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United States General Accounting Office: 


Before the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and 
International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, House of 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 10:00 a.m. 
Wednesday May 1, 2002: 

Overseas Presence: 

Observations on a Rightsizing Framework: 

Statement of Jess T. Ford: 
Director, International Affairs and Trade: 


Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I am pleased to be here today to discuss our ongoing work on 
rightsizing the U.S. overseas presence. For our purposes, we define 
rightsizing as aligning the number and location of staff assigned to 
U.S. embassies[Footnote 1] with foreign policy priorities and security 
and other constraints. To follow up on our November 2001 report on the 
executive branch's efforts in this area,[Footnote 2] you asked us to 
determine what rightsizing actions may be feasible to reduce costs and 
security vulnerabilities while retaining effectiveness in meeting 
foreign policy objectives. We reviewed reports, including those of the 
Accountability Review Boards,[Footnote 3] the Overseas Presence 
Advisory Panel (OPAP),[Footnote 4] and a State Department-led 
interagency rightsizing committee,[Footnote 5] and we discussed 
overseas staffing issues with officials from the State Department, 
other U.S. agencies operating overseas, and the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB), which is currently implementing the president's 
management initiative to rightsize U.S. embassies. We also performed 
fieldwork at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. We selected this embassy as a 
case study because it is a large embassy that has been the subject of 
substantial rightsizing discussions, including recommendations by the 
former ambassador to France to reduce the number of staff in France by 
about one-half. We will report on this work in more detail later this 

Today I will discuss our preliminary observations on a framework for 
assessing the feasibility of rightsizing the U.S. overseas presence. 
My testimony will also highlight staffing issues we identified at the 
U.S. Embassy in Paris. In addition, I will briefly discuss some of the 
steps needed to implement the framework and the importance of 
developing a mechanism to move the rightsizing process forward while 
ensuring greater transparency and accountability in overseas staffing 


Drawing on our prior and ongoing work, we are developing a framework 
that we believe will provide a foundation for the executive branch to 
assess staffing at embassies and to determine the right number and mix 
of staff. Our framework is designed to link staffing levels to three 
critical elements of overseas operations: (1) physical security and 
real estate, (2) mission priorities and requirements, and (3) 
operational costs. The first element includes analyzing the security 
of embassy buildings, the use of existing secure space, and the 
vulnerabilities of staff to terrorist attack. The amount of secure 
office space may place constraints on the number of staff that should 
be assigned. The second element focuses on assessing priorities and 
workload requirements. The third element involves developing and 
consolidating cost information from all agencies at a particular 
embassy to permit cost-based decision-making. After analyzing the 
three elements, decision makers should then be in a position to 
determine whether rightsizing actions are needed either to add staff, 
reduce staff, or change the staff mix at an embassy. Options for 
reducing staff could include relocating functions to the United States 
or to regional centers and outsourcing functions. We and officials 
from State and OMB believe the basic framework we are developing can 
be applied worldwide. However, additional work is needed to refine the 
elements and to test the framework at embassies in various working 

Our work in Paris illustrates how the framework we are developing 
could affect embassy staffing. Approximately 700 employees from 11 
agencies and their component offices are located in the Paris Embassy 
primary buildings (see appendix II).[Footnote 6] In applying the 
framework to this embassy, we found security, workload, and cost 
issues that need to be considered, including the following: 

* Serious security concerns in at least one embassy building in Paris 
suggest the need to consider staff reductions unless building security 
can be improved. This building is located in the heart of a tourist 
district, on main streets with little or no protective buffer zone. 
Other embassy buildings are also vulnerable. Relocating staff could 
significantly lessen the number of people at risk. 

* It is hard to say with any degree of certainty how many staff are 
needed in Paris. The embassy's goals and Washington's demands are not 
prioritized and each agency uses separate criteria for placing staff 
in Paris. State Department staff at the embassy reported that non-
prioritized workload demands from Washington result in missed 
opportunities for addressing important policy issues. We believe that 
a disciplined and transparent process linking priorities and staffing, 
and a reduction in non-core tasks, could suggest opportunities to 
reduce staffing from the current level of 700. 

