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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Message from the Secretary

Bureau of Resource Management
November 15, 2011


Photo showing Secretary of State Clinton delivering a statement in the Department's Treaty Room announcing U.S. sanctions on Syria. The sanctions are in response to that government's crackdown on its people demanding their universal human rights through peaceful demonstrations.

Secretary of State Clinton delivers a statement in the Department’s Treaty Room announcing U.S. sanctions on Syria. The sanctions are in response to that government’s crackdown on its people demanding their universal human rights through peaceful demonstrations. ¬©AP Image

I am pleased to present the U.S. Department of State’s Agency Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2011. This year has seen some dramatic changes around the world, but one thing has remained constant: The remarkable men and women of the Department of State continue to work tirelessly to advance America’s interests and values across the globe. This report presents financial and performance information that reflects our dedication to leading American foreign policy in a rapidly changing international landscape.

In the Middle East and North Africa, where citizens have stood up and demanded their universal rights, America’s diplomats and development experts are reaching beyond the embassy walls to engage directly with the people of the region, including through extensive use of social networking and new media tools. In Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya—where the United States successfully rallied a broad international coalition to prevent a dictator from slaughtering his own people—we are supporting civil society, independent journalists, and students as they move from protest to politics. We are helping transitional authorities build democratic institutions and prepare for elections. For it to succeed, the Arab political awakening must also be an economic awakening. So we are working with leaders in the public and private sectors to create new economic opportunities, foster entrepreneurship, and increase regional integration and trade.

In Iraq, we are transitioning to a civilian partnership and shifting our focus to governance and economic development. We have opened new consulates in Erbil and Basrah that, along with our embassy, will support Iraqis as they work to strengthen their democracy, combat international terrorism, and rejoin the international community.

In Afghanistan, we are transitioning to a security situation that is Afghan led. We are pursuing our “fight, talk, build” strategy that aims to defeat al-Qaeda, increase military pressure on the Taliban and other insurgents, support Afghan-led reconciliation that meets clearly defined objectives, and promote economic and political stability through short-term development assistance and a long-term vision of regional economic integration and trade we call the New Silk Road.

As our remaining forces depart Iraq and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivotal point. Over the last 10 years, we allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft in the next decade, therefore, will be to lock in a substantially increased investment—diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise—in the Asia-Pacific region, which has become a key driver of global politics and economics. In 2011, the United States continued to increase its engagement with its traditional allies in Asia, as well as with the region’s emerging powers and multilateral organizations, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the East Asia Summit (EAS). We are already seeing the results of this increased engagement—in FY 2011, U.S. exports to APEC members grew much faster than exports to the rest of the world.

This effort is connected to our broader commitment to elevate economic statecraft as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy and a key driver of recovery and renewal here at home. Our diplomats around the world are stepping up their advocacy for America’s exporters and pushing back against the obstacles that U.S. businesses face overseas—from corruption to discriminatory regulations to the theft of intellectual property. We are working with partners throughout the Federal Government to attract new foreign investment into American communities that creates jobs and opportunities. We were proud to help secure significant new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Our goal is to promote and protect an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system where all can participate; where ideas, products, and capital flow unimpeded; where regulations and rules are developed out in the open and are equitably applied; and where all businesses are treated fairly.

This year our diplomats and development experts also worked hard to uphold and advance universal human rights around the world, including the rights of individuals to express their views freely, whether in a traditional public square or in today’s online marketplace of ideas. Even as we defend free expression on the Internet, we are also using its tools to support democratic values and activists. We launched, the official U.S. Government website for international human rights information. We established Twitter feeds in Arabic and Farsi, adding to the ones we already have in French and Spanish. We have similar ones in Chinese, Russian, and Hindi. The Department also led the U.S. Government, together with 12 other democratic nations, to launch Lifeline: The Embattled NGO Assistance Fund, which supports civil society and embattled NGOs.

Across all these areas of action around the world, a central theme is promoting rights and opportunities for women and girls. This is the right thing to do, but as I explained at the APEC summit in San Francisco this September, it is also the smart and strategic thing to do. Increasing the participation of women in the global economy is one of the best ways to drive growth. Integrating women and girls into the President’s Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives improves health outcomes and increases agricultural output. Including women in peace processes, such as reconciliation in Afghanistan, helps resolve conflicts and secure lasting stability. Empowering women to participate in politics—including in the transitions now under way in the Middle East and North Africa—leads to more sustainable and successful democracies.

A final hallmark of our work this year has been a commitment to modernizing the way we do business at the State Department. We have been implementing the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall accountability of our efforts around the world. The Department is embarking on a new multi-year strategic planning process that will heighten U.S. engagement throughout the world. We have made changes to upgrade our information technology, enhance our performance and budget practices, and reform our contracting and procurement policies. Other changes will enable us to advance better the interests of the American people abroad.

The State Department remains committed to corporate governance. To that end, we continue to work to improve our financial management and internal controls. This Agency Financial Report (AFR) is our principal publication and report to the President, Congress, and the American people on our leadership in financial management and on our management and stewardship of the public funds to which we have been entrusted. We worked with our Independent Auditor to ensure that the financial and summary performance data included in this AFR are complete and reliable in accordance with guidance from the Office of Management and Budget. Through this publication and the February release of the Congressional Budget Justification, which includes the Agency Performance Report, we are providing an alternative to the Performance and Accountability Report.

Looking ahead, we face a complex and changing world, full of daunting challenges but also significant opportunities. American leadership will be essential in the years ahead, even if we must sometimes lead in new ways. Securing and sustaining that leadership is the organizing principle behind everything we do at the Department of State. I am proud to serve alongside the thousands of dedicated men and women who work toward that goal every day, at home and in our more than 270 posts worldwide.

Signature of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
November 15, 2011


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