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GAO-10-288R: 

December 18, 2009: 

Congressional Committees: 

Subject: Overseas Contingency Operations: Funding and Cost Reporting 
for the Department of Defense: 

This report formally transmits the enclosed briefing on work performed 
under the authority of the Comptroller General to conduct evaluations 
on his own initiative. 

We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional 
committees. We are also sending copies to the Secretary of Defense and 
the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Secretaries of the 
Army, Air Force, and Navy. The report also is available at no charge on 
the GAO Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

Should you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, 
please contact Sharon L. Pickup at (202) 512-9619 or pickups@gao.gov or 
Asif A. Khan at (202) 512-9869 or khana@gao.gov. Contact points for our 
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on 
the last page of this report. 

Key contributors to this report include Ann Borseth, Assistant 
Director; Mary Ellen Chervenic, Assistant Director; Jehan Abdel-Gawad; 
Robert Brown; Maxine Hattery; LaShawnda Lindsey; Lonnie McAllister II; 
Sheila Miller; James Moses; Marcus Lloyd Oliver; Charles Perdue; Laura 
Pacheco; Richard Powelson; and Arian Terrill. 

Signed by: 

Sharon L. Pickup:
Director:
Defense Capabilities and Management: 

Signed by: 

Asif A. Khan:
Director:
Financial Management and Assurance: 

Enclosure: 

List of Committees: 

The Honorable Carl Levin: 
Chairman:
The Honorable John McCain: 
Ranking Member:
Committee on Armed Services: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye: 
Chairman:
The Honorable Thad Cochran: 
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Defense:
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Ike Skelton: 
Chairman:
The Honorable Howard McKeon: 
Ranking Member:
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable John P. Murtha: 
Chairman:
The Honorable C. W. Bill Young: 
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Defense:
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure: 

Overseas Contingency Operations: Funding and Cost Reporting for the 
Department of Defense: 

Briefing for Congressional Committees: 
December 16, 2009: 

Introduction: 

Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Department of 
Defense (DOD) has been engaged in domestic and overseas military 
operations in support of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). 

These operations include Operation Iraqi Freedom, which focuses 
principally on Iraq, and Operation Enduring Freedom, which focuses 
principally on Afghanistan but also includes operations in the Horn of 
Africa, the Philippines, and elsewhere. 

Obtaining an accurate picture of OCO costs is of critical importance 
given the need to evaluate trade-offs and make more effective use of 
defense dollars in light of the nation's long-term fiscal challenges. 
In the past, we have reported on the need for DOD to become more 
disciplined in its approach to developing plans and budgets, including 
building more OCO costs into the base defense budget. 

Objectives: 

Under the Comptroller Generalís authority, GAO evaluated: 

1) the impact of changes to OCO funding guidance on DODís fiscal year 
2010 OCO funding request, 

2) factors that could affect fiscal year2010 OCO estimates for reducing 
troop levels in Iraq and increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, and, 

3) the extent of internal controls in DODís process for producing its 
monthly OCO cost report to help ensure reliability of reported data. 

Summary of Findings: 

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued new criteria to be 
used in developing DODís fiscal year 2010 OCO funding request. To 
implement these criteria, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense 
(OUSD) (Comptroller) and the services shifted some costs to the base 
budget and cut some costs entirely. These actions, in conjunction with 
other factors such as the need for less procurement funding, 
contributed to significant decreases in the OCO funding request for 
fiscal year 2010 compared to fiscal year 2009. To build more discipline 
into the budget process, the administration should continue to look for 
opportunities to move other OCO costs into the base budget. 

A variety of factors could affect fiscal year 2010 OCO funding needs 
for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our analysis of Joint Staff 
planning assumptions developed in February 2009 and used for the fiscal 
year 2010 OCO funding request shows that the assumptions were 
optimistic and inconsistent when compared with current rotational plans 
for Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to decisions on 
troop levels, we also identified additional factors that could affect 
funding, such as changes in the security situation and decisions yet to 
be made on equipment disposition. 

