NATO Enlargement:

Reports Are Responsive to Senate Requirements, but Analysis of Financial Burdens Is Incomplete

GAO-03-722: Published: May 5, 2003. Publicly Released: May 5, 2003.

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On November 21, 2002, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invited seven countries to join the alliance. To facilitate congressional consideration of NATO enlargement, the U.S. Senate mandated in 1998 that GAO review and assess the reports the Senate directed the President to provide on countries invited to join NATO. The President submitted the required reports to Congress on March 25, 2003. To fulfill its mandate, GAO determined if (1) the reports met the Senate's requirements and the information was accurate and current, (2) the methodology for assessing the likely impact on NATO's military effectiveness was reasonable, and (3) the methodology for analyzing the ability of the invited countries to fulfill the full range of financial burdens of NATO membership was reasonable.

The President's reports responded to the Senate's requirements. The information provided in the reports was generally accurate and current. The methodology for assessing the likely impact of each invited country on NATO's military effectiveness was reasonable. The reports provided a clear explanation of the methodology used and provided information on countries' defense reform plans, past and current contributions to U.S. and NATO operations, and expectations of countries' ability to contribute specialized military capabilities. The methodology was consistently applied to assessments of each of the seven invited countries. The methodology used to analyze each invited country's ability to fulfill the full range of financial burdens of NATO membership was not described and the information provided was limited. The reports included some cost information but did not discuss the costs of maintaining representation at NATO's headquarters or military command posts. Furthermore, the same types of information were not consistently provided for each country.

Status Legend:

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  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure that sound analyses of invited countries' financial capabilities are provided in future reports required under section 3(2)(E)(ii) of the Senate Resolution of Ratification on the Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on the Accession of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the National Security Council should fully explain the methodology, to ensure the range of information is sufficient to support conclusions, and should consistently apply the methodology.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: National Security Council

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The NSC never responded to this GAO recommendation and we don't expect any future response.

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