Seventy percent of governments worldwide fail to protect against corruption in the defense sector, according to a Government-Defense Anti-Corruption Index conducted by Transparency International U.K.'s Defense and Security Program and authorized for publication on Tuesday. The study also found that 50% of the countries do not publish their defense budget or provide only very limited aggregate information.
Eighty-two countries, which accounted for 94% of the global military expenditure in 2011 (equivalent to $1.6 trillion), were analyzed in the study. Countries were scored in groupings ranging from very low risk (A) to critical risk (F), "according to detailed assessment across 77 indicators that cover five prominent risk areas in the sector: politics, finance, personnel, operations, and procurement."
According to the Index, Israel's score places it with 14 other countries in the D+ grouping, signifying a "high risk" of corruption in the defense sector.
Along with Israel in the D+ group were Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, in no particular order.
The study showed that in Israel, institutional machinations exist for the supervision of Defense Ministry conduct, such as the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; but the ministry regularly avoids cooperating fully with such oversight bodies. As a result, the Knesset's influence over the Defense Ministry is limited.
In recent years the government has exhibited a lack of tolerance for civilian organizations (human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations) that publicly criticize the defense establishment. In line with this criticism, the defense budget lacks transparency and there is no readily available information pertaining to classified expenditures or off-budget military spending. None of the evidence, however, raises concerns that organized crime has infiltrated the defense establishment.
Furthermore, it was found that public accusations of senior defense establishment officials suspected of corruption are rare and often pertain to a specific incident. The study also showed that in Israel there is little transparency in regards to civilian and military manpower and that the Israel Defense Forces' code of conduct excludes specific attention to corruption.
With that, the report found that when a defense sector employee is involved in bribery or corruption, he or she is treated with a harsh hand.
Regarding the potential for corruption in the IDF, the Index showed there are no mechanisms in place to deal with corruption as a strategic problem in the military system. However, the Defense Ministry doesn't hire private contractors for matters related to military operations, which lowers the risk of corruption.
The study also pointed to the government's weak defense-related procurement policies. There is no specific legislation pertaining to military spending and information about the procurement process is unavailable to the public.
There are examples of large purchases by the defense ministry made at the IDF's request, but without any testimony or documentation pertaining to the justification of the purchase. Despite this, there are mechanisms in place through which complaints over professional negligence in the field of procurement can be filed.
Meanwhile, only two countries, Germany and Australia, were placed in Group A with a "very low risk" of corruption in the defense sector. The United States, along with Austria, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom were placed in Group B, with a "low risk" for corruption.
Nine countries received the lowest scores (F) and were deemed to be at "critical risk" for corruption: Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen.