oversight

Overseas Presence: Rightsizing Framework Can Be Applied at U.S. Diplomatic Posts in Developing Countries

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-07.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee
             on National Security, Emerging
             Threats, and International Relations,
             Committee on Government Reform,
             House of Representatives
April 2003
             OVERSEAS
             PRESENCE
             Rightsizing
             Framework Can Be
             Applied at U.S.
             Diplomatic Posts in
             Developing Countries




GAO-03-396
                                                April 2003


                                                OVERSEAS PRESENCE

                                                Rightsizing Framework Can Be Applied at
Highlights of GAO-03-396, a report to the       U.S. Diplomatic Posts in Developing
Chairman, Subcommittee on National
Security, Emerging Threats, and                 Countries
International Relations, House Committee
on Government Reform




Since the mid-1990s, GAO has                    GAO’s rightsizing framework can be applied at U.S. embassies in developing
highlighted the need for the                    countries. Officials from the Bureau of African Affairs, and U.S. embassy
Department of State and other                   officials in Dakar, Senegal; Banjul, The Gambia; and Nouakchott, Mauritania,
agencies to establish a systematic              said that the framework’s questions highlighted specific issues at each post
process for determining their                   that should be considered in determining staffing levels. Officials in other
overseas staffing levels. To                    State bureaus also believed that the security, mission, cost, and option
support this long-standing need and             components of the framework provided a logical basis for planning and
in support of the President’s                   making rightsizing decisions.
Management Agenda, GAO
developed a framework for
assessing overseas workforce size
                                                At each of the posts GAO visited, application of the framework and
and identified options for                      corresponding questions generally highlighted
rightsizing. Because the
framework was largely based on                  •   physical and technical security deficiencies that needed to be
work at the U.S. embassy in Paris,                  weighed against proposed staff increases;
GAO was asked to determine                      •   mission priorities and requirements that are not fully documented or
whether the rightsizing framework                   justified in the posts’ Mission Performance Plans;
is applicable at U.S. embassies in              •   cost of operations data that were unavailable, incomplete, or
developing countries. To                            fragmented across funding sources; and
accomplish this objective, we                   •   rightsizing actions and other options that post managers should
visited three U.S. embassies in                     consider for adjusting the number of personnel.
West Africa—a medium-sized post
in Dakar, Senegal; and two small                Specific Rightsizing Issues Identified at Each West African Post
embassies in Banjul, The Gambia;
and Nouakchott, Mauritania—and
applied the framework and its
corresponding questions there.




GAO recommends that
   the Director of OMB, in
   coordination with the Secretary
   of State, ensure that application
   of our framework be expanded
   as a basis for assessing staffing
   levels at embassies and
   consulates worldwide; and
   the Secretary of State adopt the
   framework as part of the
   Mission Performance Planning
   process.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-396.

To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Jess T. Ford at
(202) 512-4128 or fordj@gao.gov.
Contents


Letter                                                                                  1
               Results in Brief                                                         3
               Background                                                               4
               Rightsizing Framework Can Be Applied and Used to Highlight
                 Specific Issues at Each Embassy                                       5
               Conclusions                                                            12
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                   12
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                     12
               Scope and Methodology                                                  13

Appendix I     Rightsizing Issues at West African Posts                               15
               Dakar: Physical and Technical Security                                 15
               Dakar: Mission Priorities and Requirements                             15
               Dakar: Cost of Operations                                              16
               Dakar: Consideration of Rightsizing Actions and Options                17
               Banjul: Physical and Technical Security                                19
               Banjul: Mission Priorities and Requirements                            19
               Banjul: Cost of Operations                                             20
               Nouakchott: Physical and Technical Security                            21
               Nouakchott: Mission Priorities and Requirements                        21
               Nouakchott: Cost of Operations                                         21

Appendix II    Rightsizing Framework and Corresponding
               Questions                                                              23



Appendix III   Comments from the Office of Management and
               Budget                                                                 25



Appendix IV    Comments from the Department of State                                  26
               GAO’s Comments                                                         31


Figures
               Figure 1: Applying the Rightsizing Framework in Dakar, Senegal          18
               Figure 2: Applying the Rightsizing Framework in Banjul, The
                        Gambia                                                        20



               Page i                                        GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
Figure 3: Applying the Rightsizing Framework in Nouakchott,
         Mauritania                                                                       22




Abbreviations

ICASS             International Cooperative Administrative Support Services
MPP               Mission Performance Plan
NSDD-38           National Security Decision Directive-38
OMB               Office of Management and Budget
OPAP              Overseas Presence Advisory Panel
USAID             United States Agency for International Development




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Page ii                                                   GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   April 7, 2003

                                   The Honorable Christopher Shays
                                   Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security,
                                     Emerging Threats, and International Relations,
                                   Committee on Government Reform
                                   House of Representatives

                                   Dear Mr. Chairman:

                                   Since the mid-1990s, GAO has highlighted the need for the Department of
                                   State and other agencies to establish a systematic process for determining
                                   their overseas staffing levels.1 Shortly after the 1998 bombings of two U.S.
                                   embassies in East Africa, two high level independent groups called for the
                                   reassessment of staffing levels at U.S. embassies and consulates. In August
                                   2001, the President’s Management Agenda directed all agencies to
                                   “rightsize” their overseas presence to the minimum necessary to meet U.S.
                                   foreign policy goals. To support the long-standing need for a successful
                                   rightsizing initiative, in 2002 we developed a framework that identifies
                                   critical elements of embassy operations—physical security, mission
                                   priorities and requirements, and cost—and also includes rightsizing
                                   options for consideration.2 Each element contains a set of corresponding
                                   questions for rightsizing the overseas workforce.3 The questions provide a
                                   basis for decision makers to systematically link the elements of security,
                                   mission, and cost to embassy staffing levels and requirements. The


                                   1
                                   U.S. General Accounting Office, Overseas Staffing: U.S. Government Diplomatic Presence
                                   Abroad, GAO/T-NSIAD-95-136 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 6, 1995). U.S. General Accounting
                                   Office, State Department: Overseas Staffing Process Not Linked to Policy Priorities,
                                   GAO/NSIAD-94-228 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 20, 1994), and U.S. General Accounting Office,
                                   Overseas Presence: Staffing at U.S. Diplomatic Posts, GAO/NSIAD-95-50S (Washington,
                                   D.C.: Dec. 28, 1994).
                                   2
                                    We presented our framework in testimony in May 2002 and in a report issued in July 2002.
                                   U.S. General Accounting Office, Overseas Presence: Observations on a Rightsizing
                                   Framework, GAO-02-659T (Washington, D.C.: May 1, 2002), and Overseas Presence:
                                   Framework for Assessing Embassy Staff Levels Can Support Rightsizing Initiatives,
                                   GAO-02-780 (Washington, D.C.: July 26, 2002).
                                   3
                                    We defined rightsizing as aligning the number and location of staff assigned overseas with
                                   foreign policy priorities and security and other constraints. Rightsizing may result in the
                                   addition or reduction of staff, or a change in the mix of staff. The Department of State
                                   agreed with this definition.



                                   Page 1                                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
framework also includes questions on rightsizing options, including
relocating staff to the United States or to regional centers, and
competitively sourcing4 certain functions.5 (See app. II for the rightsizing
framework and corresponding questions.) After responding to the
questions, decision makers should then be in a position to determine
whether rightsizing actions are needed to add, reduce, or change the staff
mix at an embassy, and to consider rightsizing options.

Our July 2002 report recommended that the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) use our framework to support the administration’s
rightsizing initiatives, starting with its assessments of staffing levels and
rightsizing options at posts in Europe and Eurasia.6 OMB said the
framework would serve as a valuable starting point for rightsizing
embassies. However, because the questions were developed primarily
based on our work at the U.S. embassy in Paris, OMB was not confident
that the questions could be uniformly applied at all posts worldwide. In
response to OMB’s concerns, you requested that we determine whether
the questions could be applied at U.S. embassies in developing countries.

This report presents the results of our work at three U.S. embassies we
visited in West Africa—the medium-sized post in Dakar, Senegal; and two
small embassies in Banjul, The Gambia; and Nouakchott, Mauritania. The
objective of our work at these embassies was to determine whether our
rightsizing framework is applicable at U.S. embassies in developing
countries. To accomplish this objective, we applied the questions to each
post in West Africa by reviewing embassy planning and requirements
documents and by interviewing embassy managers and officials in the
Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs regarding each embassy’s
security, mission, cost, and rightsizing options. We also discussed security
issues at those posts with officials in State’s Bureau of Diplomatic
Security. In addition, we met with officials in State’s Bureau of East Asian
and Pacific Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to discuss the
potential applicability of the framework at posts in other developing
countries.



4
 Competitive sourcing involves using competition to determine whether a commercial
activity should be performed by government personnel or contractors.
5
 GAO encourages decision makers to also formulate additional questions to the framework
as needed.
6
GAO-02-780.




Page 2                                                  GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                   Our analysis of the three embassies we visited indicates that the
Results in Brief   rightsizing framework can be applied at U.S. embassies in developing
                   countries. Officials at each embassy agreed that answering these questions
                   could systematically help identify the trade-offs and options that should be
                   considered in determining staffing levels. For example, responses to the
                   questions highlighted deficiencies in physical security that need to be
                   weighed against proposed staff increases; identified deficiencies in cost
                   data needed to make sound staffing decisions; and identified potential
                   rightsizing options, such as better defining regional responsibilities and
                   related staffing requirements, streamlining support functions, and
                   assessing the feasibility of competitively sourcing goods and services.
                   Officials in State’s Bureau of African Affairs and other regional bureaus
                   agreed that a broad application of the framework and its corresponding
                   questions would provide a logical and commonsense approach to
                   systematically considering rightsizing issues in developed and developing
                   countries and that it can be adjusted as necessary to address emerging
                   rightsizing conditions. Currently, most agencies operating overseas do not
                   systematically address rightsizing as a policy or management issue. The
                   rightsizing issues related to security, mission, and cost, and options such
                   as competitively sourcing or relocating staff, are addressed only in a
                   fragmented manner, not specifically as part of the embassies’ planning
                   process.

                   As a result of our work, we are recommending that the Director of OMB, in
                   coordination with the Secretary of State, expand the use of our framework
                   in assessing staffing levels at all U.S. embassies and consulates. We are
                   also recommending that the Secretary of State include the framework as
                   part of the Department of State’s mission performance planning process.
                   OMB agreed with our findings and recommendations and stated that our
                   framework may serve as a valuable base for the development of a broader
                   methodology that can be applied worldwide. The Department of State
                   generally agreed with our recommendations and said that they welcome
                   our work on developing a rightsizing framework. The Department of State
                   also said that the framework’s questions provide a good foundation for it
                   to proceed in working with OMB and other agencies to improve the
                   process for determining overseas staffing levels. In addition, the
                   Department of State said that it plans to incorporate elements of our
                   rightsizing framework into future mission performance planning.




                   Page 3                                           GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
             In our reviews of embassy staffing issues during the 1990s, we found that
Background   the Department of State and some other agencies operating overseas
             lacked clear criteria for staffing overseas embassies.7 Other reviews
             reached similar conclusions. In early 1999, the Accountability Review
             Boards that investigated the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East
             Africa concluded that the United States should consider adjusting the size
             of its embassies and consulates to reduce security vulnerabilities.8 Later
             that year, the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel (OPAP) recommended
             that rightsizing be a key strategy to improve security and reduce operating
             costs.9 In August 2001, President Bush announced that achieving a
             rightsized overseas presence was one of his 14 management priorities. The
             September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States added impetus for
             this initiative. In May 2002, we testified before the Subcommittee on
             National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, House
             Committee on Government Reform, on a proposed framework for
             determining the appropriate number of staff to be assigned to a U.S.
             embassy.

             To further assess the applicability of GAO’s rightsizing framework, we
             selected the embassies in Dakar, Senegal; Banjul, The Gambia; and
             Nouakchott, Mauritania. We selected these embassies based on OMB’s
             questions about whether our framework can be uniformly applied at all
             posts, and because experts suggest that rightsizing in Africa is a significant
             challenge. The embassy in Dakar is a medium-sized post that provides
             regional support to several embassies including Cape Verde, Guinea, The
             Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone. Embassy Dakar has about 90
             direct-hire Americans and 350 local hires working in seven U.S. agencies.




             7
             GAO/T-NSIAD-95-136, GAO/NSIAD-95-50FS, and GAO/NSIAD-94-228.
             8
              Former Secretary of State Albright appointed the Accountability Review Boards to
             investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the 1998 embassy bombings in East
             Africa. Department of State, Report of the Accountability Review Boards on the Embassy
             Bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam (Washington, D.C.: January 1999).
             9
              Former Secretary of State Albright established the panel following the 1998 embassy
             bombings in Africa to consider the organization of U.S. embassies and consulates.
             Department of State, America’s Overseas Presence in the 21st Century, The Report of the
             Overseas Presence Advisory Panel (Washington, D.C.: November 1999).