* The lack of comprehensive cost data on all agencies' operations, 
which we estimate cost more than $100 million annually in France, and 
the lack of an embassywide budget eliminate the possibility of cost-
based decision-making on staffing. Development of these data would 
help determine the trade-offs associated with various alternative 
approaches to doing business. The U.S. ambassador to France 
acknowledged that lack of cost data was a serious problem. 

Our work in Paris suggests that there are alternatives that could 
reduce the number of staff needed at the embassy, particularly for 
some of the support positions,[Footnote 7] which represent 
approximately one-third of the total number of personnel. Options 
include relocating functions to the United States or to regional 
centers and outsourcing commercial activities. These options may be 
applicable to as many as 210 positions in Paris. The work of about 120 
staff could be relocated to the United States - State already plans to 
relocate the work of more than 100 of these. In addition, the work of 
about 40 other positions could be handled from other locations in 
Europe, while more than 50 other positions are commercial in nature 
and provide services that are available in the private sector. We 
believe these positions should be closely examined. 

Mr. Chairman, development of a framework to assess embassy security, 
mission, and costs and to consider alternative ways of doing business 
is only the first step. Providing greater accountability, 
transparency, and consistency in agencies' overseas staffing decisions 
will require much greater discipline within the executive branch. We 
believe that for the president's management initiative to be fully 
successful, the executive branch will need to develop a mechanism to 
effectively implement a rightsizing framework. Based on our 
discussions with experts and agency officials, options for such a 
mechanism could include (1) establishing a Washington-based 
interagency body to oversee the rightsizing process and ensure 
coordination among the various parties involved; (2) establishing an 
independent commission to consider where more or fewer staff are 
needed and to make recommendations; (3) placing responsibility for 
approving overseas staffing levels within the Executive Office of the 
President; or (4) requiring ambassadors to certify that staffing is 
commensurate with security risks, embassy priorities and requirements, 
and costs. 


Following the 1998 terrorist attacks on our embassies in Dar es 
Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, several investigative efforts 
cited the need for embassy rightsizing. 

* In January 1999, the Accountability Review Boards recommended that 
State look into decreasing the size and number of embassies and 
consulates to reduce employees' vulnerability to attack. 

* To follow up on the boards' recommendations, OPAP reported in 
November 1999 that overseas staffing levels had not been adjusted to 
reflect changing missions and requirements; thus, some embassies were 
too large and some were too small. OPAP said rightsizing was an 
essential component of an overall program to upgrade embassy and 
consulate capabilities, and it recommended that this be a key strategy 
to improve security by reducing the number of staff at risk. OPAP also 
viewed rightsizing as a way to decrease operating costs by as much as 
$380 million annually if a 10 percent worldwide staffing reduction 
could be achieved. The panel recommended creating a permanent 
interagency committee to adopt a methodology to determine the 
appropriate size and locations for the U.S. overseas presence. It also 
suggested a series of actions to adjust overseas presence, including 
relocating some functions to the United States and to regional centers 
where feasible. 

* In response to OPAP's recommendations, in February 2000, President 
Clinton directed the secretary of state to lead an interagency effort 
to (1) develop a methodology for assessing embassy staffing, and (2) 
recommend adjustments, if necessary, to staffing levels at six pilot 
study embassies. While the interagency committee did mention some 
potential areas for staff reductions, our review of its efforts found 
that the committee was not successful in developing such a 
methodology. In fact, the committee concluded that it was impractical 
to develop a standard approach because of differences among embassies; 
however, we reported that the pilot studies had limited value because 
they were conducted without focused, written guidelines, and committee 
members did not spend enough time at each embassy for a thorough 
evaluation.[Footnote 8] 

* In August 2001, The President's Management Agenda[Footnote 9] 
identified rightsizing as one of the administration's priorities. In 
addition, the president's fiscal year 2003 international affairs 
budget[Footnote 10] highlighted the importance of making staffing 
decisions based on mission priorities and costs and directed OMB to 
analyze agencies' overseas staffing and operating costs. 

In addition to citing the importance of examining the U.S. overseas 
presence at a broad level, rightsizing experts have highlighted the 
need for reducing the size of specific embassies. 

* In November 1999, the chairman of OPAP said that rightsizing 
embassies and consulates in western Europe could result in significant 
savings, given their large size. OPAP proposed that flagship posts 
from the cold war be downsized while some posts in other parts of the 
world be expanded. A former undersecretary of state agreed that some 
embassies in western Europe were heavily staffed and that positions 
could be reallocated to meet critical needs at other embassies. 

