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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Message from the Secretary

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
November 16, 2012


Photo showing Secretary of State Clinton speaking at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum Reception at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 29, 2012.

Secretary of State Clinton speaks at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum Reception at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 29, 2012. ©AP Image

It is my pleasure to present the U.S. Department of State's Agency Financial Report (AFR) for Fiscal Year 2012. In these pages, you will find more than just financial and performance information: you will find evidence of our commitment to keep delivering results for the American people at a time when resources are limited but the stakes remain high. We take seriously our duty to practice fiscal responsibility and transparency as we advance the U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Today, the United States is faced with a range of complex challenges: a transition in Afghanistan; a new relationship with post-war Iraq; revolutions and transitions in the Middle East and North Africa; a weakened but still dangerous al-Qaeda; climate change and resource scarcity; nuclear proliferation; pandemic disease and global hunger; and continued economic difficulties here at home, to name just a few.

To tackle these challenges, we have to act on several fronts at once. U.S. diplomats and development experts across the globe must coordinate and execute effective policies. Leaders must make difficult choices, prioritizing some programs over others. We also require strong management, from hiring and developing talent to using our resources wisely.

On the policy front, we are delivering real results. Our troops are home from Iraq and a transition is underway in Afghanistan - but our diplomats and development experts will remain to stand with our partners and keep America safe. We are renewing our engagement in the Asia-Pacific, ensuring we will continue to play a leading role in the most consequential region of the 21st Century. We are building new alliances and strengthening our relationships with the world's emerging powers, continuing to engage them on issues such as human rights, open government, and free trade. We will continue to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda in the wake of killing the world's most wanted terrorist. In the Middle East and North Africa, we are supporting unprecedented democratic transitions in previously authoritarian nations.

Across the globe, we are harnessing our economic power to ensure U.S. businesses and industries compete on a level playing field, modernizing our diplomacy to better support our partners' development goals, and finding new ways to elevate the role of women and girls in all that we do. We are achieving all this by making difficult but necessary tradeoffs. We are reducing our assistance to parts of Europe while at the same time expanding the effective development programs that promote our values and our interests, from our food security work to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

We also have achieved a great deal in our efforts to manage our resources effectively and improve the way we work together. Since completing the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) two years ago, we have reorganized the Department of State to better support civilian security, elevate energy issues, and promote economic statecraft. We have given our staff new opportunities to develop their skills and revamped training programs to emphasize interagency coordination. We have reformed our strategic planning processes and program evaluation to make us more forward thinking and accountable.

All of these results are just the beginning; we are now implementing a second wave of QDDR reforms.

In addition, we remain committed to corporate governance and continuing to improve our financial management and internal controls. This AFR is our principal publication and report to the President, Congress, and the American people on our stewardship of the public funds to which we have been entrusted. To ensure this AFR is complete and reliable, we worked with our Independent Auditor on the financial data and with our bureaus and missions on the summary performance data.

In short, the men and women of the State Department are delivering results for the American people. This work is difficult and sometimes dangerous. Still, they press on, because they know a strong America continues to play an essential role in creating the more peaceful and prosperous world we all want. I am deeply proud to represent them.

Signature of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
November 16, 2012


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