This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) is the tenth quarterly report detailing the overseas contingency operation (OCO) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The report covers the period April 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017. The report summarizes the quarter’s key events; discusses security, governance, stabilization, and humanitarian assistance efforts in Iraq and Syria; and provides a brief overview of the Syrian civil war, particularly as it relates to OIR. The report also provides an overview of funding for OIR and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work related to OIR.
OIR is dedicated to countering the terrorist threat posed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria, regionally, and worldwide. The U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS includes support to military operations associated with OIR as well as diplomacy, governance, security programs and activities, and, separately, humanitarian assistance.
Between April 1, 2017, and June 30, 2017, Iraqi forces supported by a U.S.-led coalition of 73 nations and organizations defeated ISIS in most of Mosul, the northern Iraqi city where the group declared its “caliphate” in 2014. On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the city liberated. In Syria, coalition-back forces penetrated Raqqah, ISIS’s self-proclaimed capital, as ISIS moved some materiel and commanders south to Dayr az Zawr province. Separately, the U.S. military for the first time directly engaged the Syrian regime. On June 7, the U.S. military launched Tomahawk missiles to strike a Syrian military airbase following the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. On June 18, the U.S. military shot down a Syrian fighter jet to protect coalition-backed Syrian opposition forces. This report discusses these and other activities that occurred during the quarter in more detail.
This quarter, the Lead IG agencies and oversight partners released 10 reports related to OIR. The Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an assessment of U.S. and Coalition efforts to train, advise, assist, and equip Iraqi partners that found that procurement and vetting processes for the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service lacked sufficient standards of evaluations in 13 of the 17 training courses and that trainees did not receive live-fire training on all weapons systems that they may need to use in combat.
A Department of State (DoS) OIG inspection of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs found that DoS employees in the offices responsible for Syria and Yemen faced unsustainable workloads, exacerbated by vacant positions, making it difficult for the two desks to fulfill the full range of their responsibilities. In addition, the inspection found that Syria policy coordination was complicated by unclear lines of authority among a number of U.S. Government entities influencing Syria policy formulation and implementation.
A U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) OIG audit of an education program in Lebanon found that delays in project startup had slowed a number of project activities designed to alleviate strains on Lebanon’s education system caused in part by the inflow of Syrian refugee children.
As of June 30, 2017, the Lead IG agencies were conducting 23 ongoing oversight projects and 83 investigations pertaining to alleged procurement or program fraud, corruption, and trafficking in persons.
Section 8L of the Inspector General Act of 1978 provides a mandate for the three Lead IG agencies—the DoD OIG, the DoS OIG, and USAID OIG—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 whole-of-government mission to defeat ISIS and address the severe humanitarian crises in Iraq and Syria.