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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

12. American Citizens


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Support U.S. citizens abroad and those concerned about them in the United States

The tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing worldwide campaign against terrorism demonstrated the critical importance of the Department's core mission to protect American citizens abroad.  The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) provided immediate and continuing assistance to New York City officials dealing with the cases of foreigners killed in the World Trade Center.  CA also staffed several Department task forces with personnel trained in crisis management to deal with issues affecting overseas Americans.  CA also coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other relevant agencies to ensure that Americans abroad were kept apprised of the anthrax threat. 

Throughout the year, the Department continued its efforts to keep Americans apprised of information that may affect their safety and security overseas.  Civil unrest in Indonesia, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and Macedonia; terrorist threats to U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world; violent demonstrations at international conferences in Canada, Italy, and elsewhere; kidnappings in Colombia and the Philippines; earthquakes and hurricanes; as well as the aftermath of the horrific September 11 events kept us extremely busy.  Our efforts were devoted in large part to ensuring that our posts' warden systems were up-to-date, that accurate information was available, consistent with U.S. Government domestic information and conveyed to the American public overseas in a factual but nonalarmist manner.

Our Consular Information Program continues to be instrumental in providing Americans worldwide with information concerning upcoming events and potential threats to their safety.  It is also a tool by which the Department can dispel rumors and evoke a measured, informed response by the public.  With access to technology becoming more prevalent and due to significant outreach efforts by the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA), we have seen a steady increase in the number of visits to the consular Web site (travel.state.gov).

The Web site received 117.9 million hits, 30.7 million more than in FY '00. The average day in FY '01 saw over 324,000 hits as opposed to 240,000 in FY '00.  The daily level of hits, which reached as high as 653,550 in January, declined after February as interest in international travel lessened due to the economic downturn, but climbed again after September 11, as concern about safety abroad rose.  The site received 3 million hits in the week after September 11, compared to 1.5 million in the preceding 7days.  Ninety percent of users surveyed found the Web site helpful.  In January, a new and improved version of the Passport Acceptance Facility Database became available to our on-line customers.  The database's search engine allows customers to locate the nearest passport acceptance facility within seconds of entering a ZIP Code. 

Thanks to the efforts of Passport staff, major U.S. airlines and numerous on‑line travel industry resources added Internet "hotlinks" from their Web sites to travel.state.gov. We added a "Travel Agent Information" section to the Web site, enhancing communication to the people who are often the most direct link to our customers.  These efforts contributed to a 90 percent increase in monthly "hits" on the Passport Services home page. Visitors to the Web site can register to receive updated passport information, such as changes in application requirements or fees, by e-mail. We also added a section on the new V and K visas.

We issued a Request for Proposal to establish a Consular Contact Center to handle citizens' services, passport, and visa public information programs. The contact center will serve as an adjunct to our Web site in our effort to respond efficiently to public inquiries.  By diverting the routine inquiries that represent the bulk of the telephone calls received by consular officers in the United States and abroad, it will give case officers more time to dedicate to individual cases that require an officer's attention. CA drafted scripts for contact center operators and posted them on Intranet, where posts were urged to review them and supplement them with post-specific information. 

In March, CA launched an expanded series of regional meetings with stakeholder groups to inform them about consular services available to the traveling public, to share information designed to keep Americans safe abroad, and to answer their questions about passports, visas, and assistance to Americans abroad.  We held the first regional briefings in the fall. We organized 69 briefings for congressional staff, international student program directors, students, business and community leaders, travel agents, medical assistance companies, immigration officials, police officers, and parents whose children have been taken abroad by the other parent, and participated in three travel fairs.

State does an annual mailing and press release targeting college students planning foreign travel, particularly for spring break, advising them about risks involved in drugs, alcohol, and disorderly behavior. Some young people are caught off-guard by unfamiliar surroundings and differences in local practices. Our experience has shown that alerting U.S. travelers to a few common-sense precautions will help them avoid unpleasant and sometimes dangerous situations.  This year, we coordinated our education campaign with posts in Mexico, and issued a special press release aimed at the more than 100,000 American teenagers and young adults who travel to Cancun for spring break each year. The U.S. Customs Service, INS, and Agriculture Department joined in the effort and distributed fliers to vacationers crossing into Mexico.  We also began efforts to reach younger students by writing to the State Education Commissioners.