* A former U.S. ambassador to France - also a member of OPAP - 
testified in April 2000 that the Paris Embassy was larger than needed 
and should be a candidate for substantial staff reductions to lessen 
security vulnerabilities, streamline embassy functions, and decrease 

Proposed Rightsizing Framework: 

Although there is general agreement on the need for rightsizing the 
U.S. overseas presence, there is no consensus on how to do it. As a 
first step, we believe it is feasible to create a framework that 
includes a set of questions to guide decisions on overseas staffing. 
[Footnote 11] We identified three critical elements that should be 
evaluated together as part of this framework: (1) physical security 
and real estate, (2) mission priorities and requirements, and (3) 
operational costs. If the evaluation shows problems, such as security 
risks, decision makers should then consider the feasibility of 
rightsizing options. Figure 1 further illustrates the elements of our 
framework that address desired staffing changes. 
Figure 1: Proposed GAO Framework for Embassy Rightsizing: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

Proposed Framework for Embassy Rightsizing: 

* Physical security and facilities; 
* Mission priorities and requirements; 
* Operational cost. 

* Reduce staff; 
* Adjust staff; 
* Increase staff. 

* Feasibility of: 
- relocating functions to the United States, regional centers, or 
- outsourcing; 
- streamlining; 
* Move staff from overstaffed embassies to understaffed embassies. 
Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

We envision State and other agencies in Washington, D.C., including 
OMB, using our framework as a guide for making overseas staffing 
decisions. For example, State and other agencies could use our 
framework to free up resources at oversized posts, to reallocate 
limited staffing resources worldwide, and to introduce greater 
accountability into the staffing process. We can also see ambassadors 
using this framework to ensure that embassy staffing is in line with 
security concerns, mission priorities and requirements, and costs to 
reduce the number of people at risk. 

The following sections describe in more detail the three elements of 
the framework we are developing, some important questions to consider 
for each element, and potential rightsizing options to be considered. 

Physical Security and Real Estate: 

The substantial loss of life caused by the bombings of the U.S. 
embassies in Africa and the ongoing threats against U.S. diplomatic 
buildings have heightened concern about the safety of our overseas 
personnel. The State Department has determined that about 80 percent 
of embassy and consulate buildings do not fully meet security 
standards. Although State has a multibillion-dollar plan under way to 
address security deficiencies around the world, security enhancements 
cannot bring most existing facilities in line with the desired setback 
and related blast protection requirements. Recurring threats to 
embassies and consulates highlight the importance of rightsizing as a 
tool to reduce the number of embassy employees at risk. 

What Is the Threat and Security Profile of the Embassy? 

The Accountability Review Boards recommended that the secretary of 
state review the security of embassies and consider security in making 
staffing decisions. We agree that the ability to protect personnel 
should be a key factor in determining the staffing levels of 
embassies. State has prepared a threat assessment and security profile 
for each embassy that can be used when assessing staff levels. While 
chiefs of mission[Footnote 12] and the State Department have primary 
responsibility for assessing overseas security needs and allocating 
security resources, all agencies should consider the risks associated 
with maintaining staff overseas. 

What Actions Are Practical to Improve the Security of Facilities? 

There are a variety of ways to improve security including constructing 
new buildings, adding security enhancements to existing buildings, and 
working with host country law enforcement agencies to increase embassy 
protection. In addition, space utilization studies may suggest 
alternatives for locating staff to more secure office buildings or may 
point to other real estate options, such as leasing commercial office 
space. If security and facilities reviews suggest that security 
enhancements, alternative space arrangements, or new secure real 
estate options are impractical, then decision makers should consider 
rightsizing actions. 

The Paris Embassy, our case study, illustrates the importance of 
security and real estate issues in determining overseas staffing 
levels. The security situation in Paris is not good and suggests the 
need to consider reducing staff. None of the embassy's office 
buildings currently meets security standards. One of the buildings is 
particularly vulnerable and staff face a variety of threats. Space 
reengineering and security adjustments to embassy buildings may 
improve security for some embassy staff, but significant 
vulnerabilities will remain even after planned changes are made. 
However, it is difficult to assess the full range of options for the 
embassy in Paris because State does not have a comprehensive plan 
identifying facilities and real estate requirements. If the State 
Department decides it is not feasible to build or lease another office 
building in Paris that would provide better security, then decision 
makers will need to seriously consider relocating staff to reduce the 
number of people at risk. 

