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Foreign Police Assistance: Defined Roles and Improved Information Sharing Could Enhance Interagency Collaboration

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2012
67 pages
This report updates the General Accountability Office's (GAO's) analysis of U.S. agencies' funding for foreign police assistance during fiscal years 2009 through 2011, with attention to the extent to which the Department of Defense (DOD) and State Department's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (State/INL) assess their activities for countries with the largest programs; and it examines the mechanisms U.S. agencies use to coordinate foreign police-assistance activities.
The United States provided an estimated $13.9 billion for foreign police assistance during fiscal years 2009 through 2011. During these fiscal years, the greatest amount of its foreign police assistance went to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Colombia, Mexico, and the Palestinian Territories. The DOD and State/INL funds constituted approximately 97 percent of U.S. funds for police assistance in fiscal year 2009 and 98 percent in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. Both DOD and State/INL have acknowledged limitations in their procedures for assessing their foreign police-assistance activities, and they are taking steps to address them. DOD assesses the performance of the police forces it trains and equips in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; however, the assessment process for Afghanistan does not provide data on civil policing effectiveness. DOD plans to expand its assessment to civil policing operations. State/INL is developing an evaluation plan that is consistent with State's February 2012 Evaluation Policy. This policy includes conducting evaluations of its largest programs in Iraq and Mexico. U.S. agencies have implemented various mechanisms for coordinating their foreign police-assistance activities as part of wider foreign-assistance activities, such as the National Security Council's (NSC)-led interagency policy committees that coordinate policies at a high level and various working groups at the overseas posts; however, GAO noted some areas for improvement. GAO recommends ways to improve information-sharing among various U.S. agencies. 6 tables, 10 figures, and appended supplementary details, comments from relevant agencies, and study scope and methodology