Combating TerrorismAction Taken but Considerable Risks Remain for Forces Overseas Gao ID: NSIAD-00-181 July 19, 2000
Overall, military forces stationed overseas are better protected today, and commanders are better able to determine their vulnerability to terrorist attacks, than they were when GAO last reported in 1997. However, significant security and procedural antiterrorism/force protection problems persist at many installations. For example, some installations have not developed plans to deal with terrorist attacks; others have no way to stop unauthorized vehicles from entering the installation; and there is no comprehensive way to share solutions to common problems with other installations. Limited antiterrorism funding and trained staff have affected the ability of commanders to correct known vulnerabilities. Some overseas commands have repeatedly received less than half of the funding that they believe is necessary to correct or mitigate vulnerabilities. Although Congress requires DOD to provide information on proposed antiterrorist/force protection funding and projects, it does not require information on projects that still need funding.
GAO noted that: (1) overall, military forces stationed overseas are better protected today than they were 3 years ago; (2) the Joint Chiefs of Staff has developed DOD-wide construction standards to ensure that antiterrorism/force protection measures are included in new construction; (3) in addition, DOD has signed agreements with the Department of State and U.S. ambassadors or chiefs of mission to protect DOD personnel not under the jurisdiction of commanders; (4) geographic combatant commands have created permanent antiterrorism/force protection offices, hired permanent antiterrorism/force protection staff, and developed systems to monitor progress to correct vulnerabilities; (5) installation commanders are more aware of their responsibility to protect their forces from terrorist attack, and, despite funding constraints, have addressed many security vulnerabilities; (6) however, significant security and procedural antiterrorism/force protection problems continue at many installations; (7) for example, some installations have not developed plans to deal with terrorist attacks, others have no effective means of stopping unauthorized vehicles from entering the installation, and some lack secure access to important intelligence information; (8) commanders are better able to determine their vulnerability to terrorist attacks than when GAO last reported; (9) vulnerability assessments are now being conducted more routinely and are based on a defined set of criteria; (10) however, vulnerability assessment reports do not provide specific actions to rectify problems mentioned in the reports; additionally, there is no comprehensive method in place to share solutions to common problems among different installations; (11) limited antiterrorist funding and trained staff have affected the ability of commanders to correct known vulnerabilities; (12) funding for antiterrorism protection has been, and will likely continue to be, less than what installation and geographic combatant commanders have determined they require, although senior DOD leaders have designated antiterrorism/force protection as a high priority item; (13) some overseas service commands have repeatedly received less than 50 percent of the money the commands believe they require to correct or mitigate vulnerabilities; (14) without information on the types of projects that need funding, Congress does not have an accurate picture of the extent of the risk that U.S. forces face from terrorism; and (15) installations GAO visited did not have adequately trained personnel dedicated to managing and implementing antiterrorism solutions.Recommendations
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.Director: Team: Phone: