Improvements Needed in Providing Security at Overseas Posts

ID-82-61: Published: Sep 30, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1982.

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GAO reported on the Security Enhancement Program's management and administrative functions. The program was initiated by the Department of State to make structural improvements to overseas posts, purchase additional protective equipment, and provide electronic storage and retrieval of classified materials in response to the increasing danger to the lives of U.S. citizens and property overseas.

Inadequate planning, coordination, and property management have caused delays in implementing security improvements at overseas posts. State overestimated its ability to complete the projects. After 2 years, only four posts have been completed. GAO has concluded that it will take more than 5 years and $175 million to fully upgrade 70 posts, and an additional $125 million will be needed to provide at least some improvements to another 55 posts. Accountability for materials purchased and shipped to posts is a major problem. There is no inventory system for recording purchases and shipments and no centralized way of notifying posts of what enhancement items they will receive and when. There have been extensive delays in getting responses to inquiries concerning the enhancement projects. Most of the posts which GAO visited had problems accounting for equipment received in the past. Two of the posts GAO visited, and 15 of the 38 posts scheduled for security enhancement projects in fiscal year 1982, do not have regional security officers. The Agency for International Development, the United States Information Agency, and the Drug Enforcement Administration disagree with State over planned security improvements and ultimate authority over security for their offices located outside the U.S. embassy or consulate compound. These differences need to be resolved. U.S. officials overseas are glad to receive improved security; however, they do not like the installation delays which they are experiencing.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should require the Chief of Mission or a designee at high-threat posts to have the post security officers and responsible regional security officers devote more of their attention to post security and the Security Enhancement Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should require the Chief of Mission or a designee at each post to assign one official to be responsible for receiving, recording, and storing all material received for the Security Enhancement Program, taking inventory all items received, and informing Washington of any discrepancies.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should require the Assistant Secretary for Administration to develop a single inventory and tracking system which would allow program managers to identify all material going to each post and to use this capability to notify the posts of the specific nature and quantity of material sent and any changes in shipments.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should require the Assistant Secretary for Administration to take action to insure that improvements are made in the planning and coordination of the Security Enhancement Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should require the Assistant Secretary for Administration to direct efforts to resolve the differences between State and other agencies concerning the needs of the Security Enhancement Program at overseas posts and the ultimate authority over security for the agencies' offices located outside the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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