ACCOMPLISHMENTS: In FY 2008, the Department of State worked closely with USAID and other U.S. Government partners to advance foreign policy objectives. The Department continued the civilian surge component of the President’s Iraq strategy and has completed a landmark Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government. The Secretary successfully negotiated a nuclear agreement with India, launched the Merida Initiative with Mexico and countries of Central America with the aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational crime and money laundering, and used U.S. diplomacy to defuse the Russian/Georgian conflict. The Department filled 100% of critical needs positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, issued 16 million travel documents in a timely manner, and completed several new embassy compounds overseas in Beijing, Berlin and Baghdad, among others, which enabled over 19,000 employees to move into more secure facilities.
CHALLENGES: The Department’s management and performance challenges are focused in the following areas: making its people, facilities and information more secure; improving the protection of personally identifiable information; strengthening contracting and procurement; ensuring an appropriately sized, skilled and trained diplomatic workforce; strengthening border security; better integrating public diplomacy, and improving coordination and management of foreign assistance activities. For the latest assessment of the Department’s Management and Performance Challenges conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), please see the FY 2008 Agency Financial Report, pages 101-105 or visit http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/perfrpt/2008/. An abridged version of the statement from the OIG is included in this report.