U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference at Wajbah Palace, in Doha, Qatar, March 5, 2013. ©AP Image
I am pleased to present the U.S. Department of State's Agency Financial Report (AFR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The following pages describe the Department's commitment to making smart investments for America's future at a time when our foreign policy matters more than ever before in our daily lives. In an era of shrinking budgets and an increasingly interdependent world, we have had to make tough choices. The financial and performance information in this report demonstrates the seriousness with which we take our responsibility to advance America's core national security and economic interests, while using taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively.
The Department's mission is to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. The demand for U.S. leadership has never been higher, and the challenges we face are great: bringing stability to the Middle East and North Africa, deepening our political, security, and economic ties to the Asia Pacific region, completing the transition in Afghanistan, tackling climate change and putting the world on the path to a clean energy future, and promoting good governance and human rights, to name just a few.
At the same time, the products that we buy, the goods that we sell, and the economic opportunities we create here at home increasingly are intertwined with the lives of people across the world. If we pull back from engaging abroad, we will not only hurt those who depend on us today, we will diminish our own values and fail to meet our responsibilities to the next generation.
By making foreign policy investments now aimed at overcoming these challenges and increasing America's prosperity, we can avoid much costlier burdens down the road. Deploying diplomats and development experts on the frontlines today is much cheaper than deploying troops tomorrow. That is why we are acting on several fronts at once to make strategic investments that deliver maximum result for minimal expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
This approach paid significant dividends in FY 2013: we sustained the democratic opening in Burma, we strengthened our partnerships with China and India to reduce carbon emissions, and we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-and the fact that the one-millionth baby was born HIV-free because of PEPFAR support, something unimaginable just a decade ago.
We know the difference that the United States can make around the world and we are continuing to deliver solutions matching the scale of the many challenges we face. We are addressing political transitions, emerging security threats, and humanitarian crises in the Middle East and North Africa. We are negotiating major trade agreements with Europe and the Asia Pacific. We continue to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa'ida's core leadership and address security challenges, from South Asia to the Sahel. And we are strengthening our relationships and building new alliances with emerging powers, engaging them on the most important global issues.
We are making crucial investments in the President's signature development initiatives on food security, health, energy, and climate change. These programs will help drive a 21st Century development policy and create shared prosperity between the United States and our partners around the world. And in all of our efforts, we are ensuring all the gears of global growth are working together to create opportunity and grow the U.S. economy. That is why we are committed to supporting the President's National Export Initiative by promoting increased U.S. exports and, in turn, creating quality jobs for Americans.
We are achieving all of this by closely examining our investments and making tradeoffs to obtain the best value for Americans' dollars. For example, we are reducing funding for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq to reflect our downsized presence and programs, while increasing funding for the commercial diplomacy and development programs that reflect U.S. economic interests and values.
The first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) provided a roadmap for investing in our efforts to keep America strong and Americans secure. We have increased security at posts, strengthened training for personnel, modernized facilities, and added staff dedicated to promoting U.S. trade and investment. These reforms are just the beginning. The second QDDR, which will be released in 2014, will further focus our diplomatic and development efforts and guide our investments to obtain the best value for taxpayers.
The Department remains committed to high standards of financial operations, reporting, and accountability, and to the continued improvement of our financial management and internal controls. The Message from the Comptroller in this AFR underscores our improvements in FY 2013 and includes the results of the independent audit of our FY 2013 Financial Statements. 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.
With the leadership of President Obama and the cooperation I will work hard to secure from the Congress, I am confident that the United States will continue to lead as the indispensable nation. I am honored every day to work alongside my Department of State colleagues as we make smart investments for America's future. Even in a tight budget climate, Americans deserve a strong foreign policy, and the world still seeks U.S. leadership to advance economic opportunity, freedom, and peace. That is when the United States is at its best and those are the values that the Department defends every single day.
John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
December 16, 2013