National Security

Published — February 17, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

GAO: U.S. weapons given to Pakistan could fall into enemy hands

Introduction

The Defense Department isn’t properly tracking military equipment given to Pakistan and the lack of oversight could lead to U.S. technology falling into enemy hands, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

“The increasing level of U.S. security assistance to Pakistan, coupled with the potential that U.S.-provided equipment to Pakistan could fall into the wrong hands if not fully secured, make it essential that DOD implement robust accountability procedures for U.S.-provided equipment,” the GAO said.

The report did not assess, however, whether equipment had been lost or stolen since the United States began using a central Islamabad warehouse in 2008.

Defense officials don’t have the proper oversight in place to keep track of items stored in the warehouse, such as satellite equipment, high frequency radios, helicopter parts, and night-vision gear, said one of the report’s authors, Charles Michael Johnson Jr. When GAO officials first visited the Islamabad warehouse last February, they reported that the military didn’t have written procedures in place to keep track of equipment handed over to the Pakistanis.

The GAO summarized its recommendations: “All property of the department must be accounted for until it is transferred to the Pakistani security forces.”

Wallace “Chip” Gregson, DoD’s assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, disagreed that military officials should be subject to its own internal rules regarding keeping track of equipment. He wrote the GAO that once property was transferred into Pakistan, it was no longer U.S. responsibility, according to the report.

FAST FACT: The U.S. has provided more than $18 billion to Pakistan for counter terrorism efforts, as well as economic and humanitarian aid. The Obama administration has asked for an additional $1.1 billion in the next fiscal year to combat terrorism.

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