Combating Terrorism:

Actions Needed to Guide Services' Antiterrorism Efforts at Installations

GAO-03-14: Published: Nov 1, 2002. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 2002.

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After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, domestic military installations increased their antiterrorism measures to their highest levels. These measures were reduced in the weeks following the attacks, but because of the persistent nature of the threat, the antiterrorism posture at domestic installations remains at a higher than normal level more than 1 year later. The Department of Defense's (DOD) budget request for fiscal year 2003 includes more than $10 billion for combating terrorism activities, which includes a substantial increase in funding for antiterrorism measures to safeguard personnel and strategic issues. The service headquarters GAO reviewed did not use a comprehensive results-oriented management framework to guide their antiterrorism efforts. According to service officials, a comprehensive results-oriented management framework for antiterrorism efforts is not consistently used across all services and commands because DOD does not require it, and service officials indicated that they were reluctant to develop such an approach before the forthcoming DOD-wide antiterrorism strategy was issued. Although the Department has recently restarted its efforts toward developing this strategy, it has not set a specific time frame for its completion. The services and commands are following prescribed guidance and regulations to conduct risk management analyses to support their antiterrorism requirements, but significant weaknesses exist with the current approach. The commands do not always require documentation of the assessments, and they do not periodically evaluate the assessment methodology used at each installation to determine the thoroughness of the analyses or the consistency with required assessment methodology. DOD has reported that $32.1 billion has been allocated or requested for combating terrorism activities from fiscal year 1999 through fiscal year 2003; however, these reported amounts may not present a clear picture of total combating terrorism costs. GAO's analysis indicates that $19.4 billion of this amount is for military and civilian personnel and personnel-related operating costs associated with individuals in designated specialties that have combating terrorism-related missions, such as military police, civilian police, and security guard.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD Directive 2000.12 "DOD Antiterrorism (AT) Program" was revised and reissued on August 18, 2003. The revised directive includes a new requirement for the Secretaries of the Military Departments to ensure installations and activities "include a validation of the thoroughness of the AT risk management methodology used to assess asset criticality, terrorist threat, and vulnerabilities" during their comprehensive AT program reviews and assessments. (para. 5.15.9)

    Recommendation: To improve their risk management approach for identifying antiterrorism requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to require periodic higher headquarters evaluations of the methodologies used by installations to conduct their threat, vulnerability, and asset criticality assessment. Such an evaluation may be incorporated into the existing service-level review process; however, for those installations that are not covered by this process, the services should develop an alternative approach.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD Directive 2000.12 "DOD Antiterrorism (AT) Program" was revised and reissued on August 18, 2003. The revised directive includes a new requirement for the Secretaries of the Military Departments to "ensure AT program reviews and assessments (of installations and activities) include a validation of the thoroughness of the AT risk management methodology used to assess asset criticality, terrorist threat, and vulnerabilities." (para. 5.15.9)

    Recommendation: To improve their risk management approach for identifying antiterrorism requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to require installation commanders to document all threat, vulnerability, and asset criticality assessments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD Directive 2000.12 "DOD Antiterrorism (AT) Program" was revised and reissued on August 18, 2003. The revised directive includes a new requirement for the Secretaries of the Military Departments to "develop a Military Department AT Strategic Plan that details the vision, mission, goals, and performance measures in support of the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders' AT Strategic Plans." (para. 5.15.12)

    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the services' antiterrorism efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to adopt and effectively communicate a results-oriented management framework, consistent with DOD's overall antiterrorism strategy, to guide each service's antiterrorism efforts. This framework should include (1) a strategy that defines (a) long-term antiterrorism goals, (b) approaches to achieve the goals, and (c) key factors that might significantly affect achieving the goals; and (2) an implementation approach that provides (a) performance goals that are objective, quantifiable, and measurable; (b) resources to achieve the goals; (c) performance indicators to measure outputs; (d) an evaluation plan to compare program results with established goals; and (e) actions needed to address any unmet goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD Directive 2000.12 "DOD Antiterrorism (AT) Program" was revised and reissued on August 18, 2003. The revised directive includes a new requirement for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD(SO/LIC)) to "develop, publish, and update the DOD Antiterrorism Strategic Plan to provide an overarching framework to guide the DOD Components' long-term AT program efforts." (para. 5.1.6)

    Recommendation: Because of the magnitude of the funds being allocated for, and the importance of antiterrorism efforts within DOD, simultaneous steps should be taken within the Department to improve the management framework guiding these efforts. Accordingly, to establish a foundation for the services' antiterrorism efforts, the Secretary of Defense should work with each service to ensure that its management framework is consistent with this Department-wide strategy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (OASD(SO/LIC)) has drafted a Department-wide antiterrorism strategy. The strategy is undergoing final review within DOD; its approval and subsequent publication is scheduled for the Spring, 2004. DOD issued an Antiterrorism Strategic Plan on June 15, 2004.

    Recommendation: Because of the magnitude of the funds being allocated for, and the importance of antiterrorism efforts within DOD, simultaneous steps should be taken within the Department to improve the management framework guiding these efforts. Accordingly, to establish a foundation for the services' antiterrorism efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict to accelerate and set a target date to issue a Department-wide antiterrorism strategy that will underpin each service's efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Fiscal Year 2004 consolidated budget justification display in the annual combating terrorism report to congress contains a methodology section to explain how military and civilian personnel costs associated with combating terrorism activities were calculated.

    Recommendation: To clarify the annual consolidated budget justification display for combating terrorism reported to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should highlight the military and civilian personnel funding included in the report and clearly indicate that these total personnel funds are reported even though the individuals may spend only a portion of their time performing combating terrorism activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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