To improve assistance to Americans in areas where there is no nearby Embassy or Consulate, we opened a new consular agency in Galapagos, and approved new consular agencies in Mexico (4) and in Tahiti. We also resumed full consular services at the U.S. Embassies in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and Skopje, FYROM. CA provided more than $22 million in MRV funds to keep our consular sections functioning.

Data from the American Citizens Service (ACS) system (including U.S. passports) at all consular posts worldwide is now transmitted in near-real time to a Consolidated Consular Database in Washington. This data is then available via a web interface to Washington and consular managers. We made up-to-date guidance and reference materials (including consular policy guides and training manuals) available to consular personnel via the Intranet.  We also used the Intranet to facilitate long-distance interaction between posts and Washington. These improvements enable consular officers to provide service more quickly to Americans abroad.

In FY '01, we deployed the Crisis Management module for use by the domestic task force staff to improve our service to Americans during crisis events. CA had installed its new CRISIS program on computers in the Operations Center prior to September 11.  Within a few days, CA had set up additional Task Force sites in the consular systems training room and CA conference room.  Running up to three training sessions per day, CA had soon trained 250 employees on the use of the new system.

The latest ACS release includes improvements to arrest services, and the reporting functionality is facilitated through establishment of the Consular Consolidated Database.  We piloted a Consular Lost and Stolen Passport database and improvements to the ACS system.  Deployment worldwide will follow in FY '02.

While still undergoing improvements to our computer programs, we initiated several efforts to track information concerning the well being of Americans overseas. While software improvements are underway, we have used Access programs to serve our needs.  This has allowed management to obtain an overall picture of the mistreatment of Americans incarcerated overseas and to share that information with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.  Further, this tracking has aided us in identifying problems of delayed notification of arrest and access to Americans arrested abroad.  Having established some baseline data, we should now be able to see whether our efforts to counter these breaches on the broader scale have been effective or whether additional steps need to be taken. 

U.S. compliance with the consular notification and access requirements of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and 165 bilateral consular conventions is essential to the international credibility of the United States as we seek to protect Americans abroad and to defense of litigation in U.S. and international courts.  The transfer of State's consular notification program from the Office of the Legal Adviser (L) to CA in 2001 allows State to devote additional resources to improving nationwide compliance with requirements of the treaties.  L and CA, often in coordination with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Protocol, and Office of Foreign Missions, engaged in efforts to educate state and local law enforcement and criminal justice personnel about their responsibilities for consular notification and access, and established liaison relationships with the states. We also worked closely with the Department of Justice and other Federal agencies to ensure that their staffs are fully aware of consular notification and access requirements and established channels of communications with foreign consular officials in the United States.

In FY '01, there were 4 Consular Corps briefings on consular notification, 11 law enforcement seminars, and 3 meetings with state and local officials. We sent 13,618 copies of our 72-page instructional booklet on consular notification and access to all 50 states, plus D.C. and Guam, and distributed 61,228 Pocket Cards summarizing the consular notification requirements. We began distributing an 11-minute video as a tool to educate government officials at all levels about the requirements.  Fifty-nine copies were sent to 12 states.  Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, we worked with the Department of Justice (FBI and INS) to address concerns raised by foreign embassies regarding the large number of aliens detained on a variety of charges.

We have begun the process of tracking the manner of death of Americans who die overseas.  Although some pitfalls remain in this area, we believe we will be able to track statistical information on the manner of death and to share that information publicly through our Web site as supplemental to that already contained in our Consular Information Program documents.  This endeavor is in response to requests from the public and Congress for additional information on deaths of Americans overseas by year and country.  Other work performed by American Citizen Services, such as judicial assistance and loss of nationality, is being tracked using these systems and has helped ensure a proper turnaround as well as the ability to report on the status of a particular case at any given time.

The Office of American Citizens Services was the subject of two Inspector General inspections and one GAO review during FY '01.  First, the OIG and GAO conducted reviews of the Office's role with regard to Overseas Voting Assistance for Private Americans.  The Department assists the Department of Defense (DOD) in providing voter assistance to private Americans overseas who wish to vote absentee.  The Department's program shares information developed by DOD on the procedures of the 50 states with regard to voting absentee, the deadlines for registration in the local and Federal elections as well as information on the elections and the candidates.  Our Missions abroad conduct voter outreach and provide assistance to individuals who wish to register and vote absentee. 

