Small Wars Journal

Audit of USAID Initiative to Measure Impacts of Stabilization

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 7:32am

Audit of USAID Initiative to Measure Impacts of Stabilization

Today, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released an audit of USAID's Measuring Impacts of Stabilization Initiatives (MISTI) program. MISTI was initiated in 2012 in order to monitor and evaluate USAID's ongoing stabilization programs.

The audit notes:

-- USAID spent more than $2.3 billion on more than two dozen stabilization activities and programs in Afghanistan.

-- USAID’s stabilization programs were unsuccessful overall as implemented in Afghanistan.

-- Insurgents targeted programs in areas where the Afghan government was in control.

-- USAID faces a host of systemic challenges in implementing and conducting oversight of its stabilization programs in Afghanistan.

-- MSI, the company contracted to implement MISTI, told SIGAR it could not properly locate where USAID conducted stabilization activities because of the inaccurate geospatial data it received, and as a result, could not begin conducting verification work.

-- MSI had to first create its own geospatial database. Officials said they initially spent up to 60 percent of their time addressing these errors instead of performing verification work.

-- USAID has not addressed a longstanding need for accurate, standardized geospatial data. MSI’s reporting that the agency’s stabilization programs in Afghanistan had poor, inaccurate data underscores a significant problem that SIGAR continues to highlight.

-- USAID officials told SIGAR that they do not have any agency or mission-level policies to govern or guide the collection, maintenance, use, or sharing of geospatial data. When SIGAR asked why the agency has not followed OMB Circular A-16, the officials could not provide an explanation.

-- Without an established policy and standards that explain how to handle and use geospatial data, USAID will continue to operate with inaccurate, problematic geospatial data, not knowing where its program activities are being conducted.

-- This will continue to limit the agency’s ability to provide effective oversight and to mitigate potential fraud, waste, and abuse in connection with its programs in Afghanistan.