We determined whether the Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan (CSTC-A) provided effective oversight of ammunition for the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Specifically, we focused on ammunition that was procured by DoD and provided to the ANDSF.
In 2011, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer authorized CSTC-A to provide Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) resources directly to the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Defense (MoD) (ministries) to sustain the ANDSF. The goal of this support is to develop ministerial capability and capacity in the areas of budget development and execution, payment of salaries, acquisition planning, and procurement.
CSTC-A is the DoD command that directs U.S. efforts to organize, train, and equip the ANDSF. The command provides oversight and ensures adequate controls are in place to safeguard appropriated ASFF direct contributions provided to the ministries.
The MoI manages the Afghan National Police (ANP), and the MoD manages the Afghan National Army (ANA). The ministries develop, validate, and justify requirements for their annual budget, including the use of ASFF direct contributions. CSTC-A and the ministries sign annual Bilateral Financial Commitment Letters in which CSTC-A commits to funding specified portions of each ministry’s budget and the ministries commit to stated conditions to ensure continued funding.
CSTC-A uses inventory and consumption reports from the ministries to track MoI and MoD ammunition demand, identify ammunition requirements, and determine when to procure ammunition. We focused on performance requirements as agreed to in the FY 1395 commitment letters.1
CSTC-A did not provide effective oversight of ammunition that was procured by the DoD and provided to the ANDSF. CSTC-A officials stated that they could not perform physical inspections beyond the corps or zone level to validate ministry-provided ammunition reports due to understaffing and security limitations. Therefore, CSTC-A limited its oversight to evaluating monthly consumption and inventory reports that the ministries agreed to provide in the commitment letters. Specifically, CSTC-A did not:
- define the roles and responsibilities of the CSTC-A personnel responsible for evaluating ministry ammunition reporting,
- define the criteria necessary to objectively evaluate the ministries’ ammunition reporting, and
- obtain and review the Ministry Inspectors General inspection results of each ministry’s on-hand ammunition inventories when assessing the accuracy of ammunition reports provided by the ministries.
This occurred because CSTC-A focused on its advisory mission through mentoring Afghan officials but did not develop an effective strategy to oversee the ministries’ compliance with commitment letter requirements.
In addition, CSTC-A only enforced one penalty during FY 1395, even though CSTC-A determined the ministries did not meet the commitment letter reporting requirements on 36 of 55 assessments. This occurred because CSTC-A officials believed enforcing penalties outlined in the commitment letter would have a negative effect on ANDSF operational readiness.
Without consistent, timely, and accurate reporting from the ministries, CSTC-A cannot account for all ammunition consumed by the ANDSF. In addition, since CSTC-A was unable to verify the ministries’ consumption data, CSTC-A does not have assurance that the $702 million spent to procure ammunition in FYs 2015 and 2016 supported actual requirements and was used for its intended purposes.2 Finally, without accurate consumption data, future ammunition requirements may not be valid.
We recommend that the Commanding General, Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan develop and document a long-term strategy to improve the ministries’ ammunition reporting that includes:
- clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the personnel involved with providing oversight of ammunition,
- criteria to evaluate the ministries’ compliance with ammunition commitment letter requirements, and
- procedures to review Ministry Inspectors General inspection results when assessing the accuracy of ammunition reports.
In addition, include consequences in the FY 1397 commitment letters for the ministries’ noncompliance that would not impact operational readiness and Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan would be willing to consistently enforce.
Management Comments and Our Response
The Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff Security Assistance, Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan (CSTC-A), responding for the Commanding General, CSTC-A, stated the report was factually accurate. However, the Chief of Staff did not state whether the command agreed or disagreed with the recommendation.
The Chief of Staff did provide a list of planned actions to improve oversight of ammunition. Specifically, the Chief of Staff stated that the command has revised its Ammunition Stockholding Policy to include clear lines of responsibility for ammunition accountability and issue. In addition, the Chief of Staff stated that CSTC-A will establish an Integrated Process Team to develop an action plan that will provide appropriate ammunition oversight with existing resources and authorities. Further, the Chief of Staff stated the current commitment letters include penalties associated with ammunition reporting. In addition, the Chief of Staff stated the Commanding General, CSTC-A, determines the applicability of the penalties and that penalties had been assessed in the past for non-reporting. However, the Chief of Staff did not address efforts to develop criteria to evaluate the ministries’ compliance with commitment letter requirements or procedures for reviewing Ministry Inspectors General inspection results when assessing the accuracy of ammunition reports. In addition, the Chief of Staff did not address the recommendation to include consequences in the FY 1397 commitment letters that would not impact ANDSF operational readiness and that CSTC-A would be willing to enforce.
The recommendation is unresolved and remains open. We request that the Commanding General, CSTC-A, provide the Ammunition Stockholding Policy for our review and also provide additional comments on developing criteria to evaluate the ministries’ compliance with commitment letter requirements and procedures for assessing the accuracy of ammunition reports. In addition, we request that the Commanding General provide comments on the final report regarding the inclusion of consequences in the FY 1397 commitment letters that would not impact operational readiness and that CSTC-A would be willing to enforce.
1 The Afghan FY 1395 is December 21, 2015, through December 20, 2016.
2 According to Defense Security Cooperation Agency officials, the DoD spent $702 million in FYs 2015-2016 to procure ammunition to support both current and future ANDSF requirements.