We found indications that DOD and certain military services did not 
adequately document current control practices for reliably reporting 
OCO costs. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To achieve our objectives, we: 

* reviewed and analyzed OMBís Criteria for War/Overseas Contingency 
Operations Funding Requests for fiscal year 2010 and the criteria for 
prior years as well as other budget guidance issued by DOD; 

* conducted interviews with officials from OMB, OUSD (Comptroller), the 
military services, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service; 

* reviewed and analyzed the military servicesí fiscal year 2009 and 
fiscal year 2010 budget justification documents and related data; 

* compared the Joint Staffís planning assumptions used to develop the 
fiscal year 2010 funding request with force rotational plans; 

* compared policies and procedures against GAOís Standards for Internal 
Control in the Federal Government; and; 

* determined whether selected policies and procedures to help ensure 
data reliability were in use by analyzing selected data in the October 
2008 through July 2009 OCO cost reports. 

We conducted our review from April 2009 to November 2009 in accordance 
with all sections of GAO's Quality Control Assurance Framework that are 
relevant to our objectives. The framework requires that we plan and 
perform the engagement to obtain sufficient and appropriate evidence to 
meet our stated objectives and to discuss any limitations in our work. 
We believe that the information and data obtained, and the analysis 
conducted, provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions 
in this product. 

DOD provided technical comments on a draft of this product, which we 
incorporated. 

Background: OCO Funding since 2001: 

Since 2001, Congress has provided DOD with about $893 billion, as of 
November 2009, primarily for OCO. DOD has reported obligations of about 
$789 billion for OCO from September 2001 through the end of fiscal year 
2009 (September 30, 2009). 

Prior GAO work has recommended that DOD shift certain contingency costs 
into the annual base budget to allow for prioritization and trade-offs 
among DODís needs and to enhance visibility in defense spending. 
[Footnote 1] The department concurred with this recommendation. In 
February 2009, OMB issued new criteria for the development of DODís OCO 
funding requests that required DOD to move some OCO costs into the base 
budget. 

Background: Contingency Operations Cost Reporting: 

Prior GAO work has also found numerous problems in DODís processes for 
recording and reporting obligations, raising significant concerns about 
the overall reliability of DODís reported obligations. In addition, 
DODís financial management has been on GAOís list of high-risk areas 
since 1995. 

In October 2008, DOD began using Contingency Operations Reporting and 
Analysis Service (CORAS) to report OCO funding, obligations, and 
disbursements in a new monthly OCO cost report. 

Objectives for the CORAS system included: 

* improving the accuracy of the OCO reporting process by electronically 
capturing data from DOD accounting systems, 

* providing a Web-based tool to allow users to manually input data not 
readily available electronically from DOD accounting systems, and; 

* producing OCO cost reports electronically. 

Figure: Funding Available to DOD for OCO (Fiscal Years 2001 through 
2009) and DODís Fiscal Year 2010 OCO Funding Request: 

[Refer to PDF for image: stacked vertical bar graph] 

Fiscal year: 2001; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $16 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $13 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $63 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $61 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $70 billion; 
Title IX: $25 billion; 
Total: $95 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $48 billion; 
Title IX: $60 billion; 
Total: $108 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $86 billion; 
Title IX: $70 billion; 
Total: $156 billion. 

2008; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $81 billion; 
Title IX: $87 billion; 
Total: $168 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2009; 
Emergency supplemental appropriation: $71 billion; 
Title IX: $77 billion; 
Total: $137 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2010; 
Fiscal year 2010 OCO request: $130 billion. 

Source: DOD. 

Notes: From fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2009, Congress 
provided funds to DOD in emergency supplemental appropriations and 
Title IX of DODís regular annual appropriation. These appropriations 
included funds that could be used for OCO. Except for fiscal year 2010, 
the figures reflect DODís calculations of amounts available for OCO 
based on excluding funds that were appropriated for specific purposes, 
such as hurricane assistance. For fiscal year 2010, the figure reflects 
DODís OCO funding request. 

[End of figure] 

Figure: DODís Fiscal Year 2010 OCO and Base Budget Requests: 

[Refer to PDF for image: stacked vertical bar graph and pie-chart] 

FY 2010: 
Base request: $533.8 billion; 
OCO Request: $130.0 billion; 
Total: $663.8 billion. 

