Overseas Emergency Security Program Progressing, But Costs Are Increasing
NSIAD-00-83: Published: Mar 8, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO described the Department of State's Overseas Emergency Security Program, focusing on: (1) progress that State has made in implementing the program funded by the emergency supplemental appropriations and the challenges State faces in completing the program; and (2) State's long-term capital construction program and its response to a study on overseas presence in follow-on reports.
GAO noted that: (1) State has made progress in implementing the program funded by the emergency supplemental appropriations to improve security overseas; (2) State has reestablished embassy operations in interim office buildings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and signed a contract for construction of new embassy compounds that are scheduled for completion in 2003 at a cost of about $119 million; (3) projects to relocate several other embassies and consulates are also underway; (4) however, the cost estimates for the construction of new embassies in Kampala, Uganda, Zagreb, Croatia, and Doha, Qatar, are about $122 million, or about $45 million higher than original estimates due mainly to upgraded security requirements; (5) State has also made progress in implementing many of its planned security upgrades, including enhanced vehicle inspection and security guard programs, hiring additional special agents, and other security staff, and instituting a new surveillance detection program designed to identify hostile surveillance activities and potential attackers; (6) however, projects involving major construction upgrades to improve security at over 100 posts are, according to State's estimates, costing more than was originally estimated and are behind schedule; (7) State estimates that major security construction upgrades and the installation of electronic equipment, originally funded at $181 million, are at least 1 year behind schedule and could potentially cost about $800 million more to complete than originally envisioned due to an increase in requirements and other factors; (8) to address these additional requirements, State says it plans to: (a) request additional funds in its fiscal year 2001 and future budgets; (b) realign funds from other projects; (c) stretch the program over several years; and (d) where possible, use less costly contracting methods to achieve project objectives; and (9) as of December 31, 1999, State had obligated $972 million and expended $445 million of the $1.5 billion emergency supplemental appropriations.