Mission Priorities and Requirements: 

The placement and composition of staff overseas must reflect the 
highest priority goals of U.S. foreign policy. Moreover, The 
President's Management Agenda states that U.S. government overseas 
staffing levels should be the minimum necessary to serve U.S. foreign 
policy goals. 

What Are the Priorities of the Embassy? 

Currently, there is no clear basis on which to evaluate an embassy's 
mission and priorities relative to U.S. foreign policy goals. State's 
current Mission Performance Plan[Footnote 13] process does not 
differentiate among the relative importance of U.S. strategic goals. 
In recent months, State has revised the Mission Performance Plan 
process to require each embassy to set five top priorities and link 
staffing and budgetary requirements to fulfilling these priorities. A 
successful delineation of mission priorities will complement the 
framework we are developing and support future rightsizing efforts to 
adjust the composition of embassy staff. 

Are Workload Requirements Validated and Prioritized? 

Embassy requirements include influencing policy of other governments, 
assisting Americans abroad, articulating U.S. policy, handling 
official visitors, and providing input for various reports and 
requests from Washington. In 2000, based on a review of six U.S. 
embassies, the State-led interagency committee found the perception 
that Washington's requirements for reports and other information 
requests were not prioritized and placed unrealistic demands on staff. 
We found this same perception as well among some offices in Paris. We 
believe that scrutiny of workload could potentially identify work of 
low priority such as reporting that has outlived its usefulness. 
Currently, the department monitors and sends incoming requests for 
reports and inquiries to embassies and consulates, but it rarely 
refuses requests and leaves prioritization of workload to the 
respective embassies and consulates. Washington's demands on an 
embassy need to be evaluated in light of how they affect the number of 
staff needed to meet the work requirements. 

How Do Agencies Determine Staffing Levels? 

The President's Management Agenda states that there is no mechanism to 
assess the overall rationale for and effectiveness of where and how 
many U.S. employees are deployed. Each agency in Washington has its 
own criteria for placing staff overseas. Some agencies have more 
flexibility than others in placing staff overseas, and Congress 
mandates the presence of others. Thorough staffing criteria are useful 
for determining and reassessing staffing levels and would allow 
agencies to better justify the number of overseas staff. 

Could an Agency's Mission Be Pursued in Other Ways? 

Some agencies are entirely focused on the host country while others 
have regional responsibilities or function almost entirely outside the 
country in which they are located. Some agencies have constant 
interaction with the public, while others require interaction with 
their government counterparts. Some agencies collaborate with other 
agencies to support the embassy's mission, while others act more 
independently and report directly to Washington. Analyzing where and 
how agencies conduct their business overseas may lead to possible 
rightsizing options. 

Our work in Paris highlights the complexity of rightsizing the U.S. 
overseas presence given the lack of clearly stated mission priorities 
and requirements and demonstrates the need for a more disciplined 
process. It is difficult to assess whether 700 people are needed at 
the embassy because the executive branch has not identified its 
overall priorities and linked them to resources. For example, the 
current Mission Performance Plan for the Paris Embassy includes 15 of 
State's 16 strategic goals. Furthermore, the cumulative effect of 
Washington's demands inhibits some agencies' ability to pursue their 
core missions in Paris. For example, the economics section reported 
that Washington-generated requests resulted in missed opportunities 
for assessing how U.S. private and government interests are affected 
by the many ongoing changes in the European banking system. We also 
found that the criteria to locate staff in Paris vary significantly by 
agency. Some agencies use detailed staffing models but most do not. 
Nor do they consider embassy priorities or the overall requirements on 
the embassy in determining where and how many staff are necessary. In 
addition, some agencies' missions do not require them to be located in 
Paris. Given the security vulnerabilities, it makes sense for these 
agencies to consider rightsizing options. 

Cost of Operations: 

The President's Management Agenda noted that the true costs of sending 
staff overseas are unknown. Without cost data, decision makers cannot 
determine whether a correlation exists between costs and the work 
being performed, nor can they assess the short- and long-term costs 
associated with feasible business alternatives. 

