Afghanistan Security:

Efforts to Establish Army and Police Have Made Progress, but Future Plans Need to Be Better Defined

GAO-05-575: Published: Jun 30, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2005.

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After more than two decades of war, Afghanistan had no army or functioning police and, before September 11, 2001, was a haven for international terrorists. In April 2002, the United States and several other nations agreed to reform the five pillars of Afghanistan's security sector--creating an Afghan army, reconstituting the police force, establishing a working judiciary, combating illicit narcotics, and demobilizing the Afghan militias. As the leader for the army pillar, the United States has provided about $3.3 billion. For the German-led effort to reconstitute the Afghan police, the United States has provided over $800 million. We examined the progress made, and limitations faced, in developing the army and police forces. We also identified challenges that must be addressed to complete and sustain these forces.

As of March 2005, Defense had trained more than 18,300 Afghan combat troops--over 42 percent of the army's projected total of 43,000--and deployed them throughout the country. During 2004, the Department of Defense significantly accelerated Afghan combat troop training. However, Defense efforts to fully equip the increasing number of combat troops have fallen behind, and efforts to establish sustaining institutions, such as a logistics command, needed to support these troops have not kept pace. Plans for completing these institutions are not clear. Germany and the United States had trained more than 35,000 police as of January 2005 and expect to meet their goal of training 62,000 police by December 2005. However, the Department of State has just begun to address structural problems that affect the Afghan police force. Trainees often return to police stations where militia leaders are the principal authority; most infrastructure needs repair, and the police do not have sufficient equipment--from weapons to vehicles. Furthermore, limited field-based mentoring has just begun although previous international police training programs have demonstrated that such mentoring is critical for success. Moreover, the Afghan Ministry of the Interior (which oversees the police force) requires reform and restructuring. Finally, neither State nor Germany has developed plans specifying how much the program will cost and when it will be completed. Without strong and self-sustaining Afghan army and police forces and concurrent progress in the other pillars of security sector reform, Afghanistan could again become a haven for terrorists. However, establishing viable Afghan army and police forces will almost certainly take years and substantial resources. Available information suggests that these programs could cost up to $7.2 billion to complete and about $600 million annually to sustain. Furthermore, the other lead nations have made limited progress in reforming Afghan's judiciary, combating illicit narcotics, and demobilizing the militias.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In June 2005, we made the following recommendation in our report Afghanistan Security: Efforts to Establish Army and Police Have Made Progress But Future Plans Need to Better Defined (GAO-05-575). Because reform in the other pillars of the Afghan security sector (building an effective judiciary, curbing the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics, and disarming and reintegrating militia fighters) is critical to the success of the army and police programs, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State work with the other lead donor nations to help ensure that progress in the other pillars is congruent with the progress made in the army and police programs. The Secretary of Defense should regularly report to the Congress, but no less than annually, on the progress made in addressing these other security pillars. In 2007, we reported to Congress that Defense and State had not implemented the above recommendation and reiterated its importance. In 2008 Congress mandated that the President, acting through the Secretary of Defense, submit reports to Congress every 180 days on progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan. Defense, in consultation with State, submitted the most recent of these reports in January 2009. In the report, the agencies included sections addressing the remaining pillars--building an effective judiciary, curbing the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics--that were cited in our recommendation. (The disarmament and reintegration of targeted groups has been completed, according to the United Nations)

    Recommendation: Because reform in the other pillars of the Afghan security sector--building an effective judiciary, curbing the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics, and disarming and reintegrating militia fighters--is critical to the success of the army and police programs, the Secretaries of Defense and State should work with the other lead donor nations to help ensure that progress in the other pillars is congruent with the progress made in the army and police programs. The Secretaries should regularly report to the Congress, but no less than annually, on the progress made in addressing these other security pillars.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In our June 2005 report entitled "Afghanistan Security: Efforts to Establish Army and Police Have Made Progress But Future Plans Need to Be Better Defined"(GAO-05-575), we recommended that the Secretaries of Defense and State develop detailed plans for completing and sustaining the Afghan army and police forces, and that plans should include clearly defined objectives and performance measures; milestones for achieving stated objectives; future funding requirements; and a strategy for sustaining the results achieved, including transitioning program responsibility to Afghanistan. In 2007, we reported to Congress that Defense and State had not implemented the above recommendation and we reiterated its importance. In 2008 Congress mandated that the President, acting through the Secretary of Defense, submit reports to Congress every 180 days on progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan. Defense, in consultation with State, submitted the most recent of these reports in June 2009. In their June 2009 report, DOD and State presented an overall plan for building Afghanistan's army and police. Taken in conjunction with DOD's periodic updates on the status of the Afghan forces, the agencies' reports address most of the elements included in our recommendation.

