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Cooperative Threat Reduction: Review of DOD's June 1997 Report on Assistance Provided (Letter Report, 09/05/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-218)


Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of
Defense's (DOD) June 1997 report on Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)
assistance provided to Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, and Ukraine, focusing
on whether it: (1) contained current and complete data on CTR assistance
deliveries, including the current location and condition of the
assistance provided; (2) described how CTR-provided assistance was
accounted for and used; (3) included an overall determination of whether
the assistance has been used for its intended purposes; and (4) provided
a listing of future audit and examination activities.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's June 1997 report: (a) listed CTR equipment
delivered by DOD and provided information on the location and condition
of the equipment, (b) described how such assistance was accounted for
and used, and (c) made an overall determination that the assistance
provided by DOD was appropriately used, and (d) listed DOD's future
audit and examination activities; (2) however, GAO found that DOD's
report lacked detailed information; (3) the report did not contain
specific data on some CTR-funded projects; (4) for example, information
on the CTR-funded cash grant that DOD provided directly to the Ukrainian
Ministry of Defense was excluded; (5) also, the report did not describe
the types and values of CTR-funded assistance managed by the Departments
of State and Energy; (6) through 1996, such assistance amounted to
nearly $50 million for over 200 projects at the international science
centers, and over $43 million for a variety of material control,
accounting, and physical protection projects at 19 sites; (7) the report
did not thoroughly describe how DOD accounted for CTR assistance
provided through the Departments of State and Energy; (8) for example,
audits by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) help account for
CTR-provided assistance to the science centers, yet DOD did not report
the results of 17 International Science and Technology Center project
audits conducted by DCAA in 1996; (9) approximately half of the 17
audits found weaknesses in reporting labor charges of center grantees,
although to date, such weaknesses have posed no risk to CTR funding;
(10) also, DOD's report did not describe the nature of the Department of
Energy's assurance program used to monitor the assistance provided; and
(11) while DOD's report lists planned DOD audit and examination
activities, it omitted those activities planned to account for
CTR-funded assistance provided through the Departments of State and
Energy.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-97-218
     TITLE:  Cooperative Threat Reduction: Review of DOD's June 1997 
             Report on Assistance Provided
      DATE:  09/05/97
   SUBJECT:  Federal aid to foreign countries
             Foreign technical aid
             Agency reports
             International cooperation
             Foreign governments
             Grant monitoring
             Audits
             Congressional/executive relations
             Nuclear proliferation
IDENTIFIER:  Belarus
             Kazakstan
             Russia
             Ukraine
             DOD Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to Congressional Committees

September 1997

COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION -
REVIEW OF DOD'S JUNE 1997 REPORT
ON ASSISTANCE PROVIDED

GAO/NSIAD-97-218

Cooperative Threat Reduction

(711285)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  CTR - Cooperative Threat Reduction
  DCAA - Defense Contract Audit Agency
  DOD - Department of Defense
  ISTC - International Science and Technology Center
  MCA&PP - material control, accounting, and physical protection
  STCU - Science and Technology Center of Ukraine

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-277556

September 5, 1997

The Honorable Strom Thurmond
Chairman
The Honorable Carl Levin
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Floyd Spence
Chairman
The Honorable Ronald Dellums
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

Section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year
1996 requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to report annually on
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) assistance provided to Belarus,
Kazakstan, Russia, and Ukraine.  The legislation requires that DOD's
report (1) list CTR assistance provided before the date of the
report, (2) describe the current location and condition of the
assistance provided, (3) make a determination about whether CTR
assistance has been used for the purposes intended, and (4) list CTR
audit and examination activities to be carried out during the next
fiscal year.  While the legislation specifies that DOD submit its
annual report on CTR assistance deliveries no later than January 31
of each year until the program ends, DOD did not issue its January
1997 report, covering calender year 1996, until June 25, 1997. 

The legislation also requires our office to assess DOD's annual
report and provide our results to Congress within 30 days. 
Accordingly, we have reviewed DOD's latest report to determine
whether it (1) contained current and complete data on CTR assistance
deliveries, including the current location and condition of the
assistance provided; (2) described how CTR-provided assistance was
accounted for and used; (3) included an overall determination of
whether the assistance was used for its intended purposes; and (4)
provided a listing of future audit and examination activities.  We
have previously reported on DOD's first two annual CTR reports.\1


--------------------
\1 See Weapons of Mass Destruction:  DOD Reporting on Cooperative
Threat Reduction Assistance Can Be Improved (GAO/NSIAD-95-191, Sept. 
29, 1995) and Weapons of Mass Destruction:  DOD Reporting on
Cooperative Threat Reduction Assistance Has Improved
(GAO/NSIAD-97-84, Feb.  27, 1997). 


