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Inspector General: DoD’s European Reassurance Initiative Faces Personnel, Budget Mgmt Challenges

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The Defense Department‘s office of inspector general has called on DoD to develop strategies to address budgetary and personnel management issues under a program that offers military support to U.S. allies in Europe.

The OIG said in a report published Tuesday the European Reassurance Initiative establishes new requirements for the U.S. European Command without authorizing an increase in personnel.

ERI is funded under overseas contingency operations appropriations that are usually planned for one year and do not align with DoD’s five-year Future Years Defense Program planning cycle, according to the report.

This funding arrangement may affect the capacity of EUCOM and Operation Atlantic Resolve countries to sustain ERI’s support for allied and partner military forces, the OIG reported.

OAR countries include Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

Auditors also found that OAR countries have yet to develop procedures or transportation infrastructure to support the timely deployment of U.S., allied and partner-nation forces.

U.S. agreements with OAR nations on infrastructure use do not have clear guidelines for facility access, sustainment and development, the OIG noted.

Such infrastructure challenges exist partly due to OAR participants’ lack of movement agreements with other NATO countries as well as insufficient experience in managing military convoys and equipment owned by multiple forces.

The report also revealed that EUCOM does not have specific metrics to assess the impact of ERI initiatives on allied and partner nations’ training, infrastructure and military capacity-building activities, which will make it difficult for DoD to track the progress of OAR countries.

The OIG urged the Joint Staff director to evaluate whether EUCOM and its subordinate commands have enough personnel resources to perform ERI missions.

The oversight body also called on the office of the deputy secretary of defense to formulate ways to change the ERI budgeting cycle to align it with participating countries’ training and capacity-building efforts.

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