             Page 4                                                  GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                             Embassy Banjul is a special embassy program10 post with 7 American
                             direct hires and about 65 local hires. Embassy Nouakchott is also a special
                             embassy program post with 14 American direct hires and about 42 local
                             hires.


                             Our work at the three posts in West Africa further demonstrated that our
Rightsizing                  framework and corresponding questions can provide a systematic
Framework Can Be             approach for assessing overseas workforce size and identifying options for
                             rightsizing in developing countries. We identified examples of the specific
Applied and Used to          security, mission, and cost issues at each post, which, when considered
Highlight Specific           collectively, highlighted staffing issues and rightsizing options to consider.
                             (See app. I for more details on our findings at each of the embassies.)
Issues at Each
Embassy

Physical and Technical       The ability to protect personnel should be a critical factor in determining
Security of Facilities and   embassy staffing levels. Recurring security threats to embassies and
Employees                    consulates further highlight the importance of rightsizing as a tool to
                             minimize the number of embassy employees at risk. Our security questions
                             address a broad range of issues, including the security of embassy
                             buildings, the use of existing secure space, and the vulnerabilities of staff
                             to terrorist attack. Officials at the embassies in Dakar, Banjul, and
                             Nouakchott agreed that security vulnerability should be a key concern in
                             determining the size and composition of staffing levels at the posts and
                             should be addressed in conjunction with the other rightsizing elements of
                             mission and cost.

                             Each post has undergone security upgrades since the 1998 embassy
                             bombings to address deficiencies and ensure better security.11 However,



                             10
                              The Department of State implemented the special embassy program to preclude growth at
                             posts abroad where U.S. interests are limited, to permit posts with limited resources to
                             concentrate on essential objectives by relieving them of lower priority work and to simplify
                             and streamline operations so that posts can operate more effectively and efficiently.
                             Embassies are designated as special embassy programs if they have 30 or fewer U.S. citizen
                             direct-hire positions or 15 or fewer direct-hire Department of State positions.
                             11
                               The Department of State assesses security requirements at each overseas post based on
                             standards in such categories as perimeter walls and fences, facility setback, building
                             material and blast protection, compound accessibility, defense barriers, and other key
                             elements of security.




                             Page 5                                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                               until facilities are replaced as part of the long-term construction plan, most
                               will not meet security standards. For example, many buildings at overseas
                               posts do not meet the security setback requirement.12 At the Dakar post,
                               responses to the framework’s security questions identified significant
                               limitations in facility security and office space that likely limit the number
                               of additional staff that could be adequately protected in the embassy
                               compound. This is a significant issue for the embassy in Dakar given its
                               expanding regional role and projected increases in staffing to
                               accommodate visa workload and increasing personnel at non-State
                               agencies, as well as because planned construction of a new secure
                               embassy compound will not be completed until at least 2007. In contrast,
                               Embassy Banjul has unused office space that could accommodate
                               additional staff within the embassy compound. Although U.S. interests are
                               limited in The Gambia, a staff increase could be accommodated if decision
                               makers determine that additional staff are needed as a result of answering
                               the framework’s questions. In Nouakchott, existing space is limited but
                               adequate. However, officials raised concerns about the security risks
                               associated with the expected increase in personnel on the compound.


Mission Priorities and Staff   The placement and composition of staff overseas must reflect the highest
Requirements                   priority goals of U.S. foreign policy. Questions in this section of our
                               framework include assessing the overall justification of agency staffing
                               levels in relation to embassy priorities and the extent to which it is
                               necessary for each agency to maintain or change its presence in a country,
                               given the scope of its responsibilities and its mission. Related questions
                               include asking if each agency’s mission reinforces embassy priorities and
                               if an agency’s mission could be pursued in other ways. Responses to the
                               questions showed that there are key management systems for controlling
                               and planning staffing levels currently in use at overseas posts, but they are
                               not designed or used to systematically address these staffing, priority, and
                               mission issues.

                               One such management system is the National Security Decision Directive-
                               38 (NSDD-38). NSDD-38 is a long-standing directive that requires non-State
                               agencies to seek approval by chiefs of missions on any proposed changes




                               12
                                 Department of State’s security requirement (12 FAH-6 H-111.4) states that existing
                               chanceries or consulates must have a standoff distance of 100 feet between the protected
                               side of the perimeter barrier and the building exterior.




                               Page 6                                                    GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
in staff.13 NSDD-38 does not, however, direct the Chief of Mission to
initiate an assessment of an agency’s overall presence. The Overseas
Presence Advisory Panel reported that the directive is not designed to
enable ambassadors to make decisions on each new agency position in a
coordinated, interagency plan for U.S. operations at a post.14 Post officials
agreed that the NSDD-38 system has only limited usefulness for controlling
staffing levels and achieving rightsizing objectives.

Another management system is the Department of State’s Mission
Performance Plan (MPP). The MPP is the primary planning document for
each overseas post.15 State’s MPP process has been strengthened
significantly to require each embassy to set its top priorities and link
staffing and workload requirements to those priorities. However, the MPP
does not address rightsizing as a management issue or provide full
guidance to posts for assessing overall staffing levels, by agency, in
relation to a post’s mission. At the three posts we visited, staffing requests
were addressed in the MPPs in the context of each post’s mission
performance goals; however, these documents did not address the security
and cost trade-offs associated with making such staffing changes. In
addition, Embassy Dakar has an increasing regional role, which is not
sufficiently addressed in the MPP.

Finally, the Department of State’s Overseas Staffing Model provides
guidance for State in assigning its full-time American direct hire staff to
posts, but it does not include comprehensive guidance on linking staffing
levels to security, workload requirements, cost, and other elements of
rightsizing. It also does not provide guidance on staffing levels for foreign
service nationals or for other agencies at a post.

Using various methods for addressing staffing and other key resource
requirements is not effective in planning for or controlling growth. The


13
 The directive requires U.S. government agencies operating under the authority of Chiefs
of Mission (usually an ambassador) to seek approval by the post’s Chief of Mission on any
proposed changes in the size, composition, or mandate of their staff.
14                                                                   st
 U.S. Department of State, America’s Overseas Presence in the 21 Century: The Report
of the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel (Washington, D.C.: November 1999).
15
  MPPs are authoritative U.S. government strategy documents prepared annually and
covering all agencies at a post on the basis of the goals set forth in the Department of State
Strategic Plan and the International Affairs Strategic Plan. The MPP sets priorities and
makes requests for staff and other resources, and ensures consistency among agencies in
country and with Washington headquarters.




