I am pleased to present the Department of State's Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2004. Along with our audited financial statements, this report highlights the continued improvement and effectiveness of our efforts to advance President Bush's foreign policy agenda and achieve the institutional objectives I set for the Department of State.
The Department of State's mission is to help President Bush shape a world of peace, freedom and hope where tyrants and terrorists cannot thrive.
To help build a secure world, the dedicated men and women of the State Department are working to strengthen our alliances and build partnerships across the globe to meet the challenges of the 21st century. American diplomacy remains essential to America's continued leadership of the worldwide campaign against terrorism, and our diplomatic efforts are crucial to the success of international reconstruction and democracy-building efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. We also are working with friends and former foes to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and bring peaceful ends to regional conflicts.
The State Department is at the forefront of U.S. efforts worldwide to promote respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic government and to stop trafficking in persons. We have made dramatic early progress towards meeting the ambitious five-year goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: to support lifesaving drug treatment for 2 million people, prevent 7 million new infections, and support care for 10 million men, women and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
We are working closely with international financial institutions, businesses and non-governmental groups to build a vigorous world economic system. We have been instrumental in getting President Bush's innovative Millennium Challenge Corporation initiative up and running - a major incentive for poor countries to pursue pro-growth policies that can lift their people out of poverty.
To convey America's message to the world, we continue to develop a wide array of public diplomacy programs that engage younger and broader foreign audiences and acquaint them with our policies and with democratic and free market principles.
Every day, the men and women of the State Department assist and protect our fellow citizens. Our embassies and consulates aid Americans abroad who are victims of crime or are in need of help. We also are increasing the capacity of foreign governments to prevent drug traffickers and other criminals from harming Americans and others. And as the first line of defense of our homeland's security, we are improving the process for identifying suspected terrorists to keep them from obtaining visas to enter the United States.
In performing these vital duties and more, we have been effective and accountable stewards of the taxpayer's money. For the eighth year in a row, independent auditors have issued an unqualified ("clean") opinion on our financial statements. I am proud to provide an unqualified statement of assurance as required under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) that the Department's management controls and financial systems meet the objectives of FMFIA. The financial and performance data presented herein are complete and reliable in keeping with guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and the Reports Consolidation Act. In the few instances where information is not provided, we have included specific reasons why.
With the support of President Bush and broad bipartisan backing from the U.S. Congress, the State Department has continued to focus on building institutional capacity in three key areas: human resources, information technology, and embassy construction and security. We must maintain this focus in the years ahead, so that the men and women of American diplomacy have the training, tools and infrastructure they need to serve our country safely and successfully across the globe.
Colin L. Powell