NSC did not comment on the report’s recommendation, but provided technical comments that did not dispute GAO’s finding that the NSC interagency policy committee on security sector assistance needed to complete its efforts to define agency roles and responsibilities. On April 5, 2013, the White House issued PPD 23 which, among other things, defines agency roles and responsibilities for providing security sector assistance. According to PPD 23, State is the lead agency responsible for policy, supervision, and general management of security sector assistance and the congressional appropriation for security sector assistance, with the exception of DOD security sector assistance appropriations, to include integration of interagency efforts and between other related assistance activities. In addition, DOD, DOJ, Treasury, DHS and USAID will participate in interagency strategic security sector assistance planning, assessment, program design, and implementation processes. According to PPD 23, these agencies will also coordinate the content of their security sector assistance programs with State.
DOD concurred with GAO’s recommendation and noted that, in its ongoing implementation of the 2013 Presidential Policy Directive on Security Sector Assistance (PPD-23), which includes foreign police assistance, it has taken steps to address the recommendation. For example, according to DOD officials, as part of its implementation of PPD-23, DOD has taken the following steps, which, in turn, address GAO’s recommendation. First, since January 2014, DOD and Department of State (State) have worked together to establish a new coordinating position to improve oversight and information about international stability police training. Second, DOD officials said they began adding information on foreign police assistance to two existing data systems in order to better document and share information on such assistance, and took steps in the Fall of 2015 to communicate these resources to interagency stakeholders. Specifically, DOD has two databases–the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance (JCISFA) and Joint Lessons Learned Information System (JLLIS)–that include observations and lessons learned related to security force assistance that it is now also using to include observations and lessons learned related to foreign police assistance. DOD officials reported that, as of April 2016, JCISFA includes 595 observations related to domestic and international police assistance as well as a handbook on how to assess security force assistance, including foreign police. These databases are accessible to interagency stakeholders; for example, DOD officials noted that State had at least 28 accounts across the two systems as of April 2016.
State partially concurred but noted that it would work with its interagency partners to identify ways to improve the sharing of best practices and lessons learned concerning U.S. foreign police assistance efforts. State subsequently took two steps to improve the sharing of foreign police assistance information that addressed GAO’s recommendation. First, State created a clearing house for foreign assistance assessments–including assessments on U.S. foreign police assistance efforts–and, on August 31, 2016, circulated a department wide notice requiring staff to post any completed assessments within 90 days of their publication. Posted assessments are made public on State’s external website. When assessments contain sensitive information, State would post a summary of the assessments with contact information. Second, State, in coordination with the Department of Defense, established an oversight board on security sector assistance to serve as the mechanism to address misalignment of resources globally. The board, which covers foreign police assistance, is scheduled to convene for the first time in October 2016, according to State officials.