Page 7                                                       GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                     Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Dakar agreed, as this has resulted in
                     growth beyond the post’s capacity. Specifically, The Department of State
                     has added at least seven American direct-hire positions to the post, and
                     non-State agencies operating in Dakar have added another six positions
                     over the last year. In addition, post officials project more increases in
                     personnel by fiscal year 2004 to accommodate other agencies interested in
                     working out of Dakar. Post officials agreed that a more systematic and
                     comprehensive approach might improve the post’s ability to plan for and
                     control growth.

                     Responses to the framework’s questions by Banjul and Dakar consular
                     officers also indicated that they could further explore processing all
                     nonimmigrant visas from the Dakar post, particularly since Dakar has
                     done so in the past on a temporary basis. Neither post’s MPP discussed the
                     possibility of covering these functions on a regional basis from Dakar, yet
                     doing so would relieve Banjul’s consular officer from processing
                     nonimmigrant visas, thereby allowing more time for political and
                     economic reporting. Thus, the post might not need to request a junior
                     officer to handle such reporting. However, Banjul post officials said this
                     arrangement would not be feasible for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless,
                     their assessment illustrates the importance of weighing the benefits and
                     trade-offs of exercising rightsizing options. Officials at both posts also
                     agreed that applying the rightsizing questions, as part of the post’s annual
                     MPP process, would result in an improved and more systematic approach
                     for addressing rightsizing issues.


Cost of Operations   The cost section of our framework includes questions that involve
                     developing and consolidating cost information from all agencies at a
                     particular embassy to permit cost-based decision-making. Without
                     comprehensive cost data, decision makers cannot determine the
                     correlation between costs and the work being performed, nor can they
                     assess the short- and long-term costs associated with feasible business
                     alternatives.

                     At all of the posts, we found there was no mechanism to provide the
                     ambassador or other decision makers with comprehensive data on State’s
                     and other agencies’ cost of operations. For example, complete budget data
                     that reflect the cost of employee salaries and benefits and certain
                     information management expenses for each agency at post were not




                     Page 8                                           GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                          available. Further, we found that embassy profile reports maintained by
                          State’s Bureau of Administration contained incomplete and inaccurate
                          information for each embassy’s funding levels and sources.16 Officials at
                          each post agreed that it is difficult to discern overall costs because data
                          are incomplete and fragmented across funding sources, thereby making it
                          difficult for decision makers to justify staffing levels in relation to overall
                          post costs.17

                          In view of Embassy Dakar’s plans to expand its regional responsibilities,
                          embassy officials said it would be beneficial to document and justify the
                          cost effectiveness of providing support to posts in the region. The type of
                          support can be substantial and can have significant implications for
                          planning future staffing and other resource requirements. For example,
                          Embassy Nouakchott relies heavily on Embassy Dakar for budget and
                          fiscal support, security engineering, public affairs, medical/medevac
                          services, and procurement/purchasing, in addition to temporary
                          warehousing for certain goods.

                          OMB and the Department of State recognize that lack of cost-based
                          decision-making is a long-standing problem. As part of the President’s
                          Management Agenda, they are working to better identify the full operating
                          costs at individual posts and improve cost accounting mechanisms for
                          overseas presence.


Consideration of          Our work demonstrates that responses to our questions could be used to
Rightsizing Actions and   identify and exercise rightsizing actions and options, such as adjusting
Other Options             staffing requirements, competitively sourcing certain commercial goods
                          and services, and streamlining warehousing operations. Examples of
                          identifying and exercising rightsizing options include the following:




                          16
                           Each post we visited generated a post profile report from State’s intranet Web site. The
                          reports contain staffing and other key data on posts, including Department of State funding
                          and allotments. However, in all three cases, cost data were inaccurate or incomplete. The
                          reports also lacked comprehensive cost data on State’s operations and other agencies’
                          programs.
                          17
                            For the purposes of our work, comprehensive costs include salaries and benefits, travel,
                          allowances, housing, International Cooperative Administrative Support Services, office
                          furnishings and equipment, information management, transportation, diplomatic security,
                          representation, other miscellaneous costs, and total costs of each agency operating at a
                          post.




                          Page 9                                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
•   Embassy space and security limitations in Dakar suggest that planned
    increases in staff levels may not be feasible. If Embassy Dakar used our
    framework to complete a full and comprehensive analysis of its regional
    capabilities, in conjunction with analyses of mission priorities and
    requirements of other embassies in West Africa, then staffing levels could
    be adjusted at some of the posts in the region. One rightsizing option
    includes having Embassy Banjul’s visa services handled from Dakar.

•   The general services officers at the Dakar and Banjul posts agreed that our
    framework could be used to identify competitive sourcing opportunities in
    their locations. One rightsizing option includes assessing the feasibility of
    competitively sourcing the work of currently employed painters,
    upholsterers, electricians, and others to yield cost savings and reduce staff
    requirements. This could have a particularly significant impact at the
    Dakar post, which employs more than 70 staff who are working in these
    types of positions.18

•   The Dakar and Banjul embassies operate substantial warehousing and
    maintenance complexes. Post officials said that operations and staffing
    requirements at these government-owned facilities could be potentially
    streamlined in a number of areas. The Department of State and other
    agencies maintain separate nonexpendable properties, such as furniture
    and appliances in Dakar, while the Department of State and Peace Corps
    maintain their own warehouses in the same compound in Banjul.
    Department of State logistics managers and post general services
    personnel agree that pooling such items could potentially reduce overall
    inventories, costs, and staffing requirements.19

    Relocating staff, competitively sourcing goods and services, and other
    rightsizing options should be based on a full feasibility and cost analysis,
    and thus we are not recommending them in this report. However, such
    rightsizing options deserve consideration, particularly in view of Embassy
    Dakar’s concerns about how to manage anticipated increasing
    regionalization, the general security threats to embassies around the



    18
      During our work at the embassy in Paris, we identified as many as 50 positions at the post
    that are commercial in nature and responsible for providing services or goods that have the
    potential to be competitively sourced to the private sector or performed at another
    location.
    19
     We found similar conditions at the U.S. embassy in Paris, where household appliances
    and furniture were maintained separately by agency and consolidating inventories could
    potentially reduce staffing and other resource requirements.




    Page 10                                                    GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                          world, and the President’s Management Agenda’s emphasis on reducing
                          costs of overseas operations.


