Combating TerrorismFBI's Use of Federal Funds for Counterterrorism-Related Activities (FYs 1995-1998) Gao ID: GGD-99-7 November 20, 1998
The amount of funds allocated and obligated by the FBI for counterterrorism-related activities more than doubled from fiscal years 1995 through 1998--from $256 million to $581 million. During this period, Congress directed or provided guidance to the FBI on the use of about one quarter of these funds, and the FBI has generally followed this direction in obligating the money. Although neither GAO nor the FBI could precisely determine the amount of overall funds allocated and obligated by the FBI to carry out its counterterrorism mission, the FBI and the Justice Department have several efforts under way to better identify resources used by the FBI for counterterrorism-related activities. These include efforts to (1) specifically track certain counterterrorism funds; (2) calculate the overall amount of funds associated with counterterrorism-related activities, including shared costs; and (3) link the allocation of budget resources to annual and strategic plans, including specific counterterrorism-related performance measures. In addition, the FBI and the Justice Department plan to develop a methodology for reporting the full cost of program activities in compliance with established managerial cost-accounting standards.
GAO noted that: (1) the specific amount of funds allocated by the FBI for counterterrorism is difficult to determine because: (a) the FBI's appropriation language had not specifically identified a separate or total amount available to the FBI for counterterrorism and, for most years, only established a minimum that must be spent on counterterrorism-related activities, foreign intelligence, and national security; (b) some of the funds provided to the FBI were allocated to functions that support multiple FBI missions; and (c) the FBI had not been specifically required to account separately for total funds used for counterterrorism-related activities; (2) the FBI has generally tracked the obligation of funds allocated for counterterrorism based on statutory direction or congressional guidance; (3) in response to an Office of Management and Budget data request, the FBI began, FY 1998, to estimate the amount of overall funds budgeted and used to carry out its counterterrorism mission; (4) the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI have taken steps to link the allocation of budget resources to annual and strategic plans; (5) DOJ and the FBI are beginning to develop a methodology to implement established federal managerial cost accounting standards that require federal agencies on a regular basis to report the full cost of their activities; (6) GAO's review of financial accounting and budget data provided by the FBI showed that the FBI more than doubled its allocation of resources for combating terrorism, increasing from about $256 million in FY 1995 to about $581 million in FY 1998; (7) from FY 1995 to FY 1998, the FBI had allocated about $1.67 billion of its available funds to carry out its counterterrorism mission; (8) the FBI expects to allocate about $609 million for its counterterrorism mission in FY 1999; (9) GAO's review of the FBI's financial data showed that it had incurred obligations of about $1.52 billion of the approximate $1.67 billion in funds allocated for counterterrorism mission-related activities, since FY 1995; and (10) the FBI and DOJ have efforts underway to better identify resources used by the FBI for counterterrorism-related activities, including efforts to: (a) track certain counterterrorism funds; (b) calculate the overall amount of funds associated with counterterrorism activities; (c) link the allocation of budget resources to annual and strategic plans; and (d) develop a methodology for reporting full cost of program activities in compliance with established managerial cost accounting standards.