country.

    Notwithstanding the aforementioned progress, OIG found that DS and CT need to take additional steps to ensure the established monitoring and evaluation process is followed and desired program results are achieved and accurately reported in accordance with Department policy. Specifically, in the EAP region, OIG found that neither DS nor CT consistently 1) establish baseline data and performance targets or report outcome data for the ATA programs in the region; 2) establish sustainability measures and timelines to determine when partner countries could sustain their antiterrorism programs without U.S. Government support; or 3) include information about ATA programs funded with regional and Department of Defense funds in quarterly progress reports. These conditions occurred, in part, because DS and CT have not clearly delegated responsibilities for the execution of monitoring, evaluation, and reporting. Until these conditions are addressed, DS and CT will be unable to fully measure ATA program performance in the EAP region or demonstrate that ATA country program goals and objectives are being achieved as intended.

    Recommendation Number
    1
    Closed Implemented Significant

    OIG recommends that the Bureau of Counterterrorism, in coordination with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, update the 2015 Memorandum of Agreement to clarify which bureau is responsible for collecting data on each type of performance indicator, including baselines, output measures, and long-term outcomes.

    Recommendation Number
    2
    Closed Implemented Significant

    OIG recommends that the Bureau of Counterterrorism, in coordination with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, establish a mechanism to report Department of Defense-funded Antiterrorism Assistance training and update the 2015 Memorandum of Agreement to clarify which bureau is responsible for collecting and reporting this information.

    Recommendation Number
    3
    Closed Implemented Significant

    OIG recommends that the Bureau of Counterterrorism, in coordination with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, establish a mechanism to monitor regionally funded and mentorship Antiterrorism Assistance training programs and update the 2015 Memorandum of Agreement to clarify which bureau is responsible for collecting and reporting this information.

    Recommendation Number
    4
    Closed Implemented Significant

    OIG recommends that the Bureau of Counterterrorism, in coordination with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, revise the Antiterrorism Assistance Monitoring Plan and quarterly report template to include measures on sustainability in accordance with the Foreign Affairs Manual and update the Memorandum of Agreement to clarify which bureau is responsible for collecting and reporting this information.