OCO Request breakdown: 
Operations: $64.1 billion; 
Force Protection: $15.2 billion; 
IED Defeat: $1.5 billion; 
Military Intelligence: $4.7 billion; 
Afghan National Security Forces: $7.5 billion; 
Pakistan COIN Capability: $0.7 billion; 
Coalition Support: $1.9 billion; 
CERP: $1.5 billion; 
MilCon: $1.4 billion; 
Reconstitution: $17.6 billion; 
Non-DOD Classified: $3.98 billion. 

Source: DOD. 

Note: COIN refers to Counterinsurgency and CERP refers to the 
Commander's Emergency Response Program. 

[End of figure] 

Objective 1: OMB Revised Criteria for Development of DODís Fiscal Year 
2010 OCO Funding Request: 

In 2007, DOD revised its Financial Management Regulation, expanding the 
definition of acceptable maintenance and procurement costs and 
directing the military services to begin including ďlonger war on 
terrorĒ costs in their OCO funding requests. 

GAO subsequently recommended that DOD issue guidance defining what 
constitutes the ďlonger war on terror,Ē to identify what costs are 
related to that longer war and to build these costs into the base 
defense budget.[Footnote 2] The department concurred with this 
recommendation. This provides greater opportunity and impetus for DOD 
to assess priorities and make trade-offs within the base budget. 

In February 2009, OMB issued new criteria specifying which costs 
formerly considered OCO should be included in the baseline budget. OUSD 
(Comptroller) plans to put the criteria in its Financial Management 
Regulation by early 2010. 

OMB Revised Criteria for Development of DODís Fiscal Year 2010 OCO 
Funding Request: 

Significant changes in the criteria used to build the fiscal year 2010 
OCO funding request include the following: 

Table: 

Area: Geographic Theater of Operations; 
Current OCO Funding Guidance: Includes U.S. Central Command, the Horn 
of Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Philippines, among others; 
Prior OCO Funding Guidance: Does not specify locations, which allowed 
for funding such items as home station needs to support contingency 
operations. 

Area: Equipment; 
Current OCO Funding Guidance: Specifies stricter definitions of 
replacement, repair, modification, and procurement of equipment; new 
criteria specify a 12-month time frame for obligating funds; 
Prior OCO Funding Guidance: Does not specify obligation time frames. 

Area: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); 
Current OCO Funding Guidance: Funding for research and development must 
be for projects required for combat operations in the theater that can 
be delivered in 12 months; 
Prior OCO Funding Guidance: No time frame restrictions. 

Area: Personnel; 
Current OCO Funding Guidance: Excludes pay and allowances for end 
strength above level requested in budget; 
Prior OCO Funding Guidance: Included. 

Area: Family Support Initiatives; 
Current OCO Funding Guidance: Excludes family support initiatives that 
would endure after U.S. forces redeploy to home stations; 
Prior OCO Funding Guidance: Included. 

Area: Base Realignment and Closure; 
Current OCO Funding Guidance: Excluded; 
Prior OCO Funding Guidance: Included. 

[End of table] 

Implementation of OMB Criteria Affected Fiscal Year2010 OCO Funding 
Request: 

To implement the new OCO criteria, OUSD (Comptroller) and the services 
shifted some costs to the base budget and cut some costs entirely. 
These actions, in conjunction with other factors such as the need for 
less procurement funding in fiscal year 2010, contributed to 
significant OCO funding request decreases in several appropriation 
accounts in fiscal year 2010, particularly in procurement, RDT&E, and 
military construction. 

Table: Contingency Operations Related Requests by Account Title (Fiscal 
Years 2009-2010) (Dollars in thousands): 

Account title: Military Personnel; 
FY 2009: $17,381,369; 
FY 2010: $13,586,341; 
Percentage change, FY09-10: -22%. 

Account title: Operation and Maintenance; 
FY 2009: $91,657,226; 
FY 2010: $90,560,280; 
Percentage change, FY09-10: -1%. 

Account title: Procurement; 
FY 2009: $31,464,438; 
FY 2010: $23,741,226; 
Percentage change, FY09-10: -25%. 

