I am pleased to present the Department of State's Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2003. The report presents our audited financial statements and measures our performance against the major objectives we set for our agency.
The Department of State's mission is to help President Bush shape a world of greater security, freedom and prosperity for America's sake and for the sake of people all around the globe who seek a better future for themselves and their children.
The men and women of American diplomacy are playing an instrumental role in marshaling and advancing international support for the worldwide campaign against terrorism. We serve at the forefront of the international reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are working to strengthen our alliances and partnerships in Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere to meet 21st century security challenges. With faithful friends and former foes alike we are working to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and bring an end to conflicts.
Our embassies and consulates assist U.S. citizens abroad who are victims of serious crime and during times of instability. We are helping to build up the law enforcement capabilities of foreign governments to stop drug-traffickers and other criminals before their poison reaches American soil. We are protecting our homeland by strengthening the process for identifying suspected terrorists and preventing them from obtaining visas to enter the United States.
We promote respect for human rights and the growth of democracy in every region. American diplomacy is forging partnerships with citizens' groups, the private sector and governments all around the world to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS. Through our public diplomacy, we are reaching out to foreign audiences to better acquaint them with our country and counter anti-Americanism by establishing a foundation of information and understanding. And we are advancing a new international consensus on how to help poor countries onto the path of development through good governance, sound economic, trade and environmental policies, and wise investments in their people.
In conducting our vital mission, we have been effective and accountable stewards of the taxpayers' money. For the seventh year in a row, independent auditors have given our financial statements an unqualified ("clean") opinion. I am also proud to certify that for the second year in a row, the Department's management control systems meet the requirements of the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA). For financial systems, the Department of State's one remaining material nonconformance was closed in Fiscal Year 2003 and I am pleased to report that the Department's financial systems are in substantial compliance with the requirements of FMFIA. We have made every effort to verify the accuracy and ensure the completeness of the financial and performance data presented in this report. In the few instances where information has not been provided, we give specific reasons why.
With the support of President Bush and broad bipartisan backing from Congress, the Department of State has made significant progress building capacity in three fundamental areas: human resources, information technology, and embassy construction and security. We must keep the focus on these key areas in the demanding years ahead, so that the dedicated men and women of the State Department have the training, tools and infrastructure they need to serve our country safely and successfully across the globe on the frontlines of freedom.
Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State