Framework’s Questions     The need for a systematic approach to rightsizing the U.S. overseas
Provide a Systematic      presence has been a recurring theme in developing our framework. We
Approach to Rightsizing   have noted that the criteria for assigning staff to individual overseas posts
                          vary significantly by agency and that agencies do not fully and collectively
                          consider embassy security, mission priorities, and workload requirements.
                          At the three embassies we visited in West Africa, we found that rightsizing
                          issues have not been systematically assessed as part of the embassy
                          management and planning process. However, The Department of State has
                          taken several steps that help lay the groundwork for such a process by
                          refining its overseas post MPP guidance. That guidance, applicable to
                          posts in all countries, was recently strengthened and now directs each
                          embassy to set five top priorities and link staffing and workload
                          requirements to fulfilling those priorities. Chiefs of Mission also certify
                          that the performance goals in their MPPs accurately reflect the highest
                          priorities of their embassies. This is consistent with questions in our
                          framework addressing program priorities. The guidance does not,
                          however, identify rightsizing as a management goal or explicitly discuss
                          how rightsizing issues of security, mission, cost, and options should be
                          addressed. For example, it does not ask embassies to formally consider
                          the extent to which it is necessary for each agency to maintain its current
                          presence in country, or to consider relocation to the United States or
                          regional centers, given the scope of each embassies’ responsibilities and
                          missions.

                          Officials at the posts in West Africa generally agreed that applying the
                          framework and corresponding questions could result in an improved and
                          more systematic approach to rightsizing. They agreed that the framework
                          can be adjusted to consider emerging rightsizing issues and staffing
                          conditions. For example, at Embassy Dakar, the regional security officer
                          suggested including a question addressing the capacity of the host country
                          police, military, and intelligence services as part of the physical and
                          technical security section. Other officials suggested including a question
                          regarding the extent to which health conditions in the host country might
                          limit the number of employees that should be assigned to a post.

                          Officials in the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs generally
                          agreed that applying our questions provides a logical basis for
                          systematically addressing rightsizing issues. They agreed it is important
                          that the Department of State and other agencies consider staffing issues


                          Page 11                                          GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                         based on a common set of criteria, for both existing embassies and future
                         facilities. Officials in the Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and
                         Pacific Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs also agreed that the
                         security, mission, cost, and option elements of the framework provide a
                         logical basis for planning and making rightsizing decisions. They also
                         believed that rightsizing analyses would be most effective if the framework
                         were adopted as a part of the Department of State’s MPP process.


                         Our rightsizing framework and its corresponding questions can be applied
Conclusions              to embassies in developing countries and help decision makers
                         collectively focus on security, mission, and cost trade-offs associated with
                         staffing levels and rightsizing options. The rightsizing questions
                         systematically provide embassy and agency decision makers a common
                         set of criteria and a logical approach for coordinating and determining
                         staffing levels at U.S. diplomatic posts. We recognize that the framework
                         and its questions are a starting point and that modification of the questions
                         may be considered in future planning, as appropriate. The Department of
                         State’s MPP process has been strengthened and addresses some of the
                         rightsizing questions in our framework. In particular, it better addresses
                         embassy priorities, a key factor in our rightsizing framework. However,
                         the mission planning process neither specifically addresses embassy
                         rightsizing as a policy or critical management issue nor calls for
                         assessments of related security and cost issues affecting all agencies
                         operating at overseas posts.


                         In keeping with the administration’s rightsizing initiative, we are
Recommendations for      recommending that
Executive Action
                     •   the Director of OMB, in coordination with the Secretary of State, ensure
                         that application of our framework be expanded as a basis for assessing
                         staffing levels at embassies and consulates worldwide; and

                     •   the Secretary of State adopt the framework as part of the embassy Mission
                         Performance Planning process to ensure participation of all agencies at
                         posts and the use of comparable criteria to address security, mission, cost
                         issues, and rightsizing options.


                         OMB and The Department of State provided written comments on a draft
Agency Comments          of this report (see apps. III and IV). OMB said that it agrees with our
and Our Evaluation       findings and recommendations and stated that our framework may serve



                         Page 12                                           GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
              as a valuable base for the development of a broader methodology that can
              be applied worldwide. OMB agreed that security, mission, and cost are key
              elements to consider in making rightsizing decisions. In addition, OMB
              noted that workload requirements, options for information technology,
              regionalization possibilities, and competitive sourcing opportunities
              should be considered in order to adapt the methodology to fit each post.

              The Department of State generally agreed with our recommendations and
              said that it welcomed GAO’s work on developing a rightsizing framework.
              The Department of State said that the rightsizing questions provide a good
              foundation for it to proceed in working with OMB and other agencies to
              improve the process for determining overseas staffing levels. The
              Department of State noted that some elements of the framework are
              already being undertaken and that it plans to incorporate additional
              elements of our rightsizing questions into its future planning processes,
              including the MPP. Department of State comments are reprinted in
              appendix IV. The Department of State also provided technical comments,
              which we have incorporated into the report where appropriate.


              To determine the extent to which our framework’s questions are
Scope and     applicable in developing regions, we visited three West African
Methodology   embassies—Dakar, Senegal; Banjul, The Gambia; and Nouakchott,
              Mauritania. At all posts, we spoke with regional security officers, in
              addition to ambassadors and other post officials, regarding the security
              status of their embassies and related security concerns. At all locations,
              we reviewed the applicability of the mission priorities and requirements
              section of the framework by asking the ambassadors, deputy chiefs of
              mission, administrative officers, consular officers, and general services
              officers to answer key questions in that section. To assess the usefulness
              of the cost section, we spoke with the same officers, in addition to
              Embassy Dakar’s financial management officer who provides regional
              support to both Banjul and Nouakchott. We also discussed with key
              officials whether opportunities exist to exercise certain rightsizing options
              such as competitively sourcing post goods and services or streamlining
              embassy functions that are commercial in nature. In addition, we
              interviewed Bureau of African Affairs executive officers, officials in the
              Bureau of Diplomatic Security in Washington, D.C., and the heads of key
              agencies operating in each country. Specifically, in Dakar we interviewed
              the Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Agency for International
              Development (USAID) and the U.S. Treasury representative. In Banjul and
              Nouakchott, we interviewed the Directors of Peace Corps. We also met
              with officials in the executive offices of the Department of State’s Bureau


              Page 13                                          GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to
determine the applicability of the framework in those regions.

We conducted our work from October 2002 through January 2003 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


We are sending copies of this report to other interested members of
Congress. We are also sending copies of this report to the Director of OMB
and the Secretary of State. We also will make copies available to others
upon request. In addition, the report will also be available at no charge on
the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact me
on (202) 512-4128 or John Brummet on (202) 512-5260. In addition to the
persons named above, Janey Cohen, Lynn Moore, Ann M. Ulrich, and
Joseph Zamoyta made key contributions to this report.

