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    Subject Term: "Diplomatic security"

    4 publications with a total of 18 open recommendations including 13 priority recommendations
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take additional steps to ensure that overseas posts complete annual updates of their EAPs within required time frames, such as identifying posts that are late in completing their annual updates and continuing to follow up with those posts until they complete their annual EAP updates.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by generating outreach e-mails to mission staff and expanding the audience for monthly overdue list for those posts overdue in certifying their Emergency Action Plans. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should establish a monitoring and tracking process to ensure that DS fully reviews and documents the review of key sections of EAPs submitted to it during the annual EAP review cycle.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by adding a feature to their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. This feature would consolidate their Emergency Action Plan (EAP) review and publication history for individual EAP sections into a single report for review and tracking. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to make the EAP more readily usable during emergency situations. For example, State could develop a more streamlined version of the EAP--consisting of key sections, checklists, and contact lists--that could be used by overseas post staff, in addition to the full EAP. In addition, for its new system planned for later this year, State could consider including requirements for streamlined EAPs.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by incorporating a streamlined Emergency Action Plan format into their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that overseas posts complete and report completion of required drills within mandated time frames.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by incorporating the drill reporting requirement into their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that overseas posts complete required lessons learned reports following authorized or ordered departures and submit the reports to State headquarters for analysis.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by developing resources to guide embassies' efforts to conduct post-crisis lesson learned discussions, including a cable sent to embassies providing a list of questions for consideration. State indicated these steps should be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    5 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) to create consolidated guidance for RSOs that specifies required elements to include in post travel notification and transportation security policies. For example, as part of its current effort to develop standard templates for certain security directives, DS could develop templates for transportation security and travel notification policies that specify the elements required in all security directives as recommended by the February 2005 Iraq ARB as well as the standard transportation-related elements that DS requires in such policies.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in October 2016 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of March 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to clarify whether or not the FAH's armored vehicle policy for overseas posts is that every post must have sufficient armored vehicles, and if DS determines that the policy does not apply to all posts, articulate the conditions under which it does not apply.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in October 2016 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of March 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to develop monitoring procedures to ensure that all posts comply with the FAH's armored vehicle policy for overseas posts once the policy is clarified.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in October 2016 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of March 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to clarify existing guidance on refresher training, such as by delineating how often refresher training should be provided at posts facing different types and levels of threats, which personnel should receive refresher training, and how the completion of refresher training should be documented.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, State concurred with this recommendation and plans to clarify its guidance on refresher training. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to improve guidance for RSOs, in coordination with other relevant State offices and non-State agencies as appropriate, on how to promote timely communication of threat information to post personnel and timely receipt of such information by post personnel.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in October 2016 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of March 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage risks to residences, schools, and other soft targets overseas, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) to institute procedures to improve posts' compliance with requirements for conducting residential security surveys.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: To improve posts' compliance with residential survey requirements, State is developing a global standardized residential survey program that, according to DS, will give DS officials at State headquarters and security officers at posts the ability to access and audit security surveys for all residential holdings. As of April 2017, DS estimated a 12-month development cycle for this program beginning in February 2017. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage risks to residences, schools, and other soft targets overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to take steps to clarify existing standards and security-related guidance for residences. For example, DS could conduct a comprehensive review of its various standards and security-related guidance for residences and take steps to identify and eliminate gaps and inconsistencies.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State conducted a review of existing standards and identified numerous gaps, inconsistencies, and standards receiving exceptions more than being followed. As of April 2017, State was in the process of updating these standards. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage risks to residences, schools, and other soft targets overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to develop procedures for ensuring that all residences at posts overseas either meet applicable standards or have required exceptions on file.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: To ensure residences meet applicable standards, State is developing a global standardized residential survey program that, according to DS, will give DS officials at State headquarters and security officers at posts the ability to access and audit security surveys for all residential holdings. DS has estimated a 12-month development cycle for this program beginning in February 2017. As of April 2017, DS had also launched a system to track exception requests and approvals. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Courts, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    5 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency and data reliability of Department of State risk management data, the Secretary of State should direct the Under Secretary for Management to identify and eliminate inconsistencies between and within the Foreign Affairs Manual, Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAH), and other guidance concerning physical security.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State has taken steps to revise sections of the Foreign Affairs Manual and Foreign Affairs Handbook related to physical security through the Security Standards Committee. The committee, which is made up of DS and OBO officials, meet weekly to create and revise physical security standards, as needed. In addition, DS officials review all relevant sections of the FAM and FAH each year. However, as of March 2017, State has not provided evidence that it has conducted a comprehensive review of all physical security guidance to identify inconsistencies.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the applicability and effectiveness of the Department of State's physical security standards, the Secretary of State should work through DS or, in his capacity as chair, through the OSPB to clarify existing flexibilities in the FAH to ensure that security and life-safety updates to the OSPB standards and Physical Security Handbook are updated through an expedited review process.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State is in the process of revising the OSPB Working Group Guidelines in the FAH to clarify existing flexibilities for and to formalize an expedited process for making security and life-safety updates to the OSPB standards and Physical Security Handbook. As of April 2017 this action had not been completed, and State now expects to complete this action by the end of calendar year 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the applicability and effectiveness of the Department of State's physical security standards, the Secretary of State should work through DS or, in his capacity as chair, through the OSPB to develop a process to routinely review all OSPB standards and the Physical Security Handbook to determine if the standards adequately address evolving threats and risks.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Although State has not developed a process to routinely review all OSPB standards and the Physical Security Handbook to determine if the standards adequately address evolving threats and risks, officials agree with the intent of the recommendation and are taking actions to address it. For example, State?s Security Standards Committee, which is made up of DS and OBO officials, meet weekly to create and revise physical security standards, as needed. In addition, DS officials conduct an annual review of all the relevant sections of the FAM and FAH, which includes the OSPB standards and the Physical Security Handbook. However, as of March 2017, State had not provided evidence proving that it specifically considers evolving threats and risks when reviewing OSPB standards and the Physical Security Handbook.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the applicability and effectiveness of the Department of State's physical security standards, the Secretary of State should work through DS or, in his capacity as chair, through the OSPB to develop a policy for the use of interim and temporary facilities that includes definitions for such facilities, time frames for use, and a routine process for reassessing the interim or temporary designation.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State is taking a number of actions to regularly reassess the risk that various posts and facilities face. For example, Regional Security Officers are required to conduct a physical security review for every work facility at least once a year at high-threat, high-risk posts, and every three years at all other posts. State also now conducts an annual process, the Vital Presence Validation Process, to reassess the risk taken to operate at each of the high-threat, high-risk posts. However, as of March 2017, it is unclear whether temporary and interim facilities are being reviewed and reassessed during these or other processes.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the effectiveness of the Department of State's risk management policies, the Secretary of State should develop a risk management policy and procedures for ensuring the physical security of diplomatic facilities, including roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders and a routine feedback process that continually incorporates new information.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State has created a working group to draft a revision to the risk management policy. As of April 2017, State anticipates that the update will be published in 2018.