RIGHTSIZING THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OVERSEAS PRESENCE
Fiscal Year 2006 House Appropriations Committee Report Language
The Committee strongly supports interagency efforts to rightsize the overseas presence of the United States Government. The Committee understands the definition of rightsizing to be the systematic and thorough review of all overseas missions and staffing levels and the reallocation of resources to achieve a leaner, streamlined, more agile, and more secure U.S. Government presence abroad. The Committee expects agencies funded in this bill to cooperate fully with all interagency efforts to achieve effective rightsizing.
The 1998 terrorist attacks on two U.S. Embassies in Africa highlighted security deficiencies in diplomatic facilities. The bombings in Saudi Arabia, the assassination of a USAID employee in Jordan, and the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya underscore continued threats against U.S. personnel overseas. The attacks on the American Embassies in Africa prompted the creation of the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel, which proposed significant recommendations regarding rightsizing that have subsequently been embraced by this Committee, and included in the President's Management Agenda. In addition, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has studied rightsizing the Nation's overseas presence. The GAO reports found that U.S. agencies' staffing projections for new embassy compounds are developed without a systematic approach or comprehensive rightsizing analysis. In response, the GAO developed a framework of questions designed to link staffing levels to three critical elements of overseas diplomatic operations: (1) physical/technical security of facilities and employees; (2) mission priorities and requirements; and (3) cost of operations. In light of continuing security vulnerability, the Committee intends to ensure that such a framework is established and followed.
The Committee expects that the fiscal year 2007 budget request will continue to reflect the application of a rightsizing methodology. Increases or expansions should be justified in terms of mission priorities both within the agency, and within the specific diplomatic mission, and should be, to the maximum extent possible, accompanied by offsetting decreases to maximize the allocation of scarce resources to emerging priorities. A proper plan should include a systematic analysis to bring about a reconfiguration of overseas staffing to the minimum level necessary to meet critical U.S. foreign policy goals. The Committee expects to receive this additional analysis prior to the establishment or expansion of any activities beyond those currently approved.
Fiscal Year 2006 Legislative Language
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR PROGRAMS
Rightsizing the U.S. Government Presence Overseas--The Committee continues to define rightsizing as the reconfiguration of overseas U.S. Government staff to the number necessary to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals. The Committee is convinced, and agrees with the recommendation of the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel, that rationalizing staffing and operations abroad has the potential for significant budgetary savings. It costs two to three times as much to maintain an employee outside of the United States as it does within the United States. The notion of rightsizing as a desirable means to improve security and gain efficiencies implies that the current number of overseas staff in some locations is greater than the minimum number necessary, and that the presence of a number greater than the minimum number presents an unnecessary and unacceptable financial and security burden. Given the security requirements for the U.S. mission in Iraq, the Committee strongly urges the Department to use the most stringent criteria for determining staffing levels. As part of the overall rightsizing function, the Committee encourages the Department to review the ICASS system and fully explore how ICASS can contribute to rightsizing efforts. The Committee recommendation continues funding for the Office on Rightsizing the United States Government Overseas Presence.
Fiscal Year 2006 Legislative Language
EMBASSY SECURITY, CONSTRUCTION, AND MAINTENANCE
The Committee recommends a total appropriation of $1,513,710,000 for Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance. This amount is $10,066,000 above the amount available in fiscal year 2005 (excluding supplemental appropriations) and $12,290,000 below the budget request. The recommendation designates $910,200,000 as available only for priority worldwide security upgrades, acquisition, and construction, the full amount requested for such activities. The recommendation includes $603,510,000 for non-security related costs, which is the same as the amount provided in fiscal year 2005 and $12,290,000 below the budget request.
This account provides funds to manage U.S. Government real property overseas and maintain Government-owned and long-term leased properties at approximately 260 posts, and to lease office and functional facilities and residential units, not only for the Department of State, but also for all U.S. employees overseas.
Worldwide Security Upgrades--The Committee recommendation includes $910,200,000 for security projects, the full amount requested and an increase of $10,066,000 over the fiscal year 2005 level, to continue the capital security program of constructing new secure replacement facilities for the Department's most vulnerable embassies and consulates and providing additional security measures and upgrades. The Committee expects that projects undertaken under this program will address the security of the highest priority facilities. In previous fiscal years, the Department has proposed to reprogram funds under this activity for projects that do not address top priority security vulnerabilities and for projects that will not result, when complete, in a facility that meets existing security standards. The Committee expects that worldwide security funds will be used only for projects that meet these specifications. The Committee recommendation will support the construction of an estimated nine new embassy compounds, four United States Agency for International Development (USAID) buildings on secure embassy compounds, the design of an additional new embassy compound, and the acquisition of a number of secure sites for future embassy compound construction. The Committee notes that funding provided under this heading for USAID facilities is expected to be supplemented by USAID contributions through the Capital Security Cost Sharing Program, which is discussed in more detail below.
The Committee recommendation also includes $100,000,000, the amount requested, to continue the compound security upgrade program. The Committee understands that this program includes the installation of forced entry/ballistic resistant roof hatches, vault doors and power-assisted vehicle barriers, and other similar measures. The Committee expects that this funding will also provide physical security improvements to residential compounds and other locations where American citizens gather. Priority should be given to residential and compound security.