Sincerely yours,




Jess T. Ford
Director, International Affairs and Trade




Page 14                                          GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                      Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West
                      Posts



African Posts

                      This appendix provides detailed information on the responses to the
                      rightsizing questions in our framework at the embassies in Dakar, Senegal;
                      Banjul, The Gambia; and Nouakchott, Mauritania. Specific rightsizing
                      issues, actions, and options for consideration are highlighted.


                      Prior to the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa, U.S. diplomatic
Dakar: Physical and   facilities in Dakar1 had serious physical security vulnerabilities, including
Technical Security    insufficient setbacks at most office buildings, including the chancery.
                      Since 1998, many steps have been taken to ensure better security
                      throughout the post. Important steps included (1) the relocation of the
                      U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to a more secure
                      location, (2) host-country cooperation for embassy-only traffic on the four
                      streets surrounding the embassy’s main building, (3) the renovation and
                      expansion of a more secure “waiting facility” for the consular affairs
                      section, and (4) an increase in surveillance and detection units for the
                      entire compound and employee residences.

                      Although security at the Dakar post is now characterized as “good” for the
                      current number of personnel, embassy officials cautioned that actions by
                      Senegalese authorities to close off streets adjacent to the embassy are
                      temporary measures that could be reversed at any time. In addition, the
                      office space in the chancery can only accommodate a slight increase in
                      personnel. Officials said that adding personnel to the post would aggravate
                      certain security concerns.


                      Embassy Dakar increasingly has more regional responsibilities and there
Dakar: Mission        are significant pressures to assign more personnel to Dakar—a situation
Priorities and        that has been exacerbated as a result of the recently ordered departure
                      status at the U.S. embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.2 The Dakar post now
Requirements          has about 90 American direct-hire personnel and 350 local hires. Staff
                      projections over the next two fiscal years indicate an increase in staffing at


                      1
                       The Dakar post includes three main embassy office buildings, separate USAID and Peace
                      Corps compounds, and a separate warehousing compound that includes a repair and
                      maintenance facility. Two U.S. Department of Treasury personnel work in the Central Bank
                      of West African States building.
                      2
                       In October 2002, based on the fighting between rebel elements and Ivoirian government
                      forces, the Department of State ordered U.S. government personnel in nonemergency
                      positions and family members of all U.S. government personnel in Cote d’Ivoire to leave the
                      country.




                      Page 15                                                   GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                 Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                 Posts




                 the embassy for additional agencies, such as the Centers for Disease
                 Control and Prevention and the Departments of Agriculture and Homeland
                 Security, and the possible transfer of Foreign Commercial Service
                 employees from the embassy in Abidjan. In addition, the Dakar consular
                 section will be increasing its consular officers for visa purposes from two
                 to four and may need additional staff in the future. As a result of
                 increasing regional responsibilities and more personnel, Embassy Dakar
                 may require additional Department of State support personnel as well.

                 In spite of Dakar’s increasing regional role and responsibilities, the post
                 has difficulty attracting and retaining experienced foreign service officers.
                 Embassy officials indicated that senior foreign service officers perceive
                 the post as having a relatively high cost of living, a low pay differential,
                 and no available consumables. Hence, many key positions are filled with
                 inexperienced junior staff, placing constraints on some offices in carrying
                 out their mission.3


                 Comprehensive information was not available to identify the total annual
Dakar: Cost of   operating costs for Embassy Dakar or for each agency at the post. Cost
Operations       data were incomplete and fragmented. For example, embassy budget
                 personnel estimated operating costs of at least $7.7 million, not including
                 American employee salaries or allowances. Available Bureau of African
                 Affairs budget data for the post estimated fiscal year 2003 operating costs
                 of at least $6 million, including State’s public diplomacy costs, post
                 administered costs, and International Cooperative Administrative Support
                 Services4 expenses, but these costs did not reflect the salaries and benefits
                 of Department of State and other U.S. agency American employees and the
                 State bureau allotments, such as for diplomatic security. If all costs were
                 included in a comprehensive budget, the total annual operating costs at
                 the post would be significantly higher than both estimates. Post and
                 Bureau officials agreed that fragmented and incomplete cost data make it


                 3
                  In June 2002, we reported that diplomatic programs and management controls at hardship
                 posts could be vulnerable due to staffing shortfalls, and posts’ ability to carry out U.S.
                 foreign policy objectives effectively could be weakened. U.S. General Accounting Office,
                 Staffing Shortfalls and Ineffective Assignment System Compromise Diplomatic
                 Readiness at Hardship Posts, GAO-02-626 (Washington, D.C.: June 2002).
                 4
                  The International Cooperative Administrative Support Services system is the U.S.
                 government’s system for providing and sharing the cost of common administrative support
                 at its diplomatic and consular posts.




                 Page 16                                                   GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                         Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                         Posts




                         difficult for them to systematically and collectively approach rightsizing
                         initiatives and consider the relative cost-effectiveness of rightsizing
                         options.


                         Responses to the framework’s questions regarding rightsizing actions and
Dakar: Consideration     other options at Embassy Dakar highlighted the impact of security
of Rightsizing Actions   conditions on anticipated staffing increases and the need to define and
                         document the embassy’s growing regional responsibilities as part of the
and Options              MPP process. They also highlighted potential opportunities for
                         competitively sourcing certain embassy services to the private sector, as
                         well as opportunities for streamlining warehouse operations. Embassy
                         officials are reluctant to purchase commercial goods and services from the
                         local economy due to quality and reliability concerns, and thus they
                         employ a large number of direct-hire personnel to maintain and provide all
                         post goods and services. If goods and services were competitively sourced
                         to the local economy, the number of direct hires and costs could possibly
                         be reduced. Opportunities also exist for streamlining Embassy Dakar’s
                         warehousing operations, which could yield cost savings.

                         The left box of figure 1 summarizes the main rightsizing issues that were
                         raised at Embassy Dakar in response to the framework’s questions. The
                         box on the right side identifies possible corresponding rightsizing actions
                         and other options post decision makers could consider when collectively
                         assessing their rightsizing issues.