What Are an Embassy's Operating Costs? 

We agree with President Bush that staffing decisions need to include a 
full range of factors affecting the value of U.S. presence in a 
particular country, including the costs of maintaining the embassy. 
Nevertheless, we found there is no mechanism to provide the ambassador 
and other decision makers with comprehensive data on all agencies' 
costs of operations at an embassy. This lack of cost data for 
individual embassies makes linking costs to staffing levels, mission 
priorities, and desired outcomes impossible. This is a long-standing 
management weakness that, according to the president, needs to be 

Are Costs Commensurate With Expected Outcomes? 

Once costs are known, it is important to relate them to the embassy's 
performance. This will allow decision makers to assess the relative 
cost effectiveness of various program and support functions and to 
make cost-based decisions when setting mission priorities and staffing 
levels and when determining the feasibility of alternative business 

Our work in Paris demonstrates that this embassy is operating without 
fundamental knowledge and use of comprehensive cost data. State 
officials concurred that it is difficult to fully record the cost of 
all agencies overseas because of inconsistent accounting and budgeting 
systems. However, we determined that the cost of an embassy's 
operations can be documented, despite difficulties in compiling data 
for the large number of accounts and agencies involved. To collect 
cost information, we developed a template to capture different 
categories of operating costs, such as salaries and benefits, and 
applied the template to each agency at the embassy and at consulates 
and other sites throughout France (see app. III). We have documented 
the total cost for all agencies operating in France in fiscal year 
2001 to be about $100 million. However, the actual cost is likely 
higher because some agencies did not report costs associated with 
staff salaries and benefits and discrepancies exist in the reporting 
of some operating costs. With comprehensive data, the Paris Embassy 
could make cost-based decisions when conducting a rightsizing analysis. 

Consideration of Rightsizing Options: 

Analyses of security, mission, and costs may suggest the assignment of 
more or fewer staff at an embassy or an adjustment to the overall 
staff mix. If decision makers decide that it is necessary to reduce 
staff, rightsizing experts have recommended that embassies consider 
alternative means of fulfilling mission requirements. Moreover, 
President Bush has told U.S. ambassadors that "functions that can be 
performed by personnel in the U.S. or at regional offices overseas 
should not be performed at a post." In considering options, embassy 
officials will also have to weigh the security, mission effectiveness, 
and cost trade-offs. These may include the strategic importance of an 
embassy or the costs of adopting different management practices.
Our analysis highlights five possible options, but this list is not 
exhaustive. These options include: 

* relocating functions to the United States; 

* relocating functions to regional centers; 

* relocating functions to other locations under chief of mission 
authority where relocation back to the United States or to regional 
centers is not practical; 

* purchasing services from the private sector; and; 

* streamlining outmoded or inefficient business practices. 

Each option has the potential to reduce staff in Paris and the 
associated security vulnerability. Specifically: 

* Some functions at the Paris Embassy could be relocated to the United 
States. State is planning to relocate more than 100 budget and finance 
positions from the Financial Services Center in Paris to State's 
financial center in Charleston, South Carolina, by September 2003. In 
addition, we identified other agencies that perform similar financial 
functions and could probably be relocated. For example, four Voice of 
America staff pay correspondent bureaus and freelance reporters around 
the world and benefit from collocation with State's Financial Services 
Center. The Voice of America should consider whether this function 
should also be relocated to Charleston in 2003. 

* The Paris Embassy could potentially relocate some functions to the 
regional logistics center in Antwerp, Belgium, and the planned 23-acre 
secure regional facility in Frankfurt, Germany, which has the capacity 
for approximately 1,000 people. For example, the Antwerp facility 
could handle part of the embassy's extensive warehouse operation, 
which is currently supported by about 25 people. In addition, some 
administrative operations at the embassy such as procurement could 
potentially be handled out of the Frankfurt facility. Furthermore, 
staff at agencies with regional missions could also be moved to 
Frankfurt. These include a National Science Foundation representative 
who spent approximately 40 percent of his time in 2001 outside of 
France, four staff who provide budget and finance support to embassies 
in Africa, and some Secret Service agents who cover eastern Europe, 
central Asia, and parts of Africa. 