As FY '01 opened, the Department's Voting Assistance Program was busy responding to last‑minute queries from Voting Assistance Officers abroad prior to the 2000 general election.  In early 2001, the General Accounting Office and the Department's Inspector General undertook extensive reviews of the Program.  While they concluded that we did a fairly good job of assisting voters abroad, they felt that additional training of our personnel, outreach to the public, and oversight of our missions would be beneficial.  By the close of FY '01, our Chief Voting Action Officer and his staff had developed an action plan that called for an early start to our 2002 voting outreach efforts, expanded training and program direction, greater outreach to voting volunteers and American expatriate communities worldwide, and compilation and dissemination of updated program requirements and guidance through the Department's Intranet and Foreign Affairs Manual.  In addition to our Intranet site, which serves as a bulletin board for sharing DOD information and DOS instructions to posts on voting assistance, we have established a global e‑mail link with Voting Assistance Officers and their assistants at every U.S. Embassy and Consulate worldwide.  Working with DOD, we are looking to further expand our outreach, training, and general oversight in this arena.

The OIG inspection of the Office of American Citizens Services concluded in FY '01, but the final report has not been issued as of this date.  We understand there is a general view of the need for increased training of ACS officers, particularly new officers, and a need for instructions and guidance to be readily available for these officers.  We have already instituted a program whereby each officer maintains a Standard Operating Procedures book with standard instructions and guidance provided by management on the full range of issues confronting the office.  Informational and instruction cables sent to our Missions worldwide are now available on the Intranet so as to be readily available to our officers in Washington as well as overseas.  We are also looking to contract out for help in updating the American Citizens Services segments of our Foreign Affairs Manuals.

CA and posts abroad handled nearly 1,200 parental abduction and prevention cases.  The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs led a U.S. delegation, which included members of the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague abduction convention, the Department of Justice, federal and state judges, practitioners, and attorneys, at the March 2001 Special Commission on the Practical Operation of The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  The U.S./German bilateral working group on international parental child abduction met 3 times, which has resulted in improved access and return orders in new cases, and more German involvement in longstanding cases in Germany.  CA conducted a successful test phase of the U.S. Government comprehensive case management tracking system for international parental child abduction cases. CA deployed the International Parental Child Abduction application module to the Office of Children's Issues to improve their ability to track abduction cases and to work with other agencies to resolve them.

We began the process of implementing the Inter-country Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), enacted on October 6, 2000.  We hired a contractor to provide proposed regulations and a statement of work to implement the IAA and, through the contractor, held two public meetings to discuss draft proposed regulations.  CA's Office of Children's Issues led the U.S. delegation to the November 2000 The Hague Special Commission on the Practical Operation of The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co‑Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.  CA and INS coordinated efforts to create an adoption tracking system.  We issued more than 19,500 visas worldwide to children being adopted from abroad.

We worked to secure enactment of legislation signed on October 30, 2000, that gives automatic citizenship to foreign‑born adopted children and provided guidance to Passport Agencies and posts abroad on implementing the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Timely and effective passport issuance, with document integrity assured
In FY '01, the domestic passport agencies issued 7.1 million passports.  The demand for passports was lower than the 7.6 million applications projected because of the downturn in the economy, terrorism in the Middle East, and the aftereffects of September 11.

The average wait time for in-person applications in 2001 was within a respectable range of 25 to 46 minutes.  However, at our busiest agencies, wait times during peak periods sometimes exceeded 2 hours.    

Our target for completing routine applications is 25 business days. Our work on hand during the three busiest months averaged 3.1 weeks. We issued 1.9 million passports (27% of the total) within 3 days of receiving the applications.  In 2002, we plan to centralize processing of routine passport applications in our two large "mega centers" to improve further the timeliness and efficiency of our service. 

A primary reason for progress in service levels was our success in adding passport staff.  The number of people on board at the end of the year was 17% higher than the previous year.  This was a major reason that the number of overtime hours worked decreased by almost 80% from the previous record year.  Adequate time away from work is important for our employees' morale, as well as for the quality and accuracy of their work.

We have also received much positive feedback from staff on training provided last year.  Passport employees enrolled in more than 500 individual courses.  We also scheduled on-site training, which enabled us to meet our goal of training 40% of our staff during 2001.

We continued to use technology to enhance both the security and efficiency of our operations:

We installed the new photodigitization passport issuance system at four additional domestic passport-issuing offices, bringing the total using the new system in FY '01 to 14 offices covering over 93% of passport workload.  By December 2001, all passports issued by the domestic passport agencies will incorporate the use of printed digital photos and related security devices resulting in greatly improved passport security.  We began to research ways to efficiently bring this new technology to passports applicants abroad. 

We completed implementation of PFMWeb, which provides personnel with direct electronic access to full-color digital images of passport records stored in Washington.  The system is an invaluable tool that permits exchange of this information directly to a user's desktop for use in lost/stolen passport cases, emergencies involving American citizens, and other critical passport-related cases.

We implemented the Passport Lookout Tracking System (PLOTS).   PLOTS, available on the Intranet, contains roughly 100,000 fraud files and is designed to virtually replicate fraud files in real-time to any authorized user. 

Passport Services also completed software to deploy the Consular Lost and Stolen Passport (CLASP) database system allowing posts abroad to enter losses and thefts of U.S. passports.  The purpose is to develop a consolidated database of lost and stolen passports and provide that information on a timely basis to the U.S. Customs Service for inclusion in the Treasury Enforcement Control System for use at U.S. borders. Since September 11, we are intensifying efforts to improve electronic data sharing with the other border security agencies (Customs, INS, and APHIS in the Department of Agriculture).

In January 2001, a new and improved version of the Passport Acceptance Facility Database became available to our on-line customers.  The database's search engine allows customers to locate the nearest passport acceptance facility within seconds of entering their ZIP Code. 

In FY '01, 352 post offices, libraries, and other state and local government offices signed up to accept passport applications, with a growing number also offering the option of on-site passport photos. Passport Services also revised the Passport Agent's Reference Guide to keep the more than 5,300 passport‑application acceptance facilities advised of changes in policy and procedure. Passport Services received an award from the National Partnership for Reinventing Government for working with the U.S. Postal Service to increase the number of conveniently located places to apply for passports.

Passport Services assisted more than a dozen foreign countries in their efforts to improve their national passports and/or their internal controls over passport issuance.  This has a direct and beneficial effect on the U.S. visa process as well as U.S. border security since improved passports are harder to alter and counterfeit.

In a further effort to ensure the integrity of the U.S. passport, CA will introduce facial recognition technology into the passport adjudication process and develop systems to ensure that U.S. passports are not issued to persons of concern to law enforcement. We will also work with the FBI to create a new passport lookout category for the Consular Lookout and Support System to contain names of all U.S. citizen victims of September 11. This will help prevent identity theft facilitated by the flood of information now in the public domain about the victims.

National Interest
American Citizens and U.S. Borders
Performance Goal #
AC-01
Strategic Goal

Protect the safety and security of American citizens who travel and live abroad.

Outcome Desired

U.S. citizens will have the information, services, and protection they need to travel or reside abroad.

Performance Goal

Support U.S. citizens abroad and those concerned about them in the United States

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01

Throughout the year, we kept Americans apprised of information that may affect their safety and security overseas and assisted them when they needed help. Civil unrest in Indonesia, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and Macedonia; terrorist threats to U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world; violent demonstrations at international conferences in Canada, Italy, and elsewhere; kidnappings in Colombia and the Philippines; earthquakes and hurricanes kept us very busy. To improve assistance to Americans in areas with no nearby Embassy or Consulate, we opened a consular agency in the Galapagos Islands. We resumed full consular services in Belgrade and Skopje.

 

Our efforts were devoted in large part to ensuring that our posts' systems for contacting Americans abroad in a crisis were up-to-date and that accurate information was available, consistent with U.S. domestic information, and conveyed in a factual but nonalarmist manner. We trained 250 employees on the use of a new Crisis Management System for use by task forces to improve service to Americans during crises. Following September 11, we provided assistance to New York City officials dealing with the deaths of foreigners in the World Trade Center and helped Americans stranded abroad by the closure of U.S. air space.