   BACKGROUND
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

Under a 1991 congressional authorization, DOD provides assistance to
the newly independent states of Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, and
Ukraine to help them (1) destroy their weapons of mass destruction,
(2) safely store and transport the weapons in connection with their
destruction, and (3) reduce the risk of such weapons proliferation. 
Most CTR assistance is provided in the form of goods and services,
including equipment, logistics support, materials, and training. 
Between fiscal years 1992 and 1997, Congress has authorized over $1.8
billion to help DOD achieve CTR objectives.  As of July 1997, DOD had
obligated over $1.4 billion of these funds.  Because DOD is
responsible for reporting on the efforts made by the United States to
ensure that CTR assistance is appropriately used, its report also
includes some information on the science and technology centers\2 and
the nuclear material control, accounting, and physical protection
(MCA&PP) projects\3 being implemented by the Departments of State and
Energy, respectively. 


--------------------
\2 The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow,
with branches in Belarus and Kazakstan, and the Science and
Technology Center of Ukraine (STCU) were established to provide
peaceful employment opportunities to weapons scientists and engineers
involved with producing weapons of mass destruction. 

\3 Until merged in fiscal year 1996, both the CTR-funded
government-to-government program and the Department of Energy's
lab-to-lab initiative provided assistance for protecting,
controlling, and accounting for nuclear materials in the former
Soviet Union. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

DOD's June 1997 report (1) listed CTR equipment delivered by DOD and
provided information on the location and condition of the equipment,
(2) described how such assistance was accounted for and used, (3)
made an overall determination that the assistance provided by DOD was
appropriately used, and (4) listed DOD's future audit and examination
activities.  However, we found that DOD's report lacked detailed
information in the following areas: 

  -- The report did not contain specific data on some CTR-funded
     projects; for example, information on the CTR-funded cash grant
     that DOD provided directly to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense
     was excluded.  Also, the report did not describe the types and
     values of CTR-funded assistance managed by the Departments of
     State and Energy.  Through 1996, such assistance amounted to
     nearly $50 million for over 200 projects at the international
     science centers, and over $43 million for a variety of MCA&PP
     projects at 19 sites. 

  -- The report did not thoroughly describe how DOD accounted for CTR
     assistance provided through the Departments of State and Energy. 
     For example, audits by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)
     help account for CTR-provided assistance to the science centers,
     yet DOD did not report the results of 17 International Science
     and Technology Center project audits conducted by DCAA in 1996. 
     Approximately half of the 17 audits found weaknesses in
     reporting labor charges of center grantees, although to date,
     such weaknesses have posed no risk to CTR funding.  Also, DOD's
     report did not describe the nature of the Department of Energy's
     assurance program used to monitor the assistance provided. 

  -- While DOD's report lists planned DOD audit and examination
     activities, it omitted those activities planned to account for
     CTR-funded assistance provided through the Departments of State
     and Energy. 


   NOT ALL DATA ON ASSISTANCE
   PROVIDED
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

DOD's June 1997 report generally included detailed and comprehensive
data on CTR equipment deliveries; however, information on a
CTR-funded cash grant to Ukraine was omitted.  Although DOD obtained
input from the Departments of State and Energy because they had
assumed responsibility for implementing the international science
centers and the MCA&PP projects in fiscal year 1996, its report did
not include the value or types of CTR assistance provided through
them. 


      DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.1

DOD reported that as of December 1996, it had delivered approximately
$228 million worth of CTR-funded equipment to the recipient
countries.  Specifically, the report contains listings of equipment
deliveries by country, including the dollar value, delivery dates of
the items provided, and their location.  The report also includes
information on the serviceability\4 of equipment.  CTR-provided
equipment is used to implement projects ranging from safely storing
and transporting nuclear materials to eliminating strategic offensive
arms. 

DOD omitted from its report a cash grant made directly to the
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.  According to financial statements
provided by Ukraine, over $5 million has been spent of the $10.3
million grant.  This grant was to support the final removal of
nuclear warheads and nuclear support equipment from Ukraine and the
elimination of deployed SS-19 missiles.  According to DOD, Ukraine's
agreement with Russia does not allow foreigners to observe such
dismantlement activities.  Thus, DOD awarded the cash grant to
Ukraine instead of following its normal practice of providing
CTR-funded equipment and services. 


