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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Strengthen Diplomatic and Program Capabilities


FY 2004-2009 Department of State and USAID Strategic Plan

Management and Organizational Excellence

Ensure a high quality workforce supported by modern and secure infrastructure and operational capabilities.

The fulfillment of the Department's and USAID's joint mission and the achievement of our policy goals are inextricably linked to a foundation of sound management and organizational excellence required by the President's Management Agenda (PMA). This foundation is essential to support the work of America's Embassies, Consulates, and USAID Missions abroad. The Department and USAID share the lead in ensuring a well-qualified, well-trained workforce supported by modern infrastructure and systems that provide the environment and tools to achieve our diplomatic and development goals, worldwide and at each post. Building this foundation will require significant continuing investments in people, systems, business processes, and facilities. This section describes the major priorities needed to achieve management and organizational excellence during the plan period.

The challenge in the coming years will be to implement our shared goals as seamlessly as possible. Our guiding principle is that we should pursue opportunities where the Department and USAID can create more integrated management structures to execute our goals and support our employees. We will reduce redundancies and costs for the taxpayer where possible. We embrace these principles mindful that we remain two separate organizations, with distinct legislative mandates and budgets, often requiring different management structures. We include concrete activities where we hope to explore greater coordination and, in some instances, integration. Our priorities cover five main areas: Human Resources; e-Government; Facilities; Security; and Planning and Resources.

Human Resources: Successful diplomatic activity and development assistance rely on hiring, training, and retaining the highest quality workforce. Our workforce must stay on the cutting edge through professional development and distance learning that fosters the diplomatic, technical, managerial, and leadership skills needed to meet the challenges of the future. We will:

  • Continue the Department's Diplomatic Readiness Initiative. The Diplomatic Readiness Initiative, begun in FY 2002, is a 3-year plan to hire 1,158 additional staff over attrition for the Department to ensure we can respond to crises and emerging priorities, cover staffing gaps, and provide employees appropriate training. The Department will continue to institutionalize improved workforce planning methods such as the Domestic Staffing Model and focus on building a management and planning culture, provide career-long training especially in leadership and management, and ensure quality of life, especially with regard to hardship posts. Where appropriate, the Department and USAID will work to achieve uniformity in personnel practices, including pay levels, covering Foreign Service, Civil Service, Foreign Service Nationals, and other Locally Engaged Staff and to provide opportunities for family members overseas.
  • Launch a USAID Development Readiness Initiative. Increasing requirements for surge capacity to respond to critical new demands while maintaining programs elsewhere are seriously taxing USAID's capabilities given current workforce constraints. Therefore, USAID will develop parallel and complementary human capital strategies to support a Development Readiness Initiative that will ensure the right people at the right time to solve tomorrow's development and humanitarian assistance challenges. This effort may require increases in the total size, as well as the composition, of USAID's workforce. We will continue to rationalize overseas direct-hire staff allocation through a staffing template.
  • Joint Department - USAID training of our employees. Closer alignment of foreign policy and development assistance can only occur if our employees are armed with the professional training needed to carry out our mission. When appropriate, the Department and USAID will collaborate on developing curriculum in shared areas such as management, leadership, and language courses. When possible, the Foreign Service Institute should be the first choice for training of officers and other employees of the U.S. foreign affairs community, including American diplomats and USAID development experts. The Department and USAID will explore a variety of new training methods, including distance-learning opportunities, technology-enabled training, and potential synergies with the Federal E-Training Initiative.
  • Establish formal Department - USAID Cross-Assignments. The critical alignment of U.S. foreign policy and development assistance points to an increased need for the cross-pollination of skillsets across both organizations. Having Department and USAID employees work together in the same office on specific topics, such as HIV/AIDS, will reduce redundancies and encourage greater cooperation. A pilot program will be established to develop a formal detailee exchange program where Department and USAID employees have the opportunity to undertake tours at critical offices in alternative agencies. Both organizations' Human Resource departments will determine how to encourage and reward these cross-assignments.
  • Rightsize and Regionalize the U.S. Government's overseas presence. The Department and USAID will work together with OMB and other U.S. Government agencies to align the number and location of staff assigned overseas with foreign policy priorities, security, and other constraints. Rightsizing may result in the addition or reduction of staff, or a change in the mix of staff at a given Embassy, Consulate, or USAID Mission.
  • Employ competitive sourcing. The Department and USAID's commercial activities will be reviewed continually to ensure the best possible service at the best possible price, regardless of the source. The Department has established an Executive Steering Committee led by the Assistant Secretary for Administration to make strategic and investment decisions for competitive sourcing, align goal activities, resolve policy issues, and track progress in meeting the Department's PMA goals. USAID's Assistant Administrator for Management is represented on the Steering Committee. USAID's Business Transformation Executive Committee (BTEC) will oversee USAID's competitive sourcing activities. Department and USAID staff will participate in each others' committees to facilitate information sharing and to enhance coordination and collaboration whenever possible. These committees also will review the use of contractors across the Department and USAID in order to streamline contracts and minimize duplication and costs.
  • Improve small business procurement. President Bush and the Office of Management and Budget are directing agencies to scrutinize contract needs to ensure small businesses can be partners in performing all federal contract work. We will provide opportunities for small businesses, including minority-serving institutions, and increase their participation in our competitively sourced activities. Each contracting officer in the Department and USAID is charged with improving our performance in this area.
E-Government: The Department and USAID's global operations require secure and modern information technology (IT) to ensure that information is collected, analyzed, communicated, presented, and retained efficiently and effectively. The Department and USAID have the ability to make great progress in IT coordination and integration, not simply because of shared goals, but because of shared global locations. We are committed to implementing the requirements of the Federal E-Government Initiative under the PMA, ensuring broad internal use of Web-based technology and support for electronic interaction with citizens, other government agencies, private businesses, and NGOs. We will:

  • Exploit our recently established infrastructure. We will strengthen our administrative systems and pursue collaborative solutions to Web-base, centralize, and integrate our IT systems. We will base our activities on commercial best practices and standards in deploying and maintaining a centrally managed IT enterprise. A key goal is to merge all Department "sensitive but unclassified" and unclassified networks into OpenNet Plus. We will expand OpenNet Plus and classified network infrastructures (ClassNet) to accommodate USAID's distinct communications requirements. We will continue improvements to our joint IT enterprise to ensure adequate critical infrastructure protection. We will focus on securing modern Department and USAID office automation platforms and tools, global enterprise networks (unclassified and classified), access to information resident on external networks and the Internet, and collaboration with foreign affairs partners, the public, and business.
  • Coordinate IT planning and common use of architecture and infrastructure. The Department and USAID will develop and implement a joint IT Strategic Plan to support our common policy objectives. The Plan will outline joint IT priorities and analyze the feasibility and costs/benefits of integrating technical systems. We will develop and implement a joint Enterprise Architecture to guide both organizations' future IT investments. We will work together to strengthen our IT Capital Planning process and produce consolidated OMB business cases and Exhibit 300 submissions in order to enhance our ability to make joint decisions regarding IT priorities and investments. Finally, we will develop a joint security architecture and a uniform and unified certification and accreditation process.
  • Strengthen core information management systems and collaboration. We will implement one modern messaging system for the Department and USAID headquarters, posts, and missions worldwide. We also will strengthen each organization's knowledge management systems and investigate the feasibility of common enterprise portal technology, and standard IT security solutions for both agencies. We will strengthen each agency's core business and administrative systems and pursue collaborative solutions to integrate our IT systems in such areas as personnel, finance, budget, logistics, and real property to the maximum extent practical. We also will work collectively toward combining decentralized IT servers and related infrastructure into centralized server centers.
  • Consolidate technical and operational support. The Department and USAID hope to achieve economies of scale for overseas IT support and network management through better coordination, streamlined management, and consolidation of operations if appropriate. We will work to increase efficiency and merge network operation centers, help desks, technology upgrades, IT training, technical support, software licensing, and related areas to the maximum extent possible, sensitive to the geographic separation and network capacity limitations facing the Department and USAID facilities.
Facilities: The Department is responsible for building and maintaining the facilities for our 260 diplomatic and consular posts and also owns or maintains facilities in the United States Many of those facilities are in poor condition, overcrowded, and poorly equipped. As a result of efforts begun after the 1998 Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, all Embassies have improved security, but most posts still do not meet essential security standards for setback and blast protection. In some locations, USAID is responsible for separate facilities, although new USAID facilities are included, whenever feasible, in all new Embassy compound construction. USAID rents many of its facilities and, as a result, some maintenance is covered through rental payments. We will:
  • Execute the Long-Range Overseas Buildings Plan. The Department and USAID develop staffing projections and provide those requirements to the Department's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) in support of the long-range overseas buildings plan. The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 requires co-location on new embassy compounds for all personnel under the authority of the Chief of Mission, so USAID facilities needs must be fully integrated with OBO's plans. The Department and USAID will work with Congress and OMB to augment funding for construction of new overseas facilities, ideally through the Capital Security Cost-Sharing Program. The Secretary of State, as the single real property manager for all nonmilitary U.S. Government property overseas, is ultimately responsible for the security of all U.S. Government personnel, and the Department and USAID will work together to address funding requirements to ensure foreign policy may be conducted from secure buildings overseas.
  • Implement Capital Security Cost-Sharing. The Department currently pays the costs for overseas buildings. USAID also has a capital program that pays for some of its capital requirements. We will seek the support of the Congress to allocate to U.S. Government agencies a share of the cost of building the overseas facilities they need to do their work. This will encourage all U.S. Government agencies with staff overseas to pay their fair share of the capital cost of maintaining staff and to take these costs into account when considering placing staff overseas, thus, advancing the goal of rightsizing the overseas presence.
Security: Our plan to execute the Long-Range Overseas Buildings Plan and implement the Capital Security Cost-Sharing Program is intended to improve the security for all employees and operations in countries where new facilities are constructed. However, until all Federal operations work in co-located environments overseas, the Department and USAID will continue to face additional security challenges in areas where crime and political instability are high. In high national priority programs, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, we will undoubtedly subject employees to an even higher level of risk. Close coordination and cooperation between the Department and USAID security professionals will be key to maximizing our effectiveness and determining acceptable levels of security risk versus our ability to operate. We will:

  • Leverage Diplomatic Security (DS) contract support to enhance USAID security. Use DS contracts for armored vehicles, technical equipment, local guards, bodyguards, and other services to the extent possible to minimize separate contracting requirements and maximize efficiency. This includes updating the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and USAID to outline security responsibilities between the two organizations.
  • Enhance worldwide security operations. The Department will recruit and train the cadre of personnel necessary to provide sound and rational security programs to support the Department and USAID overseas programs.
  • Improve protection of soft targets (locations and persons outside diplomatic grounds that may be targets for anti-American violence) and improve personal security. Although improving physical security at overseas buildings is essential, we must also focus on threats to all personnel associated with the Embassy and Consulates, including contractors, as well as organizations and people away from official facilities deemed at risk due to their real or perceived association with American interests. As official building facilities become hardened, we must work jointly to ensure that adequate and appropriate security advice and counsel is provided to all families and program partners overseas, to reduce to the extent possible their vulnerability as "soft targets."
  • Enhance security infrastructure: The Department will implement a global information enterprise that allows timely and accurate exchange of security information to enhance protection of our personnel, information, and facilities overseas.
Planning and Resources: To improve our accountability to the American taxpayers, the Department and USAID will improve our financial performance and integrate budgeting with strategic and performance planning. Our challenge is to move forward together, instead of pursuing this priority area as separate organizations. We will:

  • Integrate financial systems. The Department and USAID will implement a joint financial management system during the Strategic Plan timeframe. Both organizations currently are reviewing elements including software, data standards, account coding structure, fund control policies, accounting and fiscal services, cash management, and financial processing of acquisition and assistance transactions to determine a timetable and resource requirements.
  • Increase budget process transparency. Similar to Foreign Assistance funding reviews, the Department and USAID will institute operations budget review meetings to ensure both organizations understand each other's workforce, technology, and policy programs. With the completion of the new joint strategic goal framework, both organizations will explore developing a joint methodology to allocate resources by strategic goal to better understand how much funding and human resources are devoted to achieving our goals.
  • Integrate annual performance planning. The first-ever joint strategic framework that governs this Strategic Plan offers the Department and USAID a unique opportunity to better coordinate or merge annual planning in the future. Although there is already collaboration in planning at the field level, we will explore utilizing one common tool, such as the Department's automated Mission Performance Plans, to best capture both Embassy and Mission strategic planning. We also will explore the possibility of developing joint Performance Plans at the Department/Agency level.
  • Combine Selected Administrative Support Services. The Department and USAID jointly will review their operations at U.S. diplomatic missions abroad to implement a pilot project in which selected administrative support operations would be combined to reduce costs and/or enhance the quality of services. In some instances, dual providers may still be necessary. The combined service(s) would operate under the agency best able to offer the service through International Cooperative Administrative Support Services to all U.S. Government entities under the Chief of Mission authority.

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