Account title: RDT&E; 
FY 2009: $1,197,725; 
FY 2010: $310,254; 
Percentage change, FY09-10: -74%. 

Account title: Military Construction; 
FY 2009: $2,113,032; 
FY 2010: $1,404,984; 
Percentage change, FY09-10: -34%. 

Account title: Total; 
FY 2009: $143,813,790; 
FY 2010: $129,603,085; 
Percentage change, FY09-10: -10%. 

Source: DOD. 

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. 

[End of table] 

Applying the new criteria, OUSD (Comptroller) shifted about $7.8billion 
in funding from OCO to the fiscal year 2010 base budget request. 
Programs and initiatives that shifted to the base were overarching and 
long term. 

Table: DOD Funding Shifted to Base Budget due to New Criteria: 

Program: Grow the Force; 
Amount Shifted: $2.3 billion. 

Program: Medical Support Costs; 
Amount Shifted: $2.8 billion. 

Program: Recruiting and Retention; 
Amount Shifted: $0.6 billion. 

Program: Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization; 
Amount Shifted: $0.6 billion. 

Program: Family Support Initiatives; 
Amount Shifted: $0.6 billion. 

Program: Building Partnerships; 
Amount Shifted: $0.6 billion. 

Program: Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Enhancements; 
Amount Shifted: $0.3 billion. 

Total: $7.8 billion. 

[End of table] 

To accommodate these shifts, OMB raised DODís annual base budget limit 
by $8 billion. Therefore, DOD did not need to make trade-offs to stay 
within the budget. 

In addition to shifting costs, OUSD (Comptroller) and the services made 
a number of cuts to the fiscal year 2010 OCO funding request because of 
the new criteria: 

* New restrictions on procurement resulted in a number of aircraft 
funding requests being denied by OSD (Comptroller), including: 
- Marine Corps request for 2 KC-130J tankers ($200 million). 
- Navy request for 5 EA-18G Growlers ($300 million). 

* New restrictions on the geographic area of operations resulted in a 
number of military construction projects being denied by OSD 
(Comptroller), including: 
- Air Force request for construction and maintenance of runways in Guam 
($80 million). 
- Marine Corps request for docks and warehouse facilities at Blount 
Island Command in Florida ($90 million). 

OMBís new OCO criteria have resulted in DOD building a number of former 
OCO costs into the base defense budget, as suggested by our prior 
recommendation. To build more discipline into the budget process, the 
administration should continue to look for opportunities to move other 
OCO costs into the base budget. 

OMB Waived New Criteria to Allow for End Strength Growth: 

In July 2009, DOD decided to temporarily increase the Armyís Active 
Component by up to 22,000 personnel, the costs for 15,000 of which 
would be funded in fiscal year 2010. 

In August 2009, the administration submitted budget amendments to the 
fiscal year 2010 OCO request, reallocating $1.0 billion in order to 
provide funding for the additional personnel. The amendments reduced 
Army funding for vehicles by about $700 million and reduced Navy and 
Air Force procurement funding by about $310 million. This funding was 
then shifted to military personnel and various operation and 
maintenance accounts. 

These amendments request pay and allowances for end strength above the 
level requested in the Presidentís budget. These types of costs are 
specifically excluded by the new OMB criteria. OMB officials explained 
that this increase is ďtemporaryĒand is the Armyís only alternative to 
stop-loss for active duty personnel, and therefore OMB waived the 
criteria. OMB expects Army force levels to return to the current active 
end strength of 547,400 once demand for deploying units stabilizes. 

[End of Objective 1] 

Objective 2: 

Fiscal Year 2010 OCO Funding Request Based on Joint Staff Planning 
Assumptions: 

The fiscal year 2010 OCO funding request assumed average force 
structure levels of about 100,000 in Iraq and 68,000 in Afghanistan. 

The request reflects plans for reducing troop levels in Iraq and 
increasing troop levels in Afghanistan based upon Joint Staff Planning 
Assumptions, developed in February 2009. 

According to GAO analysis and confirmed by discussions with the Joint 
Staff, the Planning Assumptions were optimistic (faster withdrawal of 
troops) and inconsistent with current rotational plans for Army units 
in Iraq and Afghanistan (more troops rotating in than planned). 

