As mandated by law, the Office of Inspector General provides independent and objective oversight of Department of State programs, operations, and activities. We do this through audits, inspections, special reviews, and—where there are allegations or indications of criminal wrongdoing, waste, fraud and mismanagement—investigations. We assess effectiveness, efficiency, and economy and identify problems, vulnerabilities, best practices, and lessons learned. When necessary, we make recommendations for corrective actions; when deserved, we give credit where it is due. We issue reports to the Department and the Congress and, as security and legal concerns allow, we make them available to the general public. To the extent our influence permits, we try to ensure that the Department's compliance with our recommendations is timely and adequate.
Common purposes, increasing responsibilities, and limited resources have caused us to augment these efforts with other less traditional approaches. Where appropriate, we serve on Department-led committees and working groups and provide consultative services at the beginning of an effort. We participate as instructors in Foreign Service Institute training courses. We encourage OIG personnel to apply for temporary tours of duty in hard-to-fill Department positions and fill some of our own positions with Department personnel on a rotational basis.
Regardless of the methods and approaches we employ to fulfill our responsibilities, the keystone of the OIG remains our independence—independence of vision, independence of judgment, independence of voice, and independence of action. Although our relationship with the Department will continue to evolve as we both strive to achieve our respective missions, we will never compromise our integrity, our professionalism, or our objectivity.
The OIG has developed its own strategic and performance plans, goals, indicators, and targets. These are specific to the OIG. They guide and measure our progress in supporting the Department's mission and goals; they help to bring positive change to its programs, operations, and activities; and they ensure accountability. Ultimately, however, the real measure of the OIG's success is the extent to which the Department effectively, efficiently, and economically achieves its mission and goals for the benefit of the President, the Congress, and the American people.
The pages that follow contain the highlights of the OIG's contributions and results for FY 2004. Several of the quantitative performance results underline the need for improvement. However, the descriptions of the qualitative accomplishments offer evidence that the results of our efforts cannot be measured by statistics alone. A more detailed description by strategic and performance goal can be found in OIG's FY 2004 Performance Report, which has been published separately in conjunction with this report.
Cameron R. Hume