U.S. Department of State Management Challenges

FY 2007 Department of State/USAID Joint Highlights
Bureau of Resource Management
February 2008
Report

Department of State seal

Below is an abridged version of the statement from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that highlights the Department's most serious management and performance challenges for 2007, followed by a brief assessment of progress toward addressing those challenges. For the full statement found in the Department's 2007 Financial Report, please visit: http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/perfrpt/2007/.

PROTECTION OF PEOPLE AND FACILITIES
SECURITY UPGRADES
Action Taken The Department addressed security vulnerabilities at overseas posts through new construction and security upgrade programs.
Actions Remaining The Department must identify and fund interim solutions to address security vulnerabilities at facilities awaiting long-term new construction or security upgrades.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Action Taken The Department opened a Domestic Emergency Command Center to handle emergencies and implemented a Warden Program that trains wardens to assist employees in evacuating a building or directing them to designated shelter.
Actions Remaining The Department needs to continue developing Facility Emergency Action Plans for all Washington area facilities and develop and implement domestic policies and procedures.
STRENGTHENING INFORMATION SECURITY
Action Taken The Department created the Information Security Steering Committee to help resolve differences in the information security process. Training and awareness, contingency planning, and incident response are the strongest areas of operational development.
Actions Remaining The Department must strengthen program planning elements, clarify roles and responsibilities for inventory management, establish accountability for the maintenance of accurate inventory records, improve the planning process, increase funding for the Office of Information Programs and Services, and reevaluate existing policies regarding cellular phones.
IMPROVING FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT BY PROVIDING COMPLETE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS IN A TIMELY MANNER
Action Taken The Department received an unqualified ("clean") audit opinion on its FY 2006 financial statements. In 2007, the Department improved its processes for accounting for real and personal property, and implemented a new central ("core") financial management system. For the FY 2007 financial statements, the independent auditor was unable to express an opinion. Due to the complexities involved with installing the new core financial system, State was unable to fully provide supporting material in a timely manner, and the independent auditor was unable to perform other procedures to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the financial statements in time to meet the November 15, 2007 reporting date established by OMB.
Actions Remaining The Department needs to provide financial statements and documentation in a timely manner and address weaknesses in controls over personal property, undelivered orders and financial systems.
HUMAN RESOURCES - STAFFING
Action Taken The Director General of the Foreign Service and the Bureau of Human Resources redesigned the assignment system to fill key overseas positions, changed the Foreign Service examination process, took steps to strengthen the retirement office, and launched a shared services structure for certain human resources functions.
Actions Remaining The Department's shared services centers should consider consolidating certain HR functions into a single center and undertake more rigorous planning and analysis to lay out clear objectives for the Global Repositioning Program. The Department also needs to overcome a 15% deficit in mid-ranked Foreign Service positions.
COUNTERTERRORISM AND BORDER SECURITY - CROSS-BORDER INITIATIVES
Action Taken Regional security officers were assigned to each border consulate to improve the security of the consulates and enhance the coordination of cross-border law enforcement issues that affect bilateral commercial development.
Actions Remaining The Department must focus on prioritizing non-consular issues in the operations of border posts by providing posts with the staff and attention to coordinate on U.S. business interests, environmental safety, quality of life and border security.
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY COORDINATION
Action Taken The Department has improved public diplomacy coordination by implementing recommendations from the OIG and the Government Accountability Office and improving strategic planning. The Department also has made progress in measuring the impact and outcomes of public diplomacy efforts.
Actions Remaining A long term challenge for the Department is to increase public diplomacy officers' foreign language capabilities.
POST-CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND STABILIZATION - RESTRUCTURING OF S/CRS
Action Taken The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) has a new relationship with the Director of Foreign Assistance, a major role in implementing the S/CRS charter in the National Security Presidential Directive-44, a lead role in developing the Civilian Reserve Corps, and management of the Department of Defense FY 2007 $100 million transfer authority.
Actions Remaining S/CRS needs to restructure so that the organizational structure reflects the actual delineation of responsibilities and promotes coordination and communications.

 


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