 

Our Consular Information Program was instrumental in providing Americans worldwide with information concerning upcoming events and potential threats to their safety. We issued 65 Travel Warnings, 120 Public Announcements, and 189 Consular Information Sheets. Domestically, we held 69 briefings for stakeholder groups, including international student program participants, travel agents, business and community leaders, medical assistance companies, immigration officials, police officers, and parents whose children were taken abroad by the other parent. Posts abroad met extensively with local Americans.

 

We handled approximately 1,200 parental abduction and prevention cases. Assistant Secretary Ryan led the U.S. delegation to the March 2001 Special Commission on the Practical Operation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The U.S./German bilateral working group on international parental child abduction (IPCA) met 3 times, resulting in improved access and return orders in new cases, and more German involvement in long-standing cases. We deployed an IPCA module to the Office of Children's Issues to improve their ability to track abduction cases and to work with other agencies to resolve them.

 

Data from the American Citizens Service (ACS) system (including U.S. passports) at all consular posts worldwide is now transmitted in near-real time to a Consolidated Consular Database (CCD) in Washington and available via a Web interface to Washington, D.C., and consular managers. The latest ACS release includes improvements to arrest services, and the reporting functionality is facilitated through establishment of the CCD. We piloted a Consular Lost and Stolen Passport database.

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01

We started the process of implementing the Inter-country Adoption Act of 2000 by hiring a contractor to provide proposed regulations and held two public meetings to discuss draft regulations. Coordinating with INS, we began work on a system to track adoptions. We participated in the November 2000 Hague Special Commission on the Practical Operation of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co‑Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. We issued more than 19,500 visas worldwide to children being adopted from abroad. We worked to secure enactment of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, giving automatic citizenship to foreign‑born adopted children, and provided guidance to the field.

 

In order to improve U.S. compliance with the consular notification and access requirements of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and 165 bilateral consular conventions, which is essential to the international credibility of the United States as we seek to protect Americans abroad, we engaged in extensive outreach. We held 4 Consular Corps briefings, 11 law enforcement seminars, and 3 meetings with state and local officials. We sent 13,618 copies of our 72-page instructional booklet on consular notification and access to all 50 states, plus D.C., and Guam, and distributed 61,228 Pocket Cards summarizing the notification requirements. We began distributing an 11-minute video as a tool to educate government officials about the requirements. Fifty-nine copies were sent to 12 states. Following September 11, we worked with the Department of Justice to address concerns raised by foreign embassies regarding the large number of aliens detained on a variety of charges.

 

The OIG and GAO conducted reviews of the Overseas Voting Program in which the State Department assists the Department of Defense in providing voter assistance to Americans overseas who wish to vote absentee. The reviews concluded that we did a fairly good job of assisting voters abroad, but that additional training of our personnel, outreach to the public, and oversight of our Missions would be beneficial. Subsequently, we developed an action plan that calls for an early start to our 2002 voting outreach efforts, expanded training and program direction, greater outreach to voting volunteers and American expatriate communities worldwide, and compilation and dissemination of updated program requirements and guidance through the Department's Intranet and Foreign Affairs Manual. In addition to our Intranet site, which serves as a bulletin board for sharing Department of Defense information and Department of State instructions to posts on voting assistance, we have established a global e‑mail link with voting assistance officers and their assistants at every U.S. Mission.  Working with Department of Defense, we are looking to further expand our outreach, training and general oversight in this arena.

 


Performance Indicator

FY '99 Baseline

FY '00 Actual

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Accuracy and availability of Consular information

CA's Web site received 55.7 million hits in FY '99 (30 million more than in FY '98), averaging 147,821 per day. Web site featured new sections on student safety abroad and crisis awareness, preparedness, and response. Web site received "best of the Web" kudos from Ask Jeeves (Silver Platter Site) and GovSpot (Spotlight Award).  Web site promoted as the best place to obtain consular information and an authoritative source of travel safety information. Planning for call center began.

CA's Web site averaged almost 240,000 hits per day (87.2M in FY '00); 90% of users found information helpful; added section on road safety abroad.  One of 16 "Best Feds on the Web" (Government Executive).  Issued 40 Travel Warnings, 138 Public Announcements, and 150 Consular Information Sheets.