* We identified additional positions that may need to be in Paris but 
may not need to be in the primary embassy buildings where secure space 
is at a premium. For example, the primary function of the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) representative is to act 
as a liaison to European space partners. Accomplishing this work may 
not require retaining office space at the embassy. The American Battle 
Monuments Commission already has about 25 staff in separate office 
space in a suburb of Paris. In addition, a Department of Justice 
official works in an office at the French Ministry of Justice. 
However, dispersal of staff raises additional security issues that 
need to be considered. 

* Given Paris' modern transportation and communication links and large 
private sector service industry, the embassy may be able to purchase 
services from the private sector, which would reduce the number of 
full-time staff at risk at the embassy.[Footnote 14] We identified as 
many as 50 positions at the embassy that officials in Washington and 
Paris agreed are commercial in nature, including painters, 
electricians, plumbers, and supply clerks. 

* Streamlining or reengineering outmoded or inefficient functions 
could help reduce the size of the Paris Embassy. Certain procurement 
procedures could potentially be streamlined, such as consolidating 
multiple purchase orders with the same vendor and increasing the use 
of government credit cards for routine actions. Consolidating 
inefficient inventory practices at the warehouse could also decrease 
staff workload. For instance, household appliances and furniture are 
maintained separately with different warehouse staff responsible for 
different inventories. Purchasing furniture locally[Footnote 15] at 
embassies such as Paris could also reduce staffing and other 

As others have pointed out, advances in technology, increased use of 
the Internet, and more flights from the United States may reduce the 
need for full-time permanent staff overseas. Moreover, we have 
reported in the past about opportunities to streamline embassy 
functions to improve State's operations and reduce administrative 
staffing requirements, including options to reduce residential housing 
and furniture costs.[Footnote 16] 

Implementing a Rightsizing Framework: 

Mr. Chairman, although it is only one of the necessary building 
blocks, the framework we are developing can be the foundation for 
future rightsizing efforts. However, a number of policy issues and 
challenges need to be addressed for this process to move forward with 
any real success. For instance, the executive branch needs to 
prioritize foreign policy goals and objectives and insist on a link 
between those goals and staffing levels. Developing comprehensive cost 
data and linking budgets and staffing decisions are also imperative. 
To their credit, State and OMB appear to be headed in the right 
direction on these issues by seeking both cost data and revising 
embassies' mission performance planning process, which we believe will 
further support a rightsizing framework. 

We plan to do more work to expand and validate our framework. The 
previous discussion shows that the framework we are developing can be 
applied to the Paris Embassy. We also believe that the framework can 
be adjusted so that it is applicable worldwide because the primary 
elements of security, mission, and costs are the key factors for all 
embassies. In fact, rightsizing experts told us that our framework was 
applicable to all embassies. Nevertheless, we have not tested the 
framework at other embassies, including locations where the options 
for relocation to regional centers or the purchase of services from 
the private sector are less feasible. 

We believe that the next stage should also focus on developing a 
mechanism to ensure accountability in implementing a standard 
framework. Rightsizing experts and officials we spoke with suggested 
several different options. These options include establishing an 
interagency body similar to the State-led committee that was formed to 
implement OPAP's recommendations; creating an independent commission 
comprising governmental and nongovernmental members; or creating a 
rightsizing office within the Executive Office of the President. Some 
State Department officials have suggested that State adopt an 
ambassadorial certification requirement, which would task ambassadors 
with periodically certifying in writing that the size of their 
embassies and consulates are consistent with security, mission, and 
cost considerations. 

Each of these suggestions appears to have some merit but also faces 
challenges. First, an interagency committee would have to work to 
achieve coordination among agencies and have leadership that can speak 
for the entire executive branch. Second, an independent commission, 
perhaps similar to OPAP, would require members of high stature and 
independence and a mechanism to link their recommendations to 
executive branch actions. Third, a separate office in the White House 
has potential, but it would continually have to compete with other 
executive branch priorities and might find it difficult to stay 
abreast of staffing issues at over 250 embassies and consulates. 
Finally, an ambassadorial certification process is an interesting idea 
but it is not clear what, if anything, would happen if an ambassador 
were unwilling to make a certification. Furthermore, ambassadors may 
be reluctant to take on other agencies' staffing decisions, and in 
such situations the certification could essentially become a rubber 
stamp process. Ultimately, the key to any of these options will be a 
strong bipartisan commitment by the responsible legislative committees 
and the executive branch. 

