Major Management Challenges and Program Risks:

Department of State

GAO-03-107: Published: Jan 1, 2003. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 2003.

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In its 2001 performance and accountability report on the Department of State, GAO identified important issues concerning the security of U.S. facilities and personnel overseas, visa issuance, illicit drugs entering the United States, information security, and other issues facing the department. The information GAO presents in this report is intended to sustain congressional attention and a departmental focus on continuing to make progress in addressing these challenges and ultimately overcoming them. This report is part of a special series of reports on governmentwide and agency-specific issues.

In carrying out its mission of forming, representing, and implementing U.S. foreign policy, the State Department faces complex challenges, some of which have intensified since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. State has made progress in addressing its management challenges over the last 2 years, but further improvements are needed in the following areas: Improving the security and maintenance of U.S. facilities overseas: State has enhanced security at existing facilities but needs to continue to replace many embassies and consulates that are not set back far enough from busy city streets and/or are not sufficiently blast resistant. Strengthening the visa process as an antiterrorism tool: Visa policy and procedures are inconsistent among overseas consular posts, and staff at many posts are inadequately trained. Eliminating the Visa Waiver Program could require increased overseas staffing and facilities. Continuing to rightsize embassy staffing levels: Assessing staffing needs is essential for State to ensure the security and effectiveness of overseas missions and determine the appropriate size and cost of new facilities. To help achieve a rightsized overseas presence, State and the Office of Management and Budget are using a framework proposed by GAO that addresses the mission, security, and costs of overseas posts as well as staffing alternatives. Better managing human capital: Although State has made progress in recruiting new hires, providing leadership and management skills training, planning its workforce needs, correcting foreign language shortfalls, and staffing hardship posts, further improvements are needed. Help to reduce illegal drugs entering the United States: Despite arrests of drug traffickers and seizures of large amounts of drugs, the availability of illicit drugs in the United States has not been materially reduced. Addressing additional challenges to building a high-performing organization: State has worked to enhance information technology and security, strengthen financial management, and improve performance planning. However, challenges remain.

Below are the reports in this series:

High-Risk Series: An Update GAO-03-119, Jan 1, 2003

High-Risk Series: Strategic Human Capital Management GAO-03-120, Jan 1, 2003

High-Risk Series: Protecting Information Systems Supporting the Federal Government and the Nation's Critical Infrastructures GAO-03-121, Jan 1, 2003

High-Risk Series: Federal Real Property GAO-03-122, Jan 1, 2003

Added later:

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Single-Employer Insurance Program: Long-Term Vulnerabilities Warrant 'High Risk' Designation GAO-03-1050SP, Jul 23, 2003

Performance and Accountability Series:

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: A Governmentwide Perspective GAO-03-95, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Agriculture GAO-03-96, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Commerce GAO-03-97, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Defense GAO-03-98, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Education GAO-03-99, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Energy GAO-03-100, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Health and Human Services GAO-03-101, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Homeland Security GAO-03-102, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Housing and Urban Development GAO-03-103, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of the Interior GAO-03-104, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Justice GAO-03-105, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Labor GAO-03-106, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of State GAO-03-107, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Transportation GAO-03-108, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of the Treasury GAO-03-109, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Veterans Affairs GAO-03-110, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: U.S. Agency for International Development GAO-03-111, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Environmental Protection Agency GAO-03-112, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Federal Emergency Management Agency GAO-03-113, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: National Aeronautics and Space Administration GAO-03-114, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Office of Personnel Management GAO-03-115, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Small Business Administration GAO-03-116, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Social Security Administration GAO-03-117, Jan 1, 2003

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: U.S. Postal Service GAO-03-118, Jan 1, 2003

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