Publicly Released: July 14, 2020
The objective of this audit was to determine whether Combined Security Transition Command– Afghanistan’s (CSTC‑A) implementation of the Core Inventory Management System (CoreIMS) has improved weapon and vehicle accountability in Afghanistan since 2016. Our audit focused on Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) weapon and vehicle records maintained in CoreIMS from August 2016 through August 2019.
The DoD provides equipment to the government of Afghanistan as part of the effort to develop the ANDSF into a force capable of independently providing security for the Afghan people. CoreIMS is intended to be used by the ANDSF to manage equipment provided by the DoD to support the Afghan government. CoreIMS seeks to provide the ANDSF with visibility, transparency, and accountability of DoD‑provided equipment; warehouse inventory software to manage shipping, receiving, and inventory for warehouse operations; and an accounting of inventory along with automated management and visibility of materiel at national and regional facilities for logistics planners.
While CSTC‑A’s implementation of CoreIMS has improved the accountability of weapons and vehicles at the ANDSF’s national warehouses, it has not led to full accountability at the ANDSF local sites. Specifically, in August 2016, CSTC‑A implemented a process that captured the serial numbers and locations of more than 95 percent of weapons and vehicles provided to the ANDSF by the DoD between October 2016 and August 2019.
However, we also determined that the ANDSF did not use CoreIMS at 78 of its 191 (41 percent) local sites. The ANDSF did not use CoreIMS to account for weapons and vehicles held at all local sites because CSTC‑A did not fully consider the level of difficulty the challenges of the operational environment would have on the implementation of CoreIMS. For example, CSTC‑A expanded the intended use of CoreIMS in 2016 to be the ANDSF’s primary system to account for weapons and vehicles despite the known challenges such as a lack of or limited Internet connectivity and electrical power at local sites.
As a result of the ANDSF’s inability to consistently use CoreIMS at all ANDSF sites, CSTC‑A will not be able to assist the ANDSF in identifying some instances of weapon and vehicle theft, help the ANDSF plan its future equipment requirements, and reduce duplicate issuance of weapons and vehicles. In addition, CSTC‑A continues to expend resources on implementing CoreIMS without a strategy for sites that do not have the capability to implement CoreIMS. Therefore, the ANDSF will continue to rely on CSTC‑A to train, advise, and assist the ANDSF in improving logistics capabilities.
We recommend that the CSTC‑A Commander work with the ANDSF, as part of CSTC‑A’s train, advise, and assist mission, to develop a formal process and alternate mechanism to feed weapon and vehicle information from the local sites where CoreIMS cannot be used into CoreIMS at the regional depots, national warehouses, or local-level sites that do use CoreIMS. For example, on a monthly or quarterly basis, officials from local sites without CoreIMS should be required to bring hardcopy weapon and vehicle information to the closest local, regional, or national-level site with CoreIMS and input the information into CoreIMS.
The CSTC‑A Commander should also conduct an assessment to determine the specific challenges that are preventing each of the 78 local sites from adopting CoreIMS, and identify specific resources needed to adopt CoreIMS at those local sites, before expending any further resources on enhancing CoreIMS.
Management Comments and Our Response
The CSTC-A Director of Staff, responding for the CSTC-A Commander, provided comments on the finding. Although not required to comment, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia also provided comments on our finding and recommendations. A summary of these comments and our responses is located in the Finding section of the report.
The CSTC-A Director of Staff and the Deputy Assistant Secretary agreed with our recommendation to develop a formal process or alternate mechanism to feed weapon and vehicle information from local sites where CoreIMS cannot be used to regional depots, national warehouses, or local sites where CoreIMS is being used. The CSTC‑A Director of Staff stated that Afghan National Army Decree 4.2 states how each lower level location is to submit its inventory to its parent organization, and that CSTC‑A had incorporated those processes into its train, advise, and assist efforts. The Deputy Assistant Secretary stated that CSTC‑A advisers were working with the ANDSF to establish processes to feed weapon and vehicle inventory information from local sites not using CoreIMS to the nearest local or regional site that does use CoreIMS.
The CSTC‑A Director of Staff addressed the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close the recommendation once CSTC‑A provides us with Afghan National Army Decree 4.2 and we verify that it contains procedures for all ANDSF lower level locations to submit manual inventories to their parent organizations and once CSTC‑A provides us with documentation demonstrating that the ANDSF and CSTC‑A have developed and implemented a process for local sites that do not use CoreIMS.
The CSTC-A Director of Staff and the Deputy Assistant Secretary partially agreed with the recommendation to determine the specific challenges that are preventing implementation of CoreIMS at 78 local sites. However, the Deputy Assistant Secretary did not agree that 78 sites is the number of sites at which CoreIMS should be deployed.
The Director of Staff stated that CSTC‑A has begun site surveys to determine the feasibility of implementing CoreIMS at more local sites, and that CSTC‑A would work with the ANDSF to determine which of the sites that do not use CoreIMS would be able to implement the system and that a training plan to reinforce manual property book procedures would be developed. The Deputy Assistant Secretary asserted that efforts to enhance CoreIMS should continue regardless of whether CoreIMS can be deployed at every ANDSF site.
The CSTC-A Director of Staff and the Deputy Assistant Secretary addressed the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close this recommendation when CSTC‑A provides us with documentation that it completed its site surveys and that the training plan on manual property book procedures has been developed and implemented at sites that are unable to use CoreIMS. We also agree that efforts to enhance CoreIMS, where feasible, should continue, but maintain that long‑term investment into CoreIMS without developing methods to account for inventory at sites that cannot use CoreIMS could be an inefficient use of DoD resources.
This report is the product of Proj. No. D2019-D000RJ-0175.000