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Report | Sept. 29, 2022

Special Report: Lessons Learned From Security Cooperation Activities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa (DODIG-2022-142)


Publicly Released: October 3, 2022



The objective of this evaluation was to summarize previous oversight reports related to security cooperation activities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa.


Executive Summary

This report provides a summary evaluation of 22 DoD OIG, 11 Government Accountability Office (GAO), and 4 Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) oversight reports from 2015 to 2021 relating to U.S. and Coalition efforts to provide security cooperation to foreign partners in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa. These oversight reports identified several areas where challenges remain, as well as lessons learned that may inform and assist current and future U.S. security cooperation activities worldwide.

During our review, we determined that some previously identified issues may have been partially addressed. For example, multiple reports cited a lack of experience in the security cooperation workforce, stating that the workforce lacked appropriate training in cultural awareness and funding processes. In response, the DoD developed a program to professionalize the security cooperation organization (SCO) workforce and provide enhanced training through the Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU). The DoD also formally introduced a security cooperation workforce certification program to enable workforce personnel the opportunity to develop and become credentialed in the full array of skills required in their jobs. Additionally, the U.S. Army established security force assistance brigades to provide forces that are readily proficient in advising and assisting partner nations (PNs) and that receive the appropriate regionally-aligned training.

However, many challenges remain. For example, continued issues with accountability and control of U.S.-provided equipment could result in loss of sensitive equipment that is susceptible to theft, misuse, or diversion. Additionally, systemic challenges with training and advising that resulted in PN over-reliance on U.S. and Coalition forces to execute essential functions, such as logistics, maintenance, and support, remain a problem. We also identified other systemic challenges that remain in the following areas:

  • training and equipping partner nation security forces and ministries,
  • providing advisory assistance in support of partner nations,
  • developing and sustaining logistics,
  • ensuring accountability and control of U.S.-supplied equipment, and
  • managing U.S. contracts.