Peacekeeping: Multinational Force And Observers Maintaining Accountability, but State Department Oversight Could Be Improved Page: 2 of 67
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Accountability- Integrity Reliability
Highlights of GAO-04-883, a report to
Multinational Force and Observers
Maintaining Accountability, but State
Department Oversight Could Be Improved
Why GAO Did This Study
Since 1982, the Multinational Force
and Observers (MFO) has
monitored compliance with the
security provisions of the Egyptian-
Israeli Treaty of Peace. The United
States, while not a party to the
treaty, contributes 40 percent of
the troops and a third of MFO's
annual budget. All personnel in the
MFO civilian observer unit (COU)
GAO (1) assessed State's oversight
of the MFO, (2) reviewed MFO's
personnel and financial
management practices, and (3)
reviewed MFO's emerging budget
challenges and U.S. MFO cost
GAO recommends that the
Secretary of State (1) resolve the
concern of recruiting for the chief
COU post; (2) ensure that staff with
accounting expertise carry out
State's MFO financial oversight
responsibilities; (3) direct State's
MFO advisory board to monitor
State's compliance with its
oversight guidelines; and (4) work
to reconcile Army and State views
on the MFO cost-sharing
We received comments from DOD,
State, and MFO. DOD and MFO
generally agreed with our
conclusions. State agreed with
three of our recommendations and
was nonresponsive to the
recommendation that the oversight
board monitor State's compliance
with MFO oversight guidelines.
To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Joseph
Christoff at (202) 512-8979 or
What GAO Found
The State Department has fulfilled some but not all of its operational and
financial oversight responsibilities for MFO, but lack of documentation
prevented us from determining the quality and extent of its efforts. State has
not consistently recruited candidates suited for the leadership position of
the MFO's civilian observer unit, which monitors and verifies the parties'
compliance with the treaty. State also has not evaluated MFO's financial
practices as required by State's guidelines because they lacked staff with
expertise in this area. However, State recently formed an MFO management
advisory board to improve its oversight of MFO operations.
MFO has taken actions in recent years to improve its personnel system,
financial accountability, and internal controls. For example, it has provided
incentives to retain experienced staff and taken steps to standardize its
performance appraisal system. It has received clean opinions on its annual
financial statements and on special reviews of its internal controls. MFO has
also controlled costs, reduced its military and civilian personnel levels, and
kept its budget at $51 million since 1995, while meeting mission objectives
and Treaty party expectations.
U.S. Infantry Battalion Deployed as MFO Peacekeepers
MFO faces a number of personnel, management, and budgetary challenges.
For example, leading practices suggest its employees' access to alternative
dispute resolution mechanisms for discrimination complaints, and the
gender imbalance in its workforce, could be issues of concern. Moreover,
MFO lacks oversight from an audit committee or senior management review
committee to ensure the independence of its external auditors. Finally,
MFO's budget is likely to increase because of costs associated with replacing
its antiquated helicopter fleet. U.S. and MFO efforts to obtain support from
other contributors generally have not succeeded. Army, State, and MFO
officials have yet to agree who should pay the increased costs associated
with changes in the composition and pay scales of U.S. troops deployed at
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Peacekeeping: Multinational Force And Observers Maintaining Accountability, but State Department Oversight Could Be Improved, report, July 23, 2004; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299116/m1/2/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.