FROM: DS – Carlos F. Matus, Senior Bureau Official

SUBJECT: Waiver of OMB Memorandum 12-12 – Policy Prohibiting Expenditures in Excess of $500,000 on a Single Conference

Recommendation: That, in accordance with OMB Memorandum 12-12 and 18 FAM 401.1-3(C), you waive the prohibition to incur net expenses greater than $500,000 on a single event for the 2022 DS Global Summit because the conference is the most cost-effective option to achieve a compelling purpose.


On May 11, 2012, OMB issued OMB Memorandum 12-12, which among other things, sets forth a policy prohibiting any executive branch agency from incurring costs in excess of $500,000 from its own funds on a single conference, including those sponsored or hosted by the agency. The policy, however, authorizes the agency head to provide a waiver from this policy “…if he or she determines that exceptional circumstances exist, whereby spending in excess of $500,000 on a single conference is the most cost-effective option to achieve a compelling purpose.” This waiver must be signed within the same calendar year the conference is hosted. The 2022 DS Global Summit, which is scheduled for October 24-26 and will be held in Washington, D.C., has an estimated budget exceeding $500,000 and therefore requires a waiver. DS estimates there will be 400 participants, of whom approximately 250 will travel to Washington for an estimated cost of $1.2 million.

It is a justified and responsible use of appropriated funds to incur costs greater than $500,000 for the 2022 DS Global Summit. As the leader of a globally-dispersed foreign policy establishment, it is the responsibility of the Secretary to ensure leaders of the Department components have a consistent and coordinated approach for pursuing U.S. foreign policy goals. This conference will assemble the Department’s senior security leadership from overseas and domestic offices to express your vision and to leverage the knowledge, expertise, and wisdom of your security professionals in addressing today’s security challenges. Additionally, this in-person conference provides a crucial opportunity to share updates and guidance on our most pressing security issues, including our management of risk abroad.

DS last convened this Summit in 2019. Each senior overseas security official attending this Summit will have an opportunity to meet with DS leaders and managers to discuss current security threats and trends, and the Summit will allow Department senior security professionals to ensure operations align with Functional Bureau Strategies to better support broader Department and national foreign policy objectives. Hosting the Summit at the Department will minimize costs and allow participants from around the world and across the United States to directly engage with their specific regional directors, desk officers, and other offices supporting critical global security programs. This avoids separate travel expenses and minimizes overall Department costs.

Your approval will allow submission of a Conference Request into the Conference Tracking and Approval System (CTAS).

U.S. Department of State

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