    Recommendation: Because of Afghanistan's prolonged conflict and its limited financial resources, the Secretaries of Defense and State should develop detailed plans for completing and sustaining the Afghan army and police forces. The plans should include clearly defined objectives and performance measures; milestones for achieving stated objectives; future funding requirements; and a strategy for sustaining the results achieved, including transitioning program responsibility to Afghanistan. The Secretaries should provide this information to the Congress when the executive branch next requests funding for the Afghan army or police forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In our June 2005 report entitled "Afghanistan Security: Efforts to Establish Army and Police Have Made Progress But Future Plans Need to Be Better Defined"(GAO-05-575), we recommended that the Secretaries of Defense and State develop detailed plans for completing and sustaining the Afghan army and police forces, and that plans should include clearly defined objectives and performance measures; milestones for achieving stated objectives; future funding requirements; and a strategy for sustaining the results achieved, including transitioning program responsibility to Afghanistan. In 2007, we reported to Congress that Defense and State had not implemented the above recommendation and we reiterated its importance. In 2008 Congress mandated that the President, acting through the Secretary of Defense, submit reports to Congress every 180 days on progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan. Defense, in consultation with State, submitted the most recent of these reports in June 2009. In their June 2009 report, DOD and State presented an overall plan for building Afghanistan's army and police. Taken in conjunction with DOD's periodic updates on the status of the Afghan forces, the agencies' reports address most of the elements included in our recommendation.

    Recommendation: Because of Afghanistan's prolonged conflict and its limited financial resources, the Secretaries of Defense and State should develop detailed plans for completing and sustaining the Afghan army and police forces. The plans should include clearly defined objectives and performance measures; milestones for achieving stated objectives; future funding requirements; and a strategy for sustaining the results achieved, including transitioning program responsibility to Afghanistan. The Secretaries should provide this information to the Congress when the executive branch next requests funding for the Afghan army or police forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In June 2005, we made the following recommendation in our report Afghanistan Security: Efforts to Establish Army and Police Have Made Progress But Future Plans Need to Better Defined (GAO-05-575). Because reform in the other pillars of the Afghan security sector (building an effective judiciary, curbing the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics, and disarming and reintegrating militia fighters) is critical to the success of the army and police programs, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State work with the other lead donor nations to help ensure that progress in the other pillars is congruent with the progress made in the army and police programs. The Secretary of Defense should regularly report to the Congress, but no less than annually, on the progress made in addressing these other security pillars. In 2007, we reported to Congress that Defense and State had not implemented the above recommendation and reiterated its importance. In 2008 Congress mandated that the President, acting through the Secretary of Defense, submit reports to Congress every 180 days on progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan. Defense, in consultation with State, submitted the most recent of these reports in January 2009. In the report, the agencies included sections addressing the remaining pillars--building an effective judiciary, curbing the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics--that were cited in our recommendation. (The disarmament and reintegration of targeted groups has been completed, according to the United Nations)

    Recommendation: Because reform in the other pillars of the Afghan security sector--building an effective judiciary, curbing the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics, and disarming and reintegrating militia fighters--is critical to the success of the army and police programs, the Secretaries of Defense and State should work with the other lead donor nations to help ensure that progress in the other pillars is congruent with the progress made in the army and police programs. The Secretaries should regularly report to the Congress, but no less than annually, on the progress made in addressing these other security pillars.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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