International Affairs:

FY 2004 Annual Report on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

GAO-03-1008R: Published: Jul 18, 2003. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 2003.

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Under section 1308 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (P.L. 106-398), the Department of Defense is to submit an annual report to Congress on its Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program no later than the first Monday in February of each year. The report should include a five-year plan that discusses the amount and purpose of funding needed over the term of the plan and a description of efforts conducted by the United States to ensure that CTR assistance is fully accounted for and used for its intended purposes. The Act requires the Comptroller General to assess this five-year plan and the description of efforts to account for CTR assistance within 90 days of the report's submission to Congress. The Department submitted its CTR annual report for fiscal year 2004 to Congress on April 18, 2003. We analyzed the 2004 report to determine whether (1) the five-year plan addressed the legislative requirements and presents accurate information, (2) the accountability section addressed legislative requirements and presents accurate information, and (3) the presentation and usefulness of the CTR annual report could be improved.

We found that the five-year plan addressed the legislative requirements by setting forth funding information for the term of the plan and the purpose of those funds We also confirmed with project managers that, for the eight projects we reviewed in detail, the information provided in the five-year plan was generally accurate. We found that the accountability section addressed all legislative requirements. It described the condition and location of CTR-furnished equipment, discussed the status of contracts and services and the methods used to ensure that CTR aid is used for the purposes intended, determined whether assistance provided has been used effectively and efficiently, and described the audits and examinations planned for the next year. We found that the information was generally accurate and complete and included the concerns raised in project trip reports and audit and examinations. However, we noted two issues where the information was not accurate and complete. First, there was no discussion of Russia's plans to store weapon-grade plutonium at Mayak. CTR funding for this facility was intended only for the storage of weapon-source fissile material to facilitate the dismantlement of nuclear weapons. Second, the list of equipment delivered under the CTR program was incomplete because CTR officials do not have complete records of equipment delivered before fiscal year 1999. We found that the report lacked a discussion of key strategic planning elements that could help congressional decision makers in their annual CTR budget deliberations. Specifically, the report did not include annual performance goals linked to long-term goals, information on external factors that could affect the achievement of these goals, and plans for revising program goals, all of which are already developed by CTR program managers. Furthermore, the report provided relevant project information in different locations, making it difficult to understand the progress and problems of each project. Therefore, we recommend that, in preparing future CTR annual reports to Congress, the Secretary of Defense (1) incorporate key federal strategic planning elements and (2) integrate the five-year plan and accountability sections of the report to provide Congress with all project information in one location.

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