Detailed Information on the
Economic and Trade Sanctions Program - Office of Foreign Assets Control Assessment

Program Code 10000428
Program Title Economic and Trade Sanctions Program - Office of Foreign Assets Control
Department Name Department of the Treasury
Agency/Bureau Name Departmental Offices
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2002
Assessment Rating Results Not Demonstrated
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 70%
Program Management 70%
Program Results/Accountability 40%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $24
FY2008 $22
FY2009 $23

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Developing long-term performance goals with specific timeframes and measures. OFAC is developing long-term performance goals that are aligned with Treasury's Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2007-2012 as part of Treasury's performance measure workshops, being conducted in the summer of 2007. As part of the upcoming performance measure workshops, OFAC will reevaluate its current performance measures and their targets, as well as develop new ones. OFAC will implement any new measures by the beginning of FY 2008.

Action taken, but not completed

Adopting annual performance goals and aligning them with the long-term performance goals. As part of developing long-term performance goals that will align to the Treasury Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2007-2012, OFAC is establishing annual performance measures and targets. OFAC will implement new annual measures by the beginning of FY 2008.

Action taken, but not completed

Developing additional qualitative assessments on the impact of OFAC's sanctions programs. OFAC has conducted one qualitative assessment on the impact of economic sanctions against Colombian drug cartels, published in March 2007. This is a demonstrative, narrative report that identifies the policy purpose of sanctions against Colombian narcotics traffickers, how OFAC developed a program to address this policy, and it provides specific examples that are both indicative of how OFAC actions meet the purposes of the sanctions and their overall impact. OFAC intends to issue additional qualitative reports in this vein on other sanctions programs, including the possibility of issuing shorter reports that highlight accomplishments. OFAC has numerous sanctions programs, such as its Foreign Narcotics Kingpin program and WMD programs, which could be the subject of upcoming reports.

Action taken, but not completed

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Output

Measure: Number of civil penalty cases that are resolved within the Statute of Limitations period. (Performance measure was adopted in 2005)


Year Target Actual
2005 N/A N/A
2006 Baseline 85
2007 85 140 (year to date)
Annual Output

Measure: Turn-around time for license and interpretive submissions. (Performance measure was adopted in 2005)


Year Target Actual
2005 N/A N/A
2006 60 days 7 days
2007 60 days N/A
Annual Output

Measure: Number of outreach engagements focusing on compliance with OFAC regulations. (Performance measure was adopted in 2005)


Year Target Actual
2005 N/A N/A
2006 60 114
2007 60 N/A

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: OFAC is responsible for administering and enforcing economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorism sponsoring organizations and international narcotics traffickers. Typically, this involves imposing controls on transactions with, and freezing the assets of, targeted foreign entities and individuals. The purpose and scope of each sanctions program is typically laid out in the implementing executive order.

Evidence: OFAC Mission Statement; International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA") and implementing executive orders; Trading With the Enemy Act; United Nations Participation Act; Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act; Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific interest, problem or need?

Explanation: Freezing assets and enforcing trade sanctions against specified countries, groups and individuals advance U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.

Evidence: OFAC derives its authority from Presidential wartime and national emergency powers, as well as through specific authorizing legislation.

YES 20%

Is the program designed to have a significant impact in addressing the interest, problem or need?

Explanation: Since September 11th, the United States (OFAC) and its allies have frozen over $124 million in terrorist assets thus impairing their ability to finance terrorist activities domestically and abroad. Altogether, OFAC is currently freezing about $4 billion under 24 sanctions programs.

Evidence: President Bush made disrupting terrorist financing a centerpiece of the War on Terrorism with his signing of Executive Order 13224. Executive Orders, declaring a national emergency with respect to specific threats, and invoking special Presidential IEEPA powers are typically issued as the financial component of an overall response to national security or foreign policy threats.

YES 20%

Is the program designed to make a unique contribution in addressing the interest, problem or need (i.e., not needlessly redundant of any other Federal, state, local or private efforts)?

Explanation: OFAC is the only government agency with the regulatory authority and organizational infrastructure to enforce trade and economic sanctions and freeze assets of individuals or organizations under U.S. jurisdiction.

Evidence: Invoking Presidential authority contained in IEEPA and prohibiting economic interaction with a foreign entity or person is the strongest and most expansive (in terms of scope) executive branch action that can be taken short of direct military or law enforcement action.

YES 20%

Is the program optimally designed to address the interest, problem or need?

Explanation: There is no evidence to suggest an alternative mechanism would achieve our foreign policy and national security objectives in the area of dismantling terrorist financing or financially weakening U.S. adversaries.

Evidence: Blocking actions have direct effect because the U.S. dollar is the world's preeminent currency. Almost all dollar denominated financial transfers ultimately clear through banks subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific, ambitious long-term performance goals that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: OFAC does not have long-term performance measures but is in the process of developing them for inclusion in the FY 2005 Budget and performance plan (see Section II, question 7 for steps taken to date).


NO 0%

Does the program have a limited number of annual performance goals that demonstrate progress toward achieving the long-term goals?

Explanation: OMB and Treasury currently are reviewing and finalizing annual performance measures.

Evidence: "Annual goals are under development and are not yet complete. "

YES 20%

Do all partners (grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, etc.) support program planning efforts by committing to the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: OFAC's partners bring considerable insight and information that is used to refine and improve blocking orders and actions.

Evidence: OFAC continuously interacts with the intelligence and law enforcement communities, as well as the State Department and the National Security Council. OFAC is represented on such interagency task forces as Treasury's Operation Green Quest and the FBI's Terrorist Financing Operating Section.

YES 15%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs that share similar goals and objectives?

Explanation: There are no other entities with similar goals and objectives (see Section I, question 4)


NA 0%

Are independent and quality evaluations of sufficient scope conducted on a regular basis or as needed to fill gaps in performance information to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness?

Explanation: In recent years, OFAC has been the subject of Congressional and Executive Branch examinations. In 2001, the Judicial Review Commission, established by Congress under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, completed a comprehensive review of OFAC's legal authority and operations.

Evidence: OFAC reports to Congress every six months (as required by IEEPA and related statutes) detailing actions taken and amounts blocked under the declared national emergency, as well as reasons for the continuation of the national emergency. Congressional review is required for OFAC's 24 sanction programs.

YES 10%

Is the program budget aligned with the program goals in such a way that the impact of funding, policy, and legislative changes on performance is readily known?

Explanation: OFAC is imbedded in Treasury's Departmental Offices account along with other smaller offices. As such, assessing the impact of policy decisions on performance and budget matters often proves difficult. (See next question for steps taken to date).


NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: OFAC is in the process of developing stronger long-term and annual performance goals. As a component of Treasury's Departmental Offices (DO), OFAC is working to improve reporting on its budget structure within DO. Treasury is also undertaking a broader effort to develop measures of success in attacking terrorist financing.

Evidence: OMB, Treasury's Office of Performance Budgeting and OFAC continue to discuss ways to improve strategic planning, including the development of long-term and annual performance goals and measures.

YES 25%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 70%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: OFAC collects and tabulates information on blocked assets, penalties and fines assessed, criminal cases pursued and various categories of licenses issued.

Evidence: OFAC's regulations require reports within 10 days of blockings and comprehensive annual reports by holders of blocked property (31 CFR Part 501.603). OFAC also records information on penalties and fines, criminal cases, and licenses issued. In addition, many of OFAC's licenses contain specific reporting requirements.

YES 20%

Are Federal managers and program partners (grantees, subgrantees, contractors, etc.) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: OFAC does not use performance measures to evaluate SES or mid-level managers.


NO 0%

Are all funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: OFAC rarely lapses S&E funds.

Evidence: Treasury Annual Report, Budget Execution reports

YES 15%

Does the program have incentives and procedures (e.g., competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: There are no such procedures in place, but OFAC currently is undergoing an independent review of its internal procedures and IT systems.

Evidence: A consulting firm is assessing OFAC's information technology and internal procedures to improve efficiency and transparency. OFAC also is exploring the creation of an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to identify potential efficiencies.

NO 0%

Does the agency estimate and budget for the full annual costs of operating the program (including all administrative costs and allocated overhead) so that program performance changes are identified with changes in funding levels?

Explanation: Budget allocations and spending for OFAC are difficult to track since it is a component of the Departmental Offices (DO) account. The 2004 Budget will resolve this dilemma by earmarking OFAC's budget allocation in the DO appropriation.


NO 0%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: There are no financial management related weaknesses at OFAC.

Evidence: Treasury Accountability Report

YES 15%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: OFAC is working within the context of the President's Management Agenda (PMA) to improve budget/performance integration.

Evidence: Treasury quarterly PMA Submissions

YES 20%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 70%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term outcome goal(s)?

Explanation: OFAC does not have long-term outcome goals, but is in the process of developing them. Treasury is undertaking a broader effort to develop measures of success in attacking terrorist financing.

Evidence: Per PART instructions, program received a "no" on Section II, question 1 necessitating a "no" for this particular question.

NO 0%

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Although Treasury is developing new measures, OFAC would have achieved targets if preliminary measures were in place in FY 2002.



Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies and cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: OFAC does not have any means to measure efficiencies.


NO 0%

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: There are no other entities with similar goals and objectives (see Section I, question 4)


NA 0%

Do independent and quality evaluations of this program indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: Recent newspaper and private reports note Treasury's role in blocking over $124 million worldwide, seizing over $16 million in bulk cash smuggling schemes and arresting numerous individuals and organizations with financial ties to terrorists.

Evidence: Blocking assets is just one component of the Financial War on Terrorism. Other components include curtailing bulk cash smuggling and dismantling fundraising channels. OFAC plays a central role in all of these areas.

YES 20%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 40%

Last updated: 09062008.2002SPR