According to both Comptroller and Joint Staff officials, it may become 
necessary to seek additional funding in fiscal year 2010 through a 
supplemental or other means because of deviations from the Planning 
Assumptions. 

Iraq: Additional Factors That Could Affect Fiscal Year 2010 Funding 
Needs for the Troop Drawdown: 

GAO has identified several additional factors that could affect funding 
needs for the Iraq drawdown in fiscal year 2010 and beyond, including: 

* Changes in the security situation in the area. 

* Decisions on the disposition of vehicles and other items, including 
what can and will be transferred to the Iraqi Government. 

* DOD's ability to identify and move equipment from Iraq, including
the storage and transfer capability in Kuwait and the capacity to
receive and reset equipment in the continental United States. 

* Further identification of drawdown-related contract services and a 
lack of contract oversight personnel. 

* Environmental cleanup costs associated with large base closures. 

Afghanistan: Additional Factors That Could Affect Fiscal Year 2010 
Funding Needs for the Troop Plus-Up: 

GAO has identified several additional factors that could affect funding 
needs for the Afghanistan plus-up in fiscal year 2010 and beyond, 
including: 

* Changes in the security situation in the area. 

* Availability of U.S. forces, particularly for specialized 
capabilities such as engineering, civil affairs, transportation, and 
military police. 

* DODís ability to adjust its training capacity from Iraq to 
Afghanistan. 

* DODís continued assessment of equipment requirements and availability 
for Afghanistanís harsh operating environment. 

* DODís ability to transport personnel and equipment given 
Afghanistanís limited infrastructure and topography, as well as its 
strategic airlift capacity and regional staging base options. 

* Requirements for additional contractors. 

[End of Objective 2] 

Objective 3: Preliminary Observations on Contingency Operations Cost 
Reporting: 

We found indications that DOD and certain military services did not 
adequately document current control practices for reliably reporting 
OCO costs, including: 

* providing for effective oversight of implementation of our previous 
recommendation concerning OCO cost allocations or, 

* documenting the results of monthly OCO cost analyses, comparisons, 
and reasonableness checks. 

As appropriate, we plan to provide more detail on the extent and nature 
of our findings with respect to these observations, along with related 
recommended actions, in a separate report. 

[End of Objective 3] 

Related GAO Products: 

Global War on Terrorism: DOD Needs to More Accurately Capture and 
Report the Costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring 
Freedom. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-302]. 
Washington, D.C.: March 17, 2009. 

Defense Budget: Independent Review Is Needed to Ensure DOD's Use of 
Cost Estimating Tool for Contingency Operations Follows Best Practices. 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-982]. Washington, D.C.: 
September 15, 2008. 

Supplemental Appropriations: Opportunities Exist to Increase 
Transparency and Provide Additional Controls. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-314]. Washington, D.C.: January 31, 
2008. 

Global War on Terrorism: DOD Needs to Take Action to Encourage Fiscal 
Discipline and Optimize the Use of Tools Intended to Improve GWOT Cost 
Reporting. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-68]. 
Washington, D.C.: November 6, 2007. 

Global War on Terrorism: Fiscal Year 2006 Obligation Rates Are Within 
Funding Levels and Significant Multiyear Procurement Funds Will Likely 
Remain Available for Use in Fiscal Year 2007. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-76]. Washington, D.C.: November 13, 
2006. 

Global War on Terrorism: Observations on Funding, Costs, and Future 
Commitments. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-885T]. 
Washington, D.C.: July 18, 2006. 

Global War on Terrorism: DOD Should Consider All Funds Requested for 
the War When Determining Needs and Covering Expenses. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-767]. Washington, D.C.: September 
28, 2005. 

Global War on Terrorism: DOD Needs to Improve the Reliability of Cost 
Data and Provide Additional Guidance to Control Costs. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-882]. Washington, D.C.: September 
21, 2005. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] GAO, Global War on Terrorism: DOD Needs to Take Action to Encourage 
Fiscal Discipline and Optimize the Use of Tools Intended to Improve 
GWOT Cost Reporting, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-68] 
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 6, 2007). 

[2] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-68]. 

[End of section] 

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