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, this concludes my 
prepared statement. I would be pleased to answer questions you may 

Contacts and Acknowledgments: 

For future contacts regarding this testimony, please call Jess Ford or 
John Brummet at (202) 512-4128. Individuals making key contributions 
to this testimony included Lynn Moore, David G. Bernet, Chris Hall, 
Melissa Pickworth, Kathryn Hartsburg, and Janey Cohen. 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Proposed Rightsizing Framework and Corresponding Questions: 

Physical Security And Real Estate: 

What are the threat and security profiles? 

Do office buildings provide adequate security? 

Is existing secure space being optimally utilized? 

What actions are practical to improve the security of facilities? 

Do facilities and security issues put the staff at an unacceptable 
level of risk or limit mission accomplishment? 

Will rightsizing reduce security vulnerabilities? 

Mission Priorities And Requirements: 

What are the staffing and mission of each agency? 

What is the ratio of support staff to program staff at the embassy? 

What are the priorities of the embassy? 

Does each agency's mission reinforce embassy priorities? 

Are workload requirements validated and prioritized and is the embassy 
able to balance them with core functions? 

Are any mission priorities not being addressed? 

How do agencies determine embassy staffing levels? 

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? 

Are agencies considering the full cost of operations in making 
staffing decisions? 

Are costs commensurate with overall embassy importance and with 
specific embassy outputs? 

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 

Are there secure regional centers in relatively close proximity to the 

Do new technologies offer greater opportunities for operational 
support from other locations? 

Do the host country and regional environment have the means for doing 
business differently, i.e., are there adequate transportation and 
communications links and a vibrant private sector? 

To what extent can embassy business activities be purchased from the 
private sector at a reasonable price? 

What are the security implications of increasing the use of 
contractors over direct hires? 

Can costs associated with embassy products and services be reduced 
through alternative business approaches? 

Can functions be reengineered to provide greater efficiencies and 
reduce requirements for personnel? 

Are there other rightsizing options evident from the size, structure, 
and best practices of other bilateral embassies or private 

Are there U.S. or host country legal, policy, or procedural obstacles 
that may impact the feasibility of rightsizing options? 

Source: GAO. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Staffing Profile of the Paris Embassy (Jan. 2, 2002): 

Agency: Department of State: 
Total Staff: 558[B]; 
Americans: 157; 
FSNs[A]: 401; 
Executive Section; 
Political Section; 
Economic Section; 
Environment, Science, and Technology Section; 
Office of Regional Affairs; 
Consular Section; 
Administrative Section; 
General Services Office; 
Budget and Fiscal Office; 
Human Resources Office; 
Information Management Office; 
Diplomatic Security Service; 
Africa Regional Services; 
African Budget Office; 
Public Affairs Section; 
Financial Services Center; 
U.S. Observer Mission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific 
and Cultural Organization. 			 

Agency: Department of Defense; 
Total Staff: 67; 
Americans: 56; 
FSNs[A]: 11; 
Marine Security Guards; 
Defense Attaché Office; 
Office of Special Investigations; 
Office of Defense Cooperation; 
U.S. Air Force, Research & Development Liaison Office; 
U.S. Army, Research & Development Standardization Group; 
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Liaison Office; 

Agency: Department of Commerce; 
Total Staff: 23; 
Americans: 5; 
FSNs[A]: 18; 
Office: Foreign Commercial Service. 

Agency: Department of the Treasury; 
Total Staff: 18; 
Americans: 16; 
FSNs[A]: 3; 
Internal Revenue Service; 
Secret Service. 

Agency: Department of Justice	
Total Staff: 11; 
Americans: 10; 
FSNs[A]: 1; 
Legal Attaché Office; 
Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Agency: Department of Agriculture; 
Total Staff: 9; 
Americans: 3; 
FSNs[A]: 6; 
Office: Foreign Agricultural Service. 

Agency: Social Security Administration; 
Total Staff: 5; 
Americans: 0; 
FSNs[A]: 5. 

Agency: Federal Aviation Administration; 
Total Staff: 4; 
Americans: 3; 
FSNs[A]: 1; 

Agency: Broadcasting Board of Governors; 
Total Staff: 4; 
Americans: 2; 
FSNs[A]: 2; 
Office: Voice of America. 

