Combating TerrorismSpending on Governmentwide Programs Requires Better Management and Coordination Gao ID: NSIAD-98-39 December 1, 1997
The amount of federal money being spent on programs to combat terrorism is unknown and difficult to determine. Precisely identifying and tracking spending on antiterrorist efforts governmentwide is difficult for several reasons, including the lack of a uniform definition of terrorism and the inclusion of these expenditures within larger categories that do not readily allow separation. As a result, no governmentwide spending priorities for combating terrorism have been set, and no federal entity exists to channel resources where they are most needed and to prevent wasteful spending resulting from unnecessary duplication of effort. The Government Performance and Results Act can provide guidance and opportunities for the many federal agencies involved in the crosscutting program to combat terrorism to (1) develop coordinated goals, objectives, and performance measures and (2) enhance the management of individual agency and overall federal efforts to combat terrorism.
GAO noted that: (1) the amount of federal funds being spent on combating terrorism is unknown and difficult to determine; (2) identifying and tracking terrorism-related governmentwide spending with precision is difficult for several reasons; (3) information from key agencies involved in combating terrorism shows that nearly $7 billion was spent for unclassified terrorism-related programs and activities during fiscal year (FY) 1997; (4) the Department of Defense budgeted about $3.7 billion in FY 1997, or about 55 percent of the estimated spending; (5) although the National Security Council (NSC) is to coordinate counterterrorism policy issues and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is to assess competing funding demands, neither agency is required to regularly collect, aggregate, and review funding and spending data relative to combating terrorism on a crosscutting, governmentwide basis; (6) neither agency establishes funding priorities for terrorism-related programs across agencies' budgets or ensures that individual agencies' stated requirements have been validated against threat and risk criteria before budget requests are submitted to Congress; (7) because governmentwide priorities for combating terrorism have not been established and funding requirements have not necessarily been validated based on an analytically sound assessment of the threat and risk of a terrorist attack, there is no basis to have reasonable assurance that: (a) agencies' requests are funded through a coordinated and focused approach to implement national policy and strategy; (b) the highest priority requirements are being met; (c) terrorism-related activities and capabilities are not unnecessarily duplicative or redundant; and (d) funding gaps or misallocations have not occurred; (8) GPRA principles and framework can provide guidance and opportunities for the many federal agencies involved in the crosscutting program to combat terrorism to develop coordinated goals, objectives and performance measures, and to enhance the management of individual agency and overall federal efforts; (9) Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 39 directs that agencies will provide support for terrorism-related activities at their own expense unless the President directs otherwise; (10) the Economy Act generally requires reimbursement for goods and services provided to another agency; and (11) the difference between PDD 39 and the Economy Act concerning reimbursement has caused disagreements between agencies in some cases.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: