printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Message from the Secretary of State

Bureau of Resource Management
February 24, 2012


Photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State. Agence France Presse (AFP) image.

I am pleased to present the U.S. Department of State's Joint Summary of Performance and Financial Information for fiscal year 2011, created in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This year has seen some dramatic changes around the world, but two constants remain as firm as ever: The remarkable men and women of the Department of State and USAID continue to work tirelessly to advance our nation's interests and values, and America's leadership remains both respected and required around the globe. When old adversaries need an honest broker or fundamental freedoms need a champion, the international community looks to America and its diplomats. When a famine threatens the lives of millions in East Africa or floods sweep across Pakistan, people look to America and its development experts. They see what we sometimes miss amid all the noise in Washington: America is and remains a beacon of freedom, a guarantor of global security, and a true opportunity society.

In the Middle East and North Africa, where citizens stood up and demanded their universal rights, our civilian team is reaching beyond the embassy walls through extensive use of social networking and new media tools to engage directly with the people of the region. In Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, we are supporting civil society, women's rights organizations, independent journalists, and students as they move from protest to politics. We are helping transitional authorities build democratic institutions and prepare for elections and are working to address the range of challenges emerging as these transitions unfold. For the Arab political awakening to succeed, it also must be an economic awakening. So we are working with leaders in the public and private sectors to create new economic opportunities for men, women, and marginalized groups; foster entrepreneurship; and increase regional integration and trade.

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

In Afghanistan, we are transitioning to a full Afghan security responsibility by the end of 2014. We are pursuing our "fight, talk, build" strategy that aims to defeat al-Qaida, increase military pressure on the Taliban and other insurgents, and support Afghan-led reconciliation with the inclusion of women and civil society that meets clearly defined objectives. We will also continue to 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 we have transitioned to a civilian-led mission in Iraq and as America draws down its forces in Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. In the last 10 years, we allocated immense resources to those two theaters. Over the next 10 years, we need to focus increasingly on areas of opportunity. That means being 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 engagement with traditional allies in Asia, as well as with the region's emerging powers and multilateral organizations, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the East Asia Summit. 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.

While we seek to intensify engagement with partners in the Asia-Pacific region, we will continue to reap the extraordinary benefits of our already well-established links with European partners. In the past year we saw clear evidence of how close strategic coordination with Europe led to outcomes that far exceeded what we could have achieved unilaterally. The most dramatic examples were in the Middle East and North Africa, where collaboration with NATO and EU partners contributed to the end of the Qadhafi regime in Libya, helped to ratchet up pressure on the Iranian regime, confronted a dictator in Syria, and ensured effective donor coordination with respect to transition assistance for Egypt and Tunisia.

Also notable was our collaboration with the EU in response to the anti-democratic crackdown in Belarus. By synchronizing our statements of condemnation and imposition of sanctions against the Belarusian regime, we multiplied their impact. More broadly, we were able to leverage our partnership with Europe in ongoing diplomatic and development efforts to assist countries in the Western Balkans seeking further integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions, and to counter democratic back-sliding in Ukraine and other Eurasian countries.

Our partnerships in the Western Hemisphere seek to promote collective prosperity and expand opportunity, secure and cement democratic progress, advance citizen security, achieve a clean and secure energy future, and add partners to our efforts to solve global problems. Countries in the Americas are sharing their approaches for empowering small businesses and expanding the benefits of economic growth through our Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, our hemispheric partners are taking leading roles in the effort to achieve a secure and clean energy future. We also continued to work with partners in the region - and internationally - to enhance the security of citizens and reduce illicit trafficking through our interlocking security initiatives in Central America, Colombia, the Caribbean, and Mexico, where our Merida partnership has re-shaped our bilateral security relationship.

With continued U.S. support and partnership, we can assist Africa as it moves along the path to a stronger future. Our partnership with Africa is based on our mutual desire to promote democracy, good governance, and respect for human rights; to achieve peace and security throughout the continent; to advance improved health outcomes; and to promote economic growth and prosperity for all. While Africa's future is up to Africans, the United States will continue to play a major role with its African partners in shaping that future.

Our most noteworthy diplomatic successes in FY 2011 have been the referendum in South Sudan and the return of democratically elected governments in Mauritania, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger. Strategic dialogues have strengthened our partnerships with South Africa and Nigeria and have put in place a framework to expand our engagement with Angola. We have supported the African Union force in Mogadishu, which has substantially expanded its area of control. We continued to support the Administration's key economic growth and health initiatives across the continent: Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative, the Global Climate Change Initiative, and Partnership for Growth. The successful African Growth and Opportunity Act forums held in Kansas City and Lusaka rekindled interest in the program and generated new opportunities for trade.

In the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa and beyond, we committed 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 faced by U.S. businesses 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 create 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 equitably applied; and where all businesses are treated fairly. Since foreign tourist travel to the United States creates and sustains American jobs, we have worked diligently to expedite visa issuance, particularly in China, India, and Brazil.

Across all these areas of action around the world, a central theme is promoting rights and opportunities for women and girls. Increasing the participation of women in the global economy is one of the best ways to drive growth, which is why we are helping women to break down economic barriers and access markets through APEC and our Pathways to Prosperity partnerships. Integrating women and girls into the President's Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives improves health outcomes and increases agricultural output. Meaningfully including women in peace and security, such as reconciliation in Afghanistan, contributes to conflict resolution and to lasting stability. Empowering women to participate in politics - including in the transitions now under way in the Middle East and North Africa - also leads to more sustainable and successful democracies.

The Department contributed significantly to U.S. efforts to bolster the global nuclear nonproliferation regimes, stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and further our arms control and disarmament priorities. The entry into force of the New START Treaty in 2011 renewed a process of mutual nuclear arms reductions and inspections with Russia that contributes to strategic stability and creates the conditions for further progress toward President Obama's goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Since Iran has not been willing to engage meaningfully with the United States and others to dispel concerns about its nuclear program, we intensified unilateral and multilateral sanctions. Likewise, we strengthened efforts to limit illicit procurement activities by Iran and North Korea, notably by supporting numerous interdictions of shipments to and from these countries.

The Department ensured a successful Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, which set out a program of work for the next five years that will focus, among other things, on international cooperation in combating and responding to outbreaks of infectious disease. The Department secured entry-into-force of the U.S.-Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement that will lead to the elimination of enough plutonium to make 17,000 nuclear weapons. The United States, along with the rest of the international community, is placing increased emphasis on nuclear security and safety in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. We succeeded in extending for 10 years the mandate of the UN Committee that oversees implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires that all member states have proliferation controls. In 2012, the United States will seek to lay the ground work for future arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament efforts. The U.S. presidency of the G-8 will be one important venue for advancing these priorities.

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. As we defend free expression online, we are also using new tools and technologies 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 NGOs under pressure.

A final hallmark of our work this year has been a commitment to modernizing the way we do business at the Department of State. We have been implementing the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall accountability of our efforts around the world. The Department of State and USAID are embarking on a new multi-year strategic planning process that will strengthen and sharpen U.S. engagement around the world.

We have made changes to upgrade our information technology, enhance our performance and budget practices, strengthen program evaluation as a management tool, and reform our contracting and procurement policies. These and other changes will enable us to advance better the interests of the American people abroad. I am pleased to certify that the performance and financial data in this report are complete and reliable.

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 as we sometimes lead in new ways. Securing and sustaining that leadership is the organizing principle behind everything we do at the Department of State and USAID. 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.

Department of State seal. Signature of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
February 16, 2012


Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.