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; 
Total Staff: 2; 
Americans: 1; 
FSNs[A]: 1. 

Agency: National Science Foundation; 
Total Staff: 2; 
Americans: 2; 
FSNs[A]: 0. 

Agency: Total; 
Total Staff: 704; 
Americans: 255; 
FSNs[A]: 449. 

[A] Foreign Service National. 

[B] This total includes approximately 240 staff providing a variety of 
support services to all agencies. 

Source: U.S. Department of State. 

[End of table] 

Appendix III: Suggested Template for Collecting Cost Data: 

GAO consulted and worked with OMB and State to develop the following 
cost data template applicable to all agencies overseas. 

Approximate Total Overseas Costs (Fiscal Year 2001): 

U.S. Embassy: 

Salaries and Benefits: 
Foreign Service Nationals: 

Post Assignment/Relocation Costs: 

Hardship Post Differential: 
Language Incentive: 
Cost of Living Allowance: 

Rents & General Expenses: 
Residential Furniture & Equipment: 

International Cooperative Administrative Support System (ICASS): 

Office Furnishing & Equipment: 

Information Management (outside of ICASS): 

Misc. Expenses (supplies, utilities, maintenance): 


Diplomatic Security/General Security: 




Source: GAO. 

[End of section] 


[1] Throughout this statement we refer to rightsizing issues at 
embassies. However, the rightsizing process is also applicable to 
diplomatic offices that are located outside the capital cities. 

[2] U.S. General Accounting Office, Overseas Presence: More Work 
Needed on Embassy Rightsizing, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 27, 

[3] Secretary of State Madeline K. Albright and CIA Director George 
Tenet 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.: Jan. 1999). 

[4] Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright established OPAP 
following the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa and in response to 
recommendations of the Accountability Review Boards 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.: Nov. 1999). 

[5] The interagency committee comprised members from the State 
Department and other key agencies operating overseas, including the 
Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Justice, and the 
Treasury. Pilot studies were conducted in 2000 at U.S. embassies in 
Amman, Jordan; Bangkok, Thailand; Mexico City, Mexico; New Delhi, 
India; Paris, France; and Tbilisi, Georgia, to assess staffing needs 
and to develop a methodology for assessing staffing at all embassies 
and consulates. 

[6] Approximately 190 additional employees are located outside of the 
embassy in Paris and throughout France. 

[7] For our purposes, we define support positions as those funded 
through the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services 
(ICASS) system, which funds common administrative support, such as 
travel, mail and messenger, printing, and telephone services. This 
does not include other functions at the Paris Embassy of a support 
nature funded through other accounts, such as most security and some 
information technology services. 

[8] [hyperlink,]. 

[9] Office of Management and Budget, The President's Management 
Agenda, Fiscal Year 2002 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 2001). 

[10] Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, 
Fiscal Year 2003 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 4, 2002). 

[11] See appendix I for a checklist of suggested questions that we are 
developing as part of a rightsizing framework. 

[12] According to the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-465), 
"chiefs of mission" are principal officers in charge of diplomatic 
missions of the United States or of a U.S. office abroad, such as U.S. 
ambassadors, who are responsible for the direction, coordination, and 
supervision of all government executive branch employees in a given 
foreign country (except employees under a military commander). 

[13] Mission Performance Plans are annual embassy plans describing 
performance goals and objectives. 

[14] With the enactment of the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act 
in 1998 (P.L. 105-270), Congress mandated that U.S. government 
agencies identify activities within each office that are not 
"inherently governmental," i.e., commercial activities. Competitive 
sourcing involves using competition to determine whether a commercial 
activity should be performed by government personnel or contractors. 
The President's Management Agenda states that competition historically 
has resulted in 20 to 50 percent cost savings for the government. 

[15] The State Department currently has a central contract requiring 
that all overseas posts purchase furniture from the United States and 
not from local sources. Logistics management officials at State said 
that the contract is currently under renegotiation and the revised 
agreement will include local procurement allowances for pilot posts. 

[16] U.S. General Accounting Office, State Department: Options for 
Reducing Overseas Housing and Furniture Costs, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: July 
31, 1998). 

[End of section]