What SIGIR Found
The DoS is wisely reducing the PDP’s scope and size in the face of weak Iraq Ministry of Interior (MOI) support. In July 2012, the number of incountry advisors was reduced to 36: 18 in Baghdad and 18 in Erbil, down from the 85 advisors supporting the program in January. These latest reductions stemmed, in part, from the MOI’s rejection of some planned PDP training that was to be the centerpiece of the DoS program. DoS is currently refocusing its training on five technical areas requested by the MOI.
Along with Iraqi disinterest, security concerns also affected the program. The Embassy’s Regional Security Office deemed it unsafe for advisors to travel to Iraqi-controlled facilities in Baghdad on a frequent basis. Thus, the PDP’s advisors conducted more training at the U.S.-controlled Baghdad Police College Annex (BPAX). DoS constructed significant training and housing facilities at BPAX at an estimated cost of about $108 million. But the DoS has decided to close the facility, just months after the PDP started, due to security costs and program revisions. Although BPAX’s facilities will be given to the Iraqis, its closure amounts to a de facto waste of the estimated $108 million to be invested in its construction. In addition, DoS contributed $98 million in PDP funds for constructing the Basrah Consulate so it could be used for PDP training. It too will not be used because the MOI decided to terminate training at that location. This brings the total amount of de facto waste in the PDP—that is, funds not meaningfully used for the purpose of their appropriation—to about $206 million.
With the PDP’s downsizing, available funding exceeds current costs. DoS has about $118 million in unspent fiscal years (FY) 2010 and 2011 funds. More FY 2010 and FY 2011 funds will become available as more reductions are implemented. Further, DoS officials noted that they may need some of the $76.3 million in requested FY 2012 funds to continue operations in FY 2013. It is unclear how much will be needed to fund FY 2013 activities.
In SIGIR’s October 2011 PDP audit, we noted that support costs comprised 88 percent of program funding. Further, the average cost per advisor totaled about $2.1 million per year. SIGIR’s analysis of DoS’s FY 2013 budget request shows that PDP support costs would go up to 94 percent of program funding and the per advisor costs would double to about $4.2 million per year.
In SIGIR’s lessons learned study, Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, we reported that a major lesson learned from Iraq is that host country buy-in to proposed programs is essential to the long-term success of relief and reconstruction activities: the PDP experience powerfully underscores that point. While obtaining the MOI’s commitment to the planned PDP program has clearly been difficult, the decision to embark on a major program absent Iraqi buy-in has been costly. Further, without the MOI’s written commitment to the program, there is little reason to have confidence that the training program currently being planned will be accepted six months from now.