--------------------
\4 "Serviceability" refers to the condition of the CTR-provided
assistance.  In those instances where equipment is found to be
inoperable or not used, DOD contractor personnel who provide
logistics support are notified to correct the problems. 


      DEPARTMENT OF STATE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2

According to the State Department, through 1996 nearly $50 million\5
of CTR funding was provided to help support the ISTC in Russia,
including the branch offices recently opened in Belarus and
Kazakstan, and the STCU.  Although not described in DOD's report, 130
of the 320 ISTC projects underway received $41.5 million in CTR
funding.  The types of projects involved include safely disposing of
weapons-grade plutonium, improving nuclear power safety, destroying
chemical weapons, and protecting the environment.  Through 1996, the
United States provided $8 million of CTR funding to support 72 of the
87 ongoing STCU projects.  These projects cover such subjects as the
application of physics to medical technology, energy conversion,
plasma sterilization, and information infrastructure. 


--------------------
\5 As of July 1997, DOD had obligated nearly $64 million of CTR funds
for the science centers. 


      DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3

Although DOD's June 1997 report listed the equipment delivered\6 in
support of the MCA&PP projects administered by the Department of
Energy, it did not include the total value or describe the types of
assistance provided.  For example, DOD did not report that through
1996, the Department of Energy provided over $43 million\7 worth of
assistance to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan.  Of this
amount, $14 million\8 was used for purchasing equipment, such as
metal detectors, computers, and security systems, and contracting
directly with scientific institutes and labs in the recipient
countries to improve controls over nuclear materials.  For instance,
a CTR-funded contract is helping the Luch Scientific Production
Association in Russia develop an integrated network to exchange data
between all computers on the network, thus enhancing material
controls for the entire site.  At the Sosny Research Center in
Belarus, CTR funding is being used in the construction of a physical
protection system for the nuclear materials stored there. 


--------------------
\6 The value of the equipment delivered was over $4.3 million. 

\7 As of December 1996, DOD had provided the Department of Energy
with over $81 million in CTR funds to implement MCA&PP projects.  In
addition, for fiscal year 1997, the Department of Energy planned to
spend over $112 million of its own funding to improve the security of
nuclear materials at between 45 and 50 sites in the former Soviet
Union and has requested $137 million for this effort in fiscal year
1998. 

\8 The remaining $29 million was spent directly by the Department of
Energy laboratories for their own labor, travel, and equipment
expenses associated with supporting the MCA&PP projects. 


   ACCOUNTING FOR CTR ASSISTANCE
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

As in prior years, DOD used information collected from audit and
examination teams, logistics support teams and project managers, and
the intelligence community to account for CTR assistance.  For its
latest report, DOD also obtained input from the Departments of State
and Energy because they assumed responsibility for implementing the
international science centers and the MCA&PP projects in fiscal year
1996.  The report, however, did not explain how DOD accounted for a
cash grant to Ukraine or thoroughly describe how assistance to the
science centers is monitored.  Also, the report did not provide
details of the Department of Energy's assurance program. 


      DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.1

Through the end of 1996, DOD had completed a total of 28 audits and
examinations of CTR-provided equipment to the four recipient
countries.  During 1996, audit and examination teams conducted 16
audits and observed equipment such as cranes and cutting blades used
to eliminate silo launchers, and air samplers and protective clothing
that would be used in response to emergencies involving nuclear
weapons and materials. 

DOD used technical teams located at the logistics support bases to
observe how CTR assistance was being used.  These contractor
personnel conducted approximately 115 visits to 51 different
locations throughout Russia, Kazakstan, and Belarus, including 24
separate locations in Russia.  In Ukraine, these teams visited 5
different sites on an average of
10 scheduled and 25 unscheduled maintenance repair calls per week. 

CTR project managers also traveled to the recipient countries to
monitor the status of their projects and observe how CTR assistance
was being used.  During 1996, project managers and government
contractors took
19 trips to several sites throughout the 4 recipient countries. 
During these visits a variety of projects were observed, including
those designed to eliminate strategic offensive arms, safely
transport and store nuclear materials, and restore the environment. 
In addition, personnel visited 14 of the 24 defense conversion
projects,\9 including 3 housing projects in Belarus and Ukraine. 

DOD also obtained information from the intelligence community. 
According to the 1996 report, national technical means did not detect
any diversions of CTR assistance.  Because more detailed information
is classified, we do not comment on it in this report. 

