Report: Lack of Weapons Tracking for Afghan Security Forces
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
During fiscal years 2002 through 2008, the United States spent approximately $16.5 billion to train and equip the Afghan army and police forces in order to transfer responsibility for the security of Afghanistan from the international community to the Afghan government, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police’s Firearms Committee.
The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) in Kabul, which is a joint service, coalition organization under the command and control of Defense’s U.S. Central Command is primarily responsible for training and equipping ANSF. As part of that responsibility, CSTC-A receives and stores weapons provided by the United States and other international donors and distributes them to ANSF units. In addition, CSTC-A is responsible for monitoring the use of U.S.-procured weapons and other sensitive equipment.
The Department of Defense, through its Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan and with the Department of State, directs international efforts to train and equip Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
As part of these efforts, the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command and the Navy spent about $120 million to procure small arms and light weapons for ANSF. International donors also provided weapons. As part of this effort, Defense- -through the U.S. Army and Navy — purchased over 242,000 small arms and light weapons.
At the request of the US Congress, the Government Accountability Office analyzed whether Defense can account for these weapons and ensure ANSF can safeguard and account for them. GAO reviewed Defense and State documents on accountability procedures, reviewed contractor reports on ANSF training, met with U.S. and Afghan officials, observed accountability practices, analyzed inventory records, and attempted to locate a random sample of weapons.
Defense officials did not establish clear guidance for U.S. personnel to follow when obtaining, transporting, and storing weapons for the Afghan National Security Forces, resulting in significant lapses in accountability.
While the Defense Department has accountability requirements for its own weapons, including serial number tracking and routine inventories, it did not clearly specify whether they applied to ANSF weapons under U.S. control. GAO estimates USASAC and CSTC-A did not maintain complete records for about 87,000, or 36 percent, of the 242,000 U.S.-procured weapons shipped to Afghanistan.
For about 46,000 weapons, USASAC could not provide serial numbers, and GAO estimates CSTC-A did not maintain records on the location or disposition of about 41,000 weapons with recorded serial numbers. CSTC-A also did not maintain reliable records for about 135,000 weapons it obtained for ANSF from 21 other countries.
Accountability lapses occurred throughout the supply chain and were primarily due to a lack of clear direction and staffing shortages. During the GAO review, CSTC-A began correcting some shortcomings, but indicated that its continuation of these efforts depends on staffing and other factors. Despite CSTC-A’s training efforts, ANSF units cannot fully safeguard and account for weapons and sensitive equipment.
The US Defense and State Departments have deployed hundreds of trainers and mentors to help ANSF establish accountability practices. CSTC-A’s policy is not to issue equipment without verifying that appropriate supply and accountability procedures are in place. Although CSTC-A has not consistently assessed ANSF units’ ability to account for weapons, mentors have reported major accountability weaknesses, which CSTC-A officials and mentors attribute to a variety of cultural and institutional problems, including illiteracy, corruption, and unclear guidance.
Further, CSTC-A did not begin monitoring the end use of sensitive night vision devices until 15 months after issuing them to Afghan National Army units.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the blog editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Recently, the editors Examiner.com appointed him as their Law Enforcement Examiner. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for NewswithViews.com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 300 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.