In 2016 and 2017, the Global Train and Equip project failed to enhance the capabilities of designated forces in 13 of 21 projects, the Government Accountability Office reported Wednesday, though "the assessment reports for some of these projects described some positive project outcomes." The military spent some $2 billion on the program during the same period.
Misuse of equipment outside of the "envisioned purposes," failure to maintain equipment, "partner nation" mistakes, manpower shortages and flawed project proposal designs contributed to the low success rate, according to the watchdog.
Nations where Train and Equip projects were carried out over the past two years included Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Greece, Albania, Serbia, Lebanon, Jordan, Chad, Niger, Morocco and Tunisia. Resource allocation was most highly concentrated in Africa, GAO figures show.
The Pentagon is not overexerting itself to assess the efficacy of programs to provide weapons and counter-terror expertise. Only around 33 percent of programs were assessed for effectiveness over the span of 262 Global Train and Equip missions, the GAO said, as reported by Military Times.
The figures may have been even less favorable toward the Pentagon had information about Syria been included in the report, which does not mention the war-torn country once, despite the presence of al-Qaeda-backed groups and Daesh operating in Syria during the time period GAO analyzed. It's not clear why this program was excluded from the study, but one possible reason is that the GAO studied Pentagon activities and not intelligence operations.
US President Donald Trump shut down a CIA program to train and equip "moderate rebels" in Syria in July 2017. Some of the US-armed-and-trained "rebels" reportedly joined the Daesh's ranks after the CIA program ended.