DOD's report does not explain how DOD monitored $5.25 million of the
CTR-funded grant to Ukraine.  According to DOD, however, the DCAA
audited the financial statements for the $1.75 million spent during
1996 and plans to audit the remaining funds this year.  Furthermore,
the Ukrainian government has agreed to apply the remainder of the
grant--about $5 million--to the integrating contract for nuclear arms
elimination.  As a result, these funds will be subject to DOD's audit
and examination process. 


--------------------
\9 As we reported in April 1997, we were unable to confirm that the
defense conversion projects we reviewed had any direct impact on
eliminating or reducing weapons of mass destruction or other military
capability in the former Soviet Union.  See Cooperative Threat
Reduction:  Status of Defense Conversion Efforts in the Former Soviet
Union (GAO/NSIAD-97-101, Apr.  11, 1997). 


      DEPARTMENT OF STATE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.2

According to the State Department, CTR-provided assistance to the
international science centers is monitored through annual financial
and project audits conducted by independent auditors as well as
periodic internal project reviews conducted by the science centers. 
DOD's report explained how the centers are monitored and provided
some information on the audits conducted.  For example, the DCAA
conducted the first annual financial audit for the STCU\10 and
concluded that the financial statements fairly presented the center's
financial position, operations, and cash flows.  Although DOD's
report mentions that the European Union would perform the third
annual ISTC financial audit, it does not mention that the European
Union auditors issued their report in April 1997 and found that the
financial statements fairly reflected the ISTC's financial
activities.\11

While DOD's report to Congress states that during 1996 DCAA assessed
17 ISTC projects at 7 locations,\12 it did not provide a description
of the audits or the audits' findings.  These audits evaluated time
recording procedures, equipment accountability, and verifications of
project labor and equipment costs billed to the ISTC.  In
approximately half of the 17 audits conducted, DCAA auditors found
weaknesses in recording the labor charges of ISTC grantees--they were
working more hours than those billed.  To date, however, such
weaknesses have posed no risk to CTR funding.  In reviewing these
DCAA audits, the DOD Comptroller's office also highlighted two other
issues--namely that (1) the ISTC should provide the DCAA auditors
with lists of equipment purchased for the projects and (2)
Russian-speaking technical experts should accompany the auditors in
reviewing the projects.  According to an ISTC director, the center is
taking measures to correct these problems.  For example, the center
has implemented an internal control procedure designed to track the
total number of hours worked by grantees on ISTC projects. 

As stated in DOD's report, each of the centers also monitors its
respective projects to measure technical accomplishments and status
and to resolve difficulties.  During 1996, ISTC staff conducted 40
annual and 12 closeout audits and reported no significant findings. 
The STCU has just begun monitoring its projects. 


--------------------
\10 DCAA conducted the first two annual ISTC financial audits. 

\11 However, in their report, the European Union auditors qualified
the scope of their work because the restricted access to the
recipient institutes' records did not permit them to verify whether
the claims made by the recipients' institutes included reimbursements
received from other sources during the same period of time. 

\12 DCAA did not conduct any audits of STCU projects during 1996 as
the center did not begin funding projects until late in 1995. 


      DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.3

Although the Department of Energy has drafted an assurance plan\13
for monitoring the CTR assistance provided to improve controls over
nuclear materials in the four recipient countries, this effort was
not fully discussed in DOD's report.  According to the report, Energy
conducted a joint MCA&PP audit with DOD during 1996 and planned to
conduct additional joint audits; however, the report did not explain
that Energy expects to assume sole responsibility for implementing
audits of MCA&PP projects.  Energy's assurance plan is intended to
certify that the equipment, material, funding, contracts, training,
and other services provided are accounted for and used for the
purposes intended.  Assurances that MCA&PP assistance is being used
properly can be obtained through a variety of methods, including
documentation, visits and visual observations,\14 and contract
monitoring.  Information obtained through such means can then be
documented in an assurance report.  According to the Department of
Energy, project managers collect the necessary data, compile these
reports, and provide the documentation to the management of Energy's
MCA&PP task force.  To date, Energy has compiled about 200 assurance
reports covering 50 projects.  According to an Energy official, such
reports indicate that the CTR-provided assistance was being used for
the purposes intended. 


--------------------
\13 The Department of Energy intends to use its assurance program to
monitor both CTR- and Energy-funded MCA&PP projects. 

\14 According to an Energy official, Energy technical teams make over
1,200 trips per year to 45 sites in Belarus, Kazakstan, Ukraine, and
Russia that receive MCA&PP assistance. 


