We determined whether the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF‑OIR) and the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (1st TSC) validated the requirements for Iraqi border guard (IBG) equipment against demonstrated needs, and accounted for border guard equipment before divestment to the Government of Iraq.
Since October 2014, Coalition Forces have defeated insurgent counterattacks, reclaimed thousands of square kilometers, and significantly weakened the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror infrastructure in Iraq and Syria. Although most of the ISIS “caliphate” is destroyed, remnants of the organization still exist in both Iraq and Syria with the intent to regroup, rebuild, and continue the battle in the future.
Border security is a critical capability of the Government of Iraq to prevent ISIS movement between Iraq and Syria and protect western Iraqi communities. According to the F Y 2019 Overseas Contingency Operations budget request by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the Counter‑ISIS Train and Equip Fund, the equipment divested to the IBG forces provides the means to secure the border against localized and changing ISIS threats.
We determined that CJTF‑OIR and 1st TSC validated requirements for IBG equipment against demonstrated needs. However, 1st TSC divestment packages of IBG equipment did not match CJTF‑OIR IBG equipping requests, and CJTF‑OIR and 1st TSC did not maintain complete accountability records of divested equipment, including Leahy and Section 1236 vetting documentation.
This occurred because CJTF‑OIR did not take responsibility for the accountability of IBG equipment after procurement was completed and did not identify what documentation should be maintained for divestments or vetting. In addition, CJTF‑OIR and 1st TSC did not have a consistent process for coordinating divestments to the Government of Iraq. Instead, CJTF OIR relied on 1st TSC to manage the accountability and divestment of equipment to the Government of Iraq.
As a result, CJTF‑OIR does not have evidence IBG personnel received the equipment needed to secure Iraq’s borders against localized and changing ISIS threats. In addition, CJTF‑OIR risks unnecessary spending of Counter‑ISIS Train and Equip Fund–Iraq (CTEF‑I) funds on equipment that is on hand, but identified as already divested, to fulfill IBG requirements. Furthermore, without adequate documentation to validate vetting compliance as required by public law, the DoD lacks assurance that equipment, including lethal weapons and explosives, was not provided to individuals who have committed gross violations of human rights, or are associated with terrorist groups or groups associated with the Government of Iran.
We recommend that the CJTF‑OIR Commanding General update the standard operating procedures for the training and equipping of Iraq to require U.S. Government personnel to:
- maintain divestment packages in a central repository;
- conduct annual reviews of divestment packages for completeness and accuracy; and
- maintain annual divestment package review results in a central repository.
In addition, we recommend that the CJTF‑OIR Commanding General and 1st TSC Commander develop, document, and implement a joint process for the accountability and divestment of Counter–ISIS Train and Equip Fund-Iraq equipment. Furthermore, we recommend that the CJTF‑OIR Commanding General update the Leahy and Section 1236 vetting policy to include requirements to maintain vetting documentation with divestment packages, and requirements to use a unique identifier for individual vetted recipients of Counter‑Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund equipment.
Management Comments and Our Response
CJTF-OIR and 1st TSC officials agreed with our recommendations and immediately established an operational planning team to develop and implement a corrective plan of action that went into effect September 24, 2018. Specifically, C JTF-OIR staff established CTEF-I repositories for maintaining equipment divestment records and Leahy and Section 1236 vetting documentation and established procedures to coordinate with 1st TSC for the upload of 1st TSC movement orders and divestment documents to the C TEF-I records repository. In addition, C JTF-OIR and 1st TSC staff updated standard operating procedures to address records storage and divestment and vetting documentation requirements.
The management actions taken by CJTF-OIR and 1st TSC address the concerns we identified, and we have verified that the agreed-upon corrective actions were implemented. Therefore, all three recommendations are closed.
This report is a result of Project No. D2018-D000RH-0127.000.