Successful:

CA's Web site accommodates 230,000 hits per day. Additional features and updates added as defined by customer needs.

 

Minimally Effective:

CA's Web site accommodates fewer than 230,000 hits per day.

 

CA's Web site averaged 324,226 hits per day (117,990,124 in FY '01). Ninety percent of users found information helpful. We added a Passport Acceptance Facility Database searchable by ZIP Code to help customers locate the nearest place to apply for a passport. We also added a section on the new V and K visas.  We issued 65 Travel Warnings, 120 Public Announcements, and 189 Consular Information Sheets. We issued a Request for Proposal to establish a Consular Contact Center to handle citizens' services, passport, and visa public information programs. We drafted scripts for contact center operators and posted them on the Intranet, where posts reviewed them and supplemented them with post-specific information.

Verification

Source: AccessWatch usage statistics for travel.state.gov

Storage: AccessWatch

Validation: AccessWatch; American Customer Satisfaction Index.


Performance Indicator

FY '99 Baseline

FY '00 Actual

FY '01 Target
FY '01 Actual

Availability of automated case-tracking information

 

 

Data exist, but systems lack ability to track trends or report.

 

The ACS system in OCS and all operating consular sections made a successful transition to Year 2000.  Sixty additional posts began replicating data to and from Washington. Thirty-seven overseas posts gained electronic access to passport issuance information.  Initial work on identifying user needs completed.

 

Successful:

Requirements analysis/definition and software development for systems to track international parental child abduction cases and international adoption cases begins.

American Citizens Services (ACS) system is modified to easily capture and report information on mistreatment of and access to arrested Americans.

 

Minimally Effective:

Requirements analysis/definition for systems to track international abduction and adoption cases begins.

Requirements analysis/definition for system modifications to track mistreatment of and access to arrested Americans begins as data is tracked manually.

The International Parental Child Abduction application module was deployed. CA conducted a successful test phase of the U.S. Government comprehensive case management tracking system for international parental child abduction cases. CA and INS coordinated efforts to create an inter-agency adoption tracking system. Requirements analysis/validation and development of a system design concept for the adoptions tracking system began. Data from the American Citizens Service (ACS) system (including U.S. passports) at all consular posts worldwide is now transmitted in near-real time to a Consolidated Consular Database (CCD) in Washington, D.C. This data is then available via a Web interface to Washington and consular managers. The latest ACS release includes improvements to arrest services, and the reporting functionality is facilitated through establishment of the CCD. CA has used Access programs to obtain an overall picture of the mistreatment of Americans incarcerated overseas and to share that information with DRL. We have begun the process of tracking the manner of death of Americans who die overseas. We deployed the Crisis Management module for use by the domestic task force staff to improve our service to Americans during crises. We piloted a Consular Lost and Stolen Passport database.


Verification

Source:  Project management milestones

Storage:  Systems project plan

Validation:  Testing and review by users and project team and independent verification review


Countries

Worldwide

Lead Agency

Department of State/ CA

Partners

Department of State:  Overseas Missions, Regional Bureaus, FSI, DS, S/CT, PA, S-S/O, HR, L, H, M, FMP, OBO, A, INR, IM
Non-Department of State:  Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, nongovernmental organizations


National Interest
American Citizens and U.S. Borders
Performance Goal #
AC-02
Strategic Goal

Protect the safety and security of American citizens who travel and live abroad.

Outcome Desired

A travel document that meets or exceeds international standards and is issued within 25 business days of the receipt of a properly completed passport application.

Performance Goal

Timely and effective passport issuance, with document integrity assured.

FY '01 RESULTS AS OF 9/30/01

In FY '01, the domestic passport agencies issued 7.1 million passports. Overseas posts issued another 250,000 passports. The demand for passports was lower than the 7.6 million applications projected because of the downturn in the economy, terrorism in the Middle East, and the aftereffects of September 11.

