Management of Embassies

NSIAD-93-280R: Published: Sep 2, 1993. Publicly Released: Sep 2, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of State's management of its overseas embassies, focusing on: (1) real property management; (2) contracting and procurement; (3) staffing and training; (4) personal property; (5) overseas medical expenses; (6) housing standards; (7) cashiering and other financial controls; and (8) the views of Mexico City embassy officials on management weaknesses at that post. GAO found that: (1) State has improved overseas real property management, but it needs to continue its management improvements; (2) embassies that lack a competition advocacy program or advance acquisition planning have inefficient, improper procurement practices and excessive year-end spending; (3) staffing inadequacies and lack of training compromise administrative, management, and procurement functions at many embassies that face increasing workloads in support of non-State agencies; (4) State needs to tighten controls over personal property and adopt a zero-tolerance for property losses; (5) State could recover substantial overseas medical expenses if it tightens program controls and pursues collections more aggressively; (6) State will not be in compliance with its overseas housing standards for many years due to long-term leases, security problems, and the lack of acceptable housing and an adequate information system; (7) although State has made some improvements, it does not plan to have its financial management problems fully corrected until 1999; and (8) Mexico City embassy officials believe their management problems are less serious than GAO described.

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