                         Page 17                                          GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                                                          Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                                                          Posts




Figure 1: Applying the Rightsizing Framework in Dakar, Senegal

 Rightsizing elements                                                                 Rightsizing actions and other options to consider

     Physical and technical security of facilities
     and employees:
        Security of embassy office buildings                                               Limit staff growth on the basis of existing
         upgraded, but buildings still do not meet                                           security and space issues until a new office
         standards.                                                                          building is complete and/or accelerate plans
        Security limitations of office buildings could                                      for a new building.
         limit growth in numbers of staff and expansion                                     Define and document regional
         of post responsibilities.                                                           responsibilities and performance indicators
                                                                                             as part of the MPP process.
     Mission priorities and requirements:                                                   Assign more experienced officers to post.
        MPP defines bilateral responsibilities and                                         Assess feasibility of competitively sourcing
         performance indicators, but not growth and                                          key support operations that are commercial
         regional responsibilities.                                                          in nature, such as warehousing and
        Post has large number of direct hire personnel                                      maintenance.
         devoted to support operations that are                                             Determine total cost of operations by
         commercial in nature.                                                               agency, and document as part of post's
        Key positions are becoming hard to fill with                                        MPP, and relate total costs to bilateral and
         sufficiently experienced staff.                                                     regional responsibilities and for justifying
                                                                                             staffing levels.

     Cost of operations:
        Estimate is at least $7.7 million, but
         incomplete, not fully developed in post MPP,
         and not useful for decision-making.




  Source: GAO.




                                                          Page 18                                                            GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                       Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                       Posts




                       Officials at the post in Banjul characterized the compound as having good
Banjul: Physical and   physical security and enough office space to accommodate additional
Technical Security     staff. The post chancery compound is a “lock-and-leave” facility, as it does
                       not have the 24-hour presence of U.S. government personnel. There are
                       two leased vacant residential houses located directly behind the chancery
                       building but separated from the chancery by a dividing wall. Embassy
                       officials in Banjul have proposed buying the houses but explained that it is
                       difficult to justify the cost because the purchase would put the embassy
                       over its allotted number of homes (i.e., giving it nine homes for seven
                       personnel). Some officials have suggested that the houses could be used
                       for temporary duty personnel working at the post. During our work,
                       visiting officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service were
                       using one of the houses to conduct political asylum visa interviews.
                       Usually, however, the houses are vacant. According to the ambassador and
                       the regional security officer, if the vacant houses were to be leased by
                       nonembassy tenants, the chancery’s physical security would be seriously
                       compromised.5 In addition, the regional security officer expressed
                       concerns regarding the training and quality of the security contractor,
                       particularly because the post does not have a Marine detachment to back
                       up the security guards.


                       Much of Embassy Banjul’s resources are devoted to supporting internal
Banjul: Mission        post operations instead of focusing on external goals, such as political
Priorities and         reporting and public diplomacy. For example, more than 60 local hires
                       carry out facilities maintenance and other post support functions while
Requirements           only 3 of the 7 American direct-hire personnel address the post’s 3 main
                       program goals in The Gambia—namely, reinforcing democracy, increasing
                       economic prosperity, and improving the population’s health. Since the
                       consular officer is also responsible for political and economic reporting,
                       the post recently requested one junior officer rotational position to help
                       balance the duties in all three areas. Over the past 2 years the number of
                       nonimmigrant visa applications in Banjul more than doubled—from 1,712
                       applications in March 2000 to 4,635 applications in September 2002—while
                       the percentage of refused applications decreased from a high of 65 percent
                       in September 2000 to a low of 38 percent in September 2002. Post officials
                       said that the lack of a full-time consular officer may impede the post’s



                       5
                        The chancery has a 78-foot setback in front and a more than 100-foot setback on the side
                       with the vacant houses. Without the buffer of the vacant houses, the chancery would have a
                       less than 20-foot setback.




                       Page 19                                                  GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                                        Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                                        Posts




                                        ability to focus on preventing fraudulent visa applications. The post has
                                        also requested one dual-purpose local employee to back up its growing
                                        public diplomacy and security assistance portfolios.


                                        Banjul’s primary post planning document, the MPP, did not include
Banjul: Cost of                         comprehensive data on the total cost of operations. The Bureau of African
Operations                              Affairs’ budget for the post estimated total costs of at least $1.7 million for
                                        fiscal year 2003. However, these estimates did not include American
                                        salaries and other expenses, such as State Bureau allotments.

                                        The left box of figure 2 summarizes the main rightsizing issues that were
                                        raised at Embassy Banjul in response to the framework’s questions. The
                                        box on the right identifies corresponding rightsizing actions and other
                                        options post decision makers could consider when collectively assessing
                                        their rightsizing issues.

Figure 2: Applying the Rightsizing Framework in Banjul, The Gambia




                                        Page 20                                            GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                       Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                       Posts




                       Embassy Nouakchott officials characterize the post compound as having
Nouakchott: Physical   good physical security, which has been upgraded since 1998. However, the
and Technical          chancery does not meet security setback requirements, and compound
                       facilities have security deficiencies.6 Answering the framework’s questions
Security               regarding physical security did not indicate a need to change the number
                       of staff based on existing security conditions at the embassy office
                       buildings. However, embassy officials said that the questions helped
                       highlight the need to consider the security risks and trade-offs associated
                       with expected increases in the number of personnel at post.


                       When asked specific questions regarding mission priorities and
Nouakchott: Mission    requirements, Embassy Nouakchott officials told us that the post has an
Priorities and         adequate number of personnel to meet current mission requirements and
                       priorities but that there are generally few bidders for positions at the post.
Requirements           The Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission emphasized that an increase
                       or decrease of one employee greatly affects how the post accomplishes its
                       mission—more so than at a larger post, such as Dakar. For example, the
                       Regional Security Officer position is vacant and is being covered on a
                       temporary duty basis by Dakar’s Assistant Regional Security Officer. Also,
                       the post currently has no positions for political and public diplomacy
                       officers. One officer may be assigned to multiple positions owing to
                       limited demand for certain services. For example, the Consular Officer at
                       Embassy Nouakchott is also responsible for the duties of a
                       commercial/economic officer. However, the post hopes to add one full-
                       time officer for political and human rights reporting, according to the
                       post’s MPP.


                       Operating costs for the Nouakchott post are not fully documented in the
Nouakchott: Cost of    MPP or used to justify staffing levels. Embassy Nouakchott officials
Operations             roughly estimated total operating costs of about $4 million for fiscal year
                       2003. The Bureau of African Affairs’ budget for the post estimated partial
                       operating costs of only $2.1 million annually, but the estimate did not
                       include American salaries, diplomatic security, and other costs.




                       6
                        The Nouakchott post compound includes administrative buildings, residences, and the
                       American school. The main security concerns for the Nouakchott post include older
                       buildings and inadequate defense barriers. There are plans to assign a Marine detachment
                       to the post for additional security.