The Committee expects that a proposed spending plan for the entire amount of available resources for worldwide security upgrades will be submitted through the normal reprogramming process within 60 days of the date of enactment of this Act. The Department shall notify the Committee immediately if there are any facilities that the Department believes face serious security risks.
The Committee continues to support the Capital Security Cost Sharing Program. Under this program, all agencies that have staff overseas under Chief of Mission authority pay a fair share of urgent, security-driven capital projects undertaken to replace embassies and consulates at the most vulnerable posts. The goals of this program are twofold. First, the program accelerates the replacement of unsafe, unsecured and outdated diplomatic facilities that are used overseas by U.S. Government agencies. This is planned as a 14-year, $17,500,000,000 program to replace 150 vulnerable embassy and consulate facilities with new compounds that fully comply with statutory security requirements. Second, the program will create incentives within all government departments and agencies to scrutinize and 'rightsize' their overseas presence to avoid unnecessary costs and security risks. Each agency with staff overseas under Chief of Mission authority has, built into their fiscal year 2006 budget request, an annual contribution towards construction of new secure diplomatic facilities based on the number of positions overseas and the type of space occupied. These contributions do not take the place of State Department contributions, which are also growing, but create a larger, shared funding pool to accelerate replacement.
The recommendation assumes a total program level of $1,013,300,000 in fiscal year 2006 for Capital Security Construction, including $810,200,000 under this account, and $203,100,000 from non-State agencies, based on positions worldwide. Of this total, the additional amount generated by the Capital Security Cost Sharing program is $596,716,000; which consists of $393,616,000 from the State Department that is included in the recommendation under this account, and $203,000,000 from non-state agencies. The Committee understands that there is an anticipated five-year phase-in period for the program, wherein the total Government-wide amount grows from $1,013,300,000 in fiscal year 2006 to $1,400,000,000, then remains at that level for the next 8 years. The Committee further understands that the program will include agency involvement in setting priorities and in other aspects of the development of new embassy compounds. The Committee believes that the establishment of strong interagency coordination and cooperation will be critical to achievement of program goals and encourages the Department and the Administration to ensure that the management of this program is inclusive, cooperative and transparent.
The Committee recommendation provides $603,510,000 for operations and maintenance activities, which is $12,290,000 below the request, and the same as the current year level. The Committee notes that the requested amount included $22,356,000 in program increases. The Committee recommendation also includes $8,609,000 for headquarters operations. The Committee directs the Department to prioritize requested funding increases and to specifically identify amounts above current services in a comprehensive spending plan to be submitted no later than 60 days after enactment of this Act.
Assets Management--The budget request designates $107,052,000 in assets management funds planned for obligation in fiscal year 2006. The Committee expects that these funds will be used for opportunity purchases to replace uneconomical leases and for other priority capital acquisition purposes. In addition, as in previous years, the Committee expects that assets management funds will continue to be allocated in part to security construction needs. Any use of these or additional assets management funds in fiscal year 2006 is subject to reprogramming. In addition, with respect to the requirement that a reprogramming for any major new start be submitted, the Committee understands that requirement to mean that any rehabilitation or construction projects involving an ambassador's residence will be subject to the requirement. In addition to regular reporting provided to the Committee on acquisition and disposal of overseas property, the Department shall submit a report to the Committee by November 11, 2005, listing all properties disposed of, or in process for disposal, along with associated actual or anticipated proceeds of sale, at posts which have had funding approved for the construction of a new secure compound in, or after, fiscal year 1999.
The recommendation continues language carried in the bill in previous years that prohibits funds from being used for acquisition of furniture and furnishings and generators for other departments and agencies.
The Committee commends the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) for continuing its internal management innovations to increase performance and accountability, to streamline operations, and to control costs. Recognizing that the increased complexity of a growing program of construction, real estate, operations/maintenance, and planning activities requires greater technological and information systems integration, the Committee encourages OBO to pursue development of integrated building management systems. Such technology upgrades to integrate disparate legacy systems will protect the large and continuing investment of taxpayer resources in overseas properties and those who occupy them. The Committee has provided sufficient resources to support this effort.
The Committee expects that new embassy projects advanced by the Department will have been properly planned and rightsized, with regional considerations, projecting anticipated needs and requirements by the date submitted to Congress. In rare circumstances where global conditions dictate a significant change in requirements after Congress has approved funding for a specific project, the Department should be proactive in informing Congress and requesting any additional funding without risking execution of projects already approved. The Committee directs the Department to execute the new embassy compound as planned for Khartoum, Sudan within the $76,100,000 appropriated in fiscal year 2005. Any changes to requirements, including follow-on requirements, either for an enlarged mission in Khartoum or for any change in staffing in the region, should be communicated to this Committee within 120 days of enactment, including a re-prioritized ranking of other posts within the region for which project funding would be deferred in favor of these new requirements.
Rightsizing the U.S. Government Overseas Presence--The Committee directs the Office of Overseas Buildings Operation to work closely with the Office on Rightsizing the U.S. Government Overseas Presence to ensure that projected staffing levels for new embassy compounds are prepared in a disciplined and realistic manner and that these estimates become a basis for determining the size, configuration and budget of new embassy compound construction projects. The justification for all facilities projects funded under this account must include a full explanation of regional efficiency and security planning, and related staffing assumptions. Such projects will not be approved for funding absent evidence of the application of a uniform rightsizing methodology.