   DETERMINATION OF ASSISTANCE USE
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

As required, DOD made a determination about whether CTR assistance
was being used for the purposes intended.  DOD reported that as of
December 1996 it was confident that CTR-provided assistance had been
properly accounted for and used, in most instances, for the purposes
intended.  However, it reported three incidents in which assistance
had been used improperly\15 and the corrective measures taken.  DOD
based its determination on a wide range of evidence obtained from
audit and examination and technical support teams, program and
contractor personnel, the intelligence community, and other
government agencies involved in implementing CTR projects.  DOD
acknowledged that the risk of diversion exists, but believes that the
cooperative relationship that it has developed with the CTR-recipient
country officials and its emphasis on the audit and examination
process help to ensure the appropriate use of assistance.  According
to DOD, it remains reasonably confident that any diversions of
assistance would be discovered before U.S.  interests were affected. 
Because we could not validate DOD's determination, we cannot comment
on its veracity; however, nothing came to our attention that would
call into question the reasonableness of the determination. 


--------------------
\15 CTR-provided equipment was accounted for and being used for the
purposes intended, except for data processing equipment provided to
Kazakstan for export control purposes, emergency response equipment
provided to Russia, and equipment for dismantling nuclear delivery
vehicles--a crane--provided to Russia. 


   FUTURE AUDIT AND EXAMINATION
   ACTIVITIES
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

According to its report, DOD plans to conduct 17 audit and
examination activities during calendar year 1997.  Although not
required to do so, DOD's report also includes a list of 17 planned
audit activities for 1998.  Both listings provide a monthly breakdown
of how many audits and examinations DOD will conduct per year.  As of
July 1997, DOD had conducted eight audits and examinations for 1997. 

Although not mentioned in DOD's report, auditors from the European
Union have agreed to conduct the annual financial audit of the ISTC
for 1997.  Furthermore, DOD, in consultation with the Department of
State, has requested that the DCAA conduct audits at 19 sites
involving 25 ISTC projects and conduct the 1997 annual financial
audit of the STCU. 

DOD's report also omitted specific information on planned the
Department of Energy audit activities.  An Energy official stated
that the Department is now strengthening its MCA&PP assurance plan to
make it more comprehensive and intends to issue the revised
guidelines by September 15, 1997.  Moreover, Energy's MCA&PP task
force has appointed an individual to consolidate the assurance
reports on an annual basis. 


   RECOMMENDATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

To better inform Congress about how CTR-funded assistance has been
used, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense, in preparing future
reports on such assistance, provide more complete data on CTR-funded
projects managed by the Departments of State and Energy, including
the values and types of assistance, a detailed description of how the
assistance was accounted for, and information on future audit
activities for the CTR assistance they provide to the recipient
countries. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

In commenting on a draft of our report, DOD concurred with our
findings and indicated that it was undertaking measures to improve
future reporting of CTR assistance with the other departments
receiving CTR funds.  DOD suggested two technical clarifications, and
we have incorporated them in the text where appropriate.  DOD's
comments are reprinted in appendix I. 


   SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

In conducting our work, we reviewed DOD's latest report to determine
whether it (1) contained current and complete data on CTR assistance
deliveries, including the current location and condition of the
assistance provided; (2) described how CTR-provided assistance was
accounted for and used; (3) included an overall determination of
whether the assistance was used for its intended purposes; and (4)
provided a listing of future audit and examination activities.  We
also reviewed various documents, including DOD's prior reports
accounting for CTR-provided assistance, CTR audit and examination
trip reports, DCAA audit reports, ISTC annual reports, and the
Department of Energy assurance reports.  We spoke with officials from
the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Comptroller's
Office, the Defense Special Weapons Agency, the On-Site Inspection
Agency, the Departments of State and Energy, and the ISTC.  Due to
the requirement that we comment on DOD's report within 30 days, we
did not visit the recipient countries or meet with country officials
to corroborate the information contained in DOD's 1996 report. 
Because intelligence sources and methods are cited in the classified
annex of DOD's report, we do not comment on the information contained
in it. 

We conducted our review during July and August 1997 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :9.1

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense,
Energy, and State and other interested congressional committees.  We
will also make copies available to others upon request. 

Please contact me on (202) 512-4128 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  The major contributors to this
report were F.  James Shafer, Beth Hoffman León, and Jo Ann Geoghan. 

Harold J.  Johnson, Associate Director
International Relations and Trade Issues




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
COMMENTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE
============================================================== Letter 



(See figure in printed edition.)


*** End of document. ***