                       Page 21                                                  GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                                        Appendix I: Rightsizing Issues at West African
                                        Posts




                                        The left box of figure 3 summarizes the main rightsizing issues that were
                                        raised at Embassy Nouakchott in response to the framework’s questions.
                                        The box on the right side identifies corresponding rightsizing actions and
                                        other options post decision makers could consider when collectively
                                        assessing their rightsizing issues.

Figure 3: Applying the Rightsizing Framework in Nouakchott, Mauritania




                                        Page 22                                          GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                                            Appendix II: Rightsizing Framework and
Appendix II: Rightsizing Framework and      Corresponding Questions



Corresponding Questions


Physical/technical security of facilities and employees
• What is the threat and security profile of the embassy?
• Has the ability to protect personnel been a factor in determining staffing levels at the embassy?
• To what extent are existing office buildings secure?
• Is existing space being optimally utilized?
• Have all practical options for improving the security of facilities been considered?
• Do issues involving facility security put the staff at an unacceptable level of risk or limit mission accomplishment?
                                                                                                a
• What is the capacity level of the host country police, military, and intelligence services?
• Do security vulnerabilities suggest the need to reduce or relocate staff?
• Do health conditions in the host country pose personal security concerns that limit the number of employees that should be
                          b
  assigned to the post?
Mission priorities and requirements
• What are the staffing levels and mission of each agency?
• How do agencies determine embassy staffing levels?
• Is there an adequate justification for the number of employees at each agency compared with the agency’s mission?
• Is there adequate justification for the number of direct hire personnel devoted to support and administrative operations?
                                             c
• What are the priorities of the embassy?
• Does each agency’s mission reinforce embassy priorities?
• To what extent are mission priorities not being sufficiently addressed due to staffing limitations or other impediments?
• To what extent are workload requirements validated and prioritized and is the embassy able to balance them with core functions?
• Do the activities of any agencies overlap?
• Given embassy priorities and the staffing profile, are increases in the number of existing staff or additional agency representation
  needed?
• To what extent is it necessary for each agency to maintain its current presence in country, given the scope of its responsibilities
  and its mission?
      Could an agency’s mission be pursued in other ways?
      Does an agency have regional responsibilities or is its mission entirely focused on the host country?
Cost of operations
• What is the embassy’s total annual operating cost?
• What are the operating costs for each agency at the embassy?
• To what extent are agencies considering the full cost of operations in making staffing decisions?
• To what extent are costs commensurate with overall embassy strategic importance, with agency programs, and with specific
  products and services?
Consideration of rightsizing options
• What are the security, mission, and cost implications of relocating certain functions to the United States, regional centers, or to
  other locations, such as commercial space or host country counterpart agencies?
• To what extent could agency program and/or routine administrative functions (procurement, logistics, and financial management
  functions) be handled from a regional center or other locations?
• Do new technologies and transportation links offer greater opportunities for operational support from other locations?
• Do the host country and regional environments suggest there are options for doing business differently, that is, are there adequate
  transportation and communications links and a vibrant private sector?
• To what extent is it practical to purchase embassy services from the private sector?
• Does the ratio of support staff to program staff at the embassy suggest opportunities for streamlining?
• Can functions be reengineered to provide greater efficiencies and reduce requirements for personnel?




                                            Page 23                                                    GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                                                  Appendix II: Rightsizing Framework and
                                                  Corresponding Questions




 •   Are there best practices of other bilateral embassies or private corporations that could be adapted by the U.S. embassy?
 •   To what extent are there U.S. or host country legal, policy, or procedural obstacles that may impact the feasibility of rightsizing options?
Source: GAO.
                                                  a
                                                      We added this question based on the suggestion of Embassy Dakar’s regional security officer.
                                                  b
                                                  We added this question based on the suggestion of officials at the Office of Management and
                                                  Budget.
                                                  c
                                                      Embassy priorities are the U.S. government priorities in that country.




                                                  Page 24                                                               GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
              Appendix III: Comments from the Office of
Appendix III: Comments from the Office of
              Management and Budget



Management and Budget




              Page 25                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                            Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
Appendix IV: Comments from the
                            of State



Department of State

Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in
the report text appear at
the end of this appendix.




                            Page 26                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
of State




Page 27                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                 Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
                 of State




See comment 1.




                 Page 28                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                 Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
                 of State




See comment 2.




See comment 3.




                 Page 29                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                 Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
                 of State




See comment 4.




See comment 5.




                 Page 30                                     GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
                 Appendix IV: Comments from the Department
                 of State




                 The following are GAO’s comments on the Department of State’s letter
                 dated February 25, 2003.


                 1. We did not set priorities for the elements in the framework that appear
GAO’s Comments      in this report. Moreover, we believe that decision makers need to
                    consider security, mission, and cost collectively in order to weigh the
                    trade-offs associated with staffing levels and rightsizing options.

                 2. We did not imply that there is a problem of exploding growth in
                    overseas staffing levels that needs to be reined in. Our statement that
                    there is a need for a systematic process to determine overseas staffing
                    levels (i.e., rightsizing) was made on the basis that the elements of
                    security, mission, cost, and other rightsizing options are not
                    collectively addressed in a formal process to determine staffing levels
                    at overseas posts. On page 1 of the report, we state that rightsizing may
                    result in the addition, reduction, or change in the mix of staff.

                 3. We modified our report on page 7 to discuss the Overseas Staffing
                    Model.

                 4. We modified our report on pages 6-7 to more accurately describe the
                    National Security Decision Directive-38.

                 5. International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) is
                    only one component of a post’s total overseas costs and include the
                    costs of common administrative support, such as motor pool
                    operations, vehicle maintenance, travel services, mail and messenger
                    services, building operations, information management, and other
                    administrative services. However, this component does not cover all
                    employee salaries and benefits, all housing, office furnishings and
                    equipment, diplomatic security, representation, miscellaneous
                    expenses, and other costs for all agencies operating at a post. Total
                    costs associated with each post need to be considered when overseas
                    staffing decisions are made.




(320125)
                 Page 31                                          GAO-03-396 Overseas Presence
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                         U.S. General Accounting Office
                         441 G Street NW, Room LM
                         Washington, D.C. 20548
                         To order by Phone:     Voice:    (202) 512-6000
                                                TDD:      (202) 512-2537
                                                Fax:      (202) 512-6061


                         Contact:
To Report Fraud,
                         Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm
Waste, and Abuse in      E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov
Federal Programs         Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470


                         Jeff Nelligan, managing director, NelliganJ@gao.gov (202) 512-4800
Public Affairs           U.S. General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149
                         Washington, D.C. 20548