The Pentagon is having problems identifying the amount of resources it devotes to counterproliferation, according to a new Government Accountability Office letter to lawmakers.
The letter takes the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee (CPRC) to task over the way the panel assembles the information included in its annual report to Congress:
Although DOD compiles a biennial list of programs "strongly related to combating WMD" and related costs, it cannot identify with precision what proportion of its resources are devoted specifically to counterproliferation. One of the key elements of an effective national strategy is identifying resources and investments necessary to execute that strategy. However, the CPRC report provides information on only budget requests; it does not provide any data on budget authority or actual outlays. In addition, visibility over how the department's resources support its counterproliferation strategies is limited, in part because those resources are not comprehensively aligned with gaps in counterproliferation capabilities identified by the Joint Staff based on inputs from the combatant commands and other DOD sources. Moreover, efforts across DOD to align resources with identified gaps in its ability to carry out its counterproliferation strategy have not been fully integrated into DOD's budget process. Although the 2009 CPRC report shows what mission areas the various programs/program elements are responsive to, it does not show what functional capability gaps they are designed to mitigate. As a result, the report does not present congressional decision makers with a clear portrait of how counter-WMD gaps translate into DOD funding priorities.
Consequently, GAO recommends "that DOD report actual appropriations and expenditures as well as budget requests related to counterproliferation in the CPRC report and that DOD align prioritized counterproliferation capability gaps with programs and resources."
CIA last month created a new "Counterproliferation Center" to "combine operational and analytic specialists dedicated to combating the spread of dangerous weapons and technology, allowing for even greater collaboration and information sharing on a top intelligence priority," according to an agency statement.
At an April 14 House Armed Services terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities subcommittee hearing, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs Andrew Weber and Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director Kenneth Myers were asked how the intelligence community was sharing information pertaining to WMD threats with appropriate officials in the Defense Department or other key U.S. agencies, and whether more needed to be done. Their response:
MR. WEBER: Congressman, we get briefed on a daily basis by the intelligence community on the whole range of WMD threats. In addition, the office of the DNI participates in the counterproliferation program review standing committee so we can align resources and investments that are being made in the countering WMD area. I would say that the reporting that we get on the threats in the -- from states -- state programs is excellent and extremely helpful in helping us prioritize where we should be spending resources.
Generally, reporting on nuclear threats is quite good. There is I would say as a consumer of intelligence room for improvement on collection and analysis on biological weapons threats which are a very difficult target.
MR. MYERS: If I may just add very quickly.
One of the efforts that is currently under way between the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency is working together in co-located spaces to work together on some of the potential WMD threats. In other words, bringing the intelligence analysts together with the technology experts, with those systems engineers that are responsible for designing the approaches that we would take in dealing with those WMD threats.
So as the assistant secretary mentioned, there is work to be had and to move forward and improve, but I think one of the things that we found is that bringing the experts together at a working level is a good step in the right direction.