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Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom's Sentinel | Quarterly Report to the United States Congress | October 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016

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Feb. 16, 2017 —  This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress on Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) is the seventh quarterly report detailing the overseas contingency operation (OCO). The report summarizes the quarter’s key events, provides an update on the OFS mission and its operating environment, and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and oversight partner agency work related to this OCO. This report covers the period from October 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

Under OFS, U.S. forces are conducting two complementary missions in Afghanistan: 1) the U.S. counterterrorism mission against al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K), and their affiliates in Afghanistan; and 2) the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Resolute Support Mission to train, advise, assist, and equip Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. U.S. counterterrorism efforts remain focused on preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists planning attacks against the U.S. homeland and against U.S. interests and partners. The objective of the Resolute Support Mission is to develop self-sustaining Afghan security forces that are capable of maintaining security under responsible Afghan civilian authorities.

This report describes the security situation in Afghanistan, including progress made by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to combat insurgents and to hold and maintain areas under Afghan government control. This quarter, the Taliban made a concerted effort to capture a provincial capital but were prevented from doing so by the Afghan forces. This report also details setbacks for the NATO-led mission, including high casualty rates for the Afghan army and police and an insider attack at Bagram Air Base by a local contractor that killed 5 and wounded 16. As 2016 drew to a close, it was estimated that roughly two-thirds of the Afghan population were living in areas under Afghan government control of influence, which included most of the major population centers.

This quarter, the Lead IG agencies, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and other oversight partners released four reports related to OFS.  Examples of completed oversight work include an evaluation of U.S. intelligence training for the Afghan military; an audit of the controls over U.S. financial assistance to the Afghan government; a report on contract management lessons learned at U.S. Embassy Kabul; and an assessment of Afghan Air Force facilities at Kandahar Airfield. As of December 31, 2016, the Lead IG agencies and oversight partners had 48 projects that were either ongoing or scheduled to begin in 2017.

In addition, the Lead IG agencies and oversight partners were conducting 22 ongoing investigations into alleged fraud, waste, and abuse related to the OFS mission, as of December 31, 2016, and opened 4 new investigations of fraud, waste, and abuse related to the OFS mission and closed 2 investigations during the quarter.

Section 8L of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, provides a mandate for the three Lead IG agencies—the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, the Department of State Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Inspector General—to work together to develop and carry out joint, comprehensive, and strategic oversight. Each IG retains statutory independence, but together they apply their extensive regional experience and in depth institutional knowledge to conduct oversight of the OFS mission.