 

We made the application process easier for passport customers by enhancing our Web site with a database searchable by ZIP Code to help them locate the nearest place to apply for a passport and signing up an additional 352 post offices, libraries, and other state and local government offices to accept applications. The average wait for in‑person applications at passport agencies was 25-46 minutes. Our work on hand domestically during the 3 busiest months averaged 3.1 weeks, with the target being no more than 5 weeks. We issued 1.9 million passports (27 percent of the total) within 3 days of the receipt of the applications at domestic facilities. A primary reason for progress in service levels was our success in adding staff. The number of passport personnel at year's end was 17 percent higher than the previous year. Overtime hours worked decreased by almost 80 percent from the previous record year. Adequate time away from work is important for employees' morale, as well as for the quality and accuracy of their work. Passport employees enrolled in more than 500 individual training courses. We also scheduled on‑site training, which enabled us to meet our goal of training 40 percent of passport staff in 2001.

 

We continued to use technology to enhance both the security and efficiency of passport operations. We installed the new photodigitization passport issuance system at 4 additional domestic passport-issuing offices, bringing the total using the new system in FY '01 to 14 offices covering over 93 percent of passport workload. The Washington and Chicago passport agencies were in the process of converting to the new technology, and by December 2001 all passports issued by the domestic passport agencies incorporated the use of printed digital photos and related security devices resulting in greatly improved passport security. We began to research ways to efficiently bring this new technology to overseas issuances. We completed implementation of PFMWeb, which provides employees with desktop electronic access to digital images of passport records stored in Washington, D.C. We implemented the Passport Lookout Tracking System, which is designed to virtually replicate roughly 100,000 fraud files in real-time to any authorized user. We completed software to deploy the Consular Lost and Stolen Passport (CLASP) database system allowing posts abroad to enter losses and thefts of U.S. passports. Since September 11, we have intensified efforts to improve electronic data sharing with other border security agencies. We assisted more than a dozen foreign countries in their efforts to improve their national passports and/or their internal controls over passport issuance. This has a direct and beneficial effect on the U.S. visa process as well as U.S. border security since improved passports are harder to alter and counterfeit.

 

In 2002, we plan to centralize processing of routine passport applications in our two "mega centers" to improve further the timeliness and efficiency of our service. In a further effort to ensure the integrity of the U.S. passport, we will introduce facial recognition technology into the passport adjudication process and develop systems to ensure that U.S. passports are not issued to persons of concern to law enforcement. We will also work with the FBI to create a new passport lookout category for the Consular Lookout and Support System to contain names of all U.S. citizen victims of September 11. This will help prevent identity theft facilitated by the flood of information now in the public domain about the victims.


Performance Indicator

FY '99 Baseline

FY '00 Actual

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Passport applications

 

6.7 million passports issued

7.3 million passports issued

7.6 million passports issued

7.4 million passports issued

 

Verification

Source:  Department of State/CA's corporate data base and posts abroad

Storage:  CA's corporate data base and posts abroad

Validation:  CA

Performance Indicator

FY '99 Baseline

FY '00 Actual

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Status of passport photodigitization

 

Introduction of passports with digital photographs at National Passport Center (NPC) and New Orleans Passport Agency (45 percent of domestic passport production of 6.7 million).

System for issuing passports with digital photographs installed at 4 additional passport-issuing offices, bringing total using new system to 6 offices covering over 70 percent of passport workload. Installed high‑speed color imaging system (PRISM) that can transmit passport applications electronically.  37 overseas posts gained electronic access to passport issuance information.

Successful: 

Remaining passport field agencies are successfully converted to and trained in new passport issuance system.

 

Minimally Effective: 

All but one or two agencies converted and trained.

We installed the new photodigitization passport issuance system at four additional domestic passport-issuing offices, bringing the total using the new system in FY '01 to 14 offices covering over 93 percent of passport workload. The Washington and Chicago passport agencies were in the process of converting to the new technology, and by December 2001 all passports issued by the domestic passport agencies incorporated the use of printed digital photos and related security devices resulting in greatly improved passport security. We began to research ways to efficiently bring this new technology to passport applicants abroad. We completed implementation of PFMWeb, which provides personnel with direct electronic access to full-color digital images of passport records stored in Washington. We implemented the Passport Lookout Tracking System (PLOTS).  PLOTS, available on the Intranet, contains roughly 100,000 fraud files and is designed to virtually replicate fraud files in real-time to any authorized user.

Verification

Source:  CA

Storage:  CA

Validation:  CA


Countries

U.S., worldwide

Lead Agency

Department of State/ CA

Partners

FSI, HR, DS, A

 



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