Assessment of U.S. Participation in the Multinational Force and Observers Gao ID: NSIAD-95-113 August 15, 1995

The recent signing of peace accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Israel and Jordan, and the possibility of similar agreements between Israel and Syria and Lebanon have heightened interest in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), which has monitored the current peace treaty between Egypt and Israel since 1982. In light of these regional developments and the significant U.S. contribution to the MFO since its inception, this report provides information on (1) U.S. contributions to and the total cost of the MFO, including measures taken to reduce costs; (2) the level of U.S. participation and its operational impacts; (3) State Department oversight of U.S. participation; and (4) the views of the State Department and other relevant parties on MFO performance and lessons learned.

GAO found that: (1) the United States provides one-third of MFO operating expenses and the largest military contingent; (2) while U.S. annual assessments of MFO operating costs have steadily declined since 1989, the Department of Defense's (DOD) costs have increased, mainly due to salary increases; (3) Army operations have been impacted by the cumulative effects of DOD contingency efforts, but opportunities may exist to reduce the impact by reducing the number of logistical troops and using reserve forces; (4) despite MFO operational success and its ability to reduce certain costs, State needs to improve its oversight of U.S. participation in MFO because of inadequate internal controls and auditing procedures and the quality of its reporting to Congress; and (5) State and international officials view MFO as an operationally effective peacekeeping operation that has helped sustain peace between Egypt and Israel since 1982, while DOD views MFO as a limited operation that is not applicable to more hostile peacekeeping environments.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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