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    Results:

    Subject Term: Embassies

    7 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations including 5 priority recommendations
    Director: David B. Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that sufficient due diligence is undertaken by implementing partners of U.S. democracy assistance in Burma, where appropriate, to help ensure that assistance is not made available to prohibited entities or individuals, the Administrator of USAID should direct the Mission in Burma to review its procedures and practices regarding due diligence for democracy projects to determine whether additional guidance or reviews of implementing partners' due diligence procedures would be appropriate.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation. As of September 2017, USAID is reviewing its due diligence procedures, and will determine if additional guidance for implementing partners is required. USAID plans to develop and issue any guidance accordingly.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that sufficient due diligence is undertaken by implementing partners of U.S. democracy assistance in Burma, where appropriate, to help ensure that assistance is not made available to prohibited entities or individuals, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to review its procedures and practices regarding due diligence for Burma democracy projects to determine whether additional guidance or reviewing implementing partners' due diligence procedures would be appropriate.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation. As of September 2017, State is reviewing its due diligence procedures, and will consider whether additional guidance for implementing partners is needed.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    4 open recommendations
    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

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should determine whether the existing OBO program performance measure and annual target of moving 1,500 people into safe, secure, and functional facilities is still appropriate or needs to be revised.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: OBO stated that it would perform a multi-year, comprehensive evaluation of this performance metric and determine whether the target remains appropriate. As of October 2017, OBO anticipated this evaluation to be completed in fiscal year 2019.
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should establish additional performance measures applicable to the new goals of the Excellence approach in support of the Capital Security Construction Program.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, OBO had stated it would develop Excellence-related performance metrics to assess the execution and delivery of its projects. Specifically, these would be tied to the Bureau's strategic plan, which is reviewed annually and updated every three years. The next strategic plan update was estimated to occur in early 2020.
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should finalize the mechanisms OBO will use to better track and evaluate the actual operations and maintenance performance of its buildings--whether Excellence or SED--and document through appropriate policies, procedures, or guidance.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, OBO was engaged in a life cycle cost analysis methodology project intended to take an in-depth look at OBO's processes, practices, and procedures, compare and contrast them with best industry practices, and make recommendations to the bureau. OBO anticipated finalizing this by early 2018.
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should finalize the mechanisms OBO will use to centrally manage project management data (to include project cost and schedule information), currently termed the Ideal Operational State, and document through appropriate policies, procedures, or guidance.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, OBO was working on the implementation of its Ideal Operational State initiative, which it envisioned as a multi-year effort subject to budget realities. OBO anticipates having an integrated program schedule by early 2018, although full implementation would take longer.
    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 April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 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 April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 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 April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 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: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 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 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 April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the efforts of the allocated brigades in Africa, and to identify opportunities to enhance brigade mission-specific training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Commander of Army Forces Command and the Commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, to conduct an assessment of the Army's approach to providing mission-specific training to regionally aligned forces, including the brigades allocated to AFRICOM, and determine whether any adjustments are needed. In addition to the assessment questions already identified by the Army in the Regionally Aligned Forces Execute Order, this assessment could consider (1) The degree to which the brigades' training--to include the curricula, resources, and execution--should be managed or coordinated at the institutional level. (2) How unit training programs should be resourced and the degree to which dedicated funding may be needed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army has taken positive steps in this area, such as developing a handbook to assist Regionally Aligned Force brigades in planning and training for their missions. Specifically, in November 2015, the Center for Army Lessons Learned published a handbook entitled "Regionally Aligned Forces Brigade Planning". Among other things, this handbook is intended to serve as a starting point for the identification of, planning for, and execution of missions as regionally aligned forces to an Army Service Component Command. Specific to training, this handbook includes guidance for brigades on how they should conduct mission-specific training for the regionally aligned forces mission, including: identifying potential subject matter experts and Army institutions to support mission specific training; providing sample training schedules; and highlighting specific doctrinal publications and key training considerations for use in guiding planning and preparation. According to an official from the Center for Army Lessons Learned, this handbook was intended to provide interim solutions to Regionally Aligned Force units to mitigate some of the difficulties that they have experienced until the Army formally addresses these issues with a permanent solution. While a positive step that could provide some remedies to the concerns cited in our report regarding mission-specific training, this handbook does not directly address our recommendation for the Army to conduct an assessment of its training approach for providing mission-specific training to regionally aligned forcesrecommendation. Thus, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance the efforts of the allocated brigades in Africa, and to facilitate consistent, and predictable planning for mission-specific equipment requirements and efficient provision of such equipment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Commander of Army Forces Command and the Commander of USARAF, to: (1) Identify the mission-specific equipment requirements on an appropriate requirements document for the brigades allocated to AFRICOM for security cooperation and other missions in Africa. (2) To the extent practicable, establish a consistent mechanism (e.g., a rotating equipment set, mission-essential equipment list) to ensure that the brigades allocated to AFRICOM are equipped with all known mission-essential equipment at the outset of their missions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army is pursuing the establishment of Africa Activity Sets to provide a range of mission-specific equipment for units conducting activities in Africa, including regionally aligned force brigades, but these equipment sets are still pending validation and funding.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that OBO fully documents and keeps readily available the basis for its planning decisions according to State's policy for new embassy compounds and major renovation projects, such as decisions to construct a building on-site or lease space off-site.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: Beginning in 2016, major programmatic decisions related to choosing new embassy construction projects for award each fiscal year will be documented using a risk-based decision-making model. This model incorporates concepts of multi-attribute decision analysis and risk analytics to suggest an ideal project sequencing. Model inputs and outputs are stored on the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OB0) SharePoint directory. State expects to develop a similar method for the major rehabilitation program that may be implemented as early as 2017. Major project level decisions are documented through a variety of methods. OBO and other offices at State develop new embassy compound alternative analyses to document decisions about whether to pursue new construction, renovate and stay-in-place, or relocate to new leased space. Warehouse business cases document decisions to build on, or lease off compound. Those are kept, readily available, in OBO's SharePoint Directory. As projects proceed further through design and construction phases, any major decisions required are generally documented in decision memoranda and saved in OBO Link.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: For elements identified in the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012 that were not fully addressed in the strategy, the Secretary of State should provide the relevant congressional committees with information that would fully address these elements. In the absence of such information, State should explain to the congressional committees why it was not included in the strategy.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter dated December 23, 2014, the Department of State (State) noted that the elements identified in the GAO report as not being adequately addressed by State were matters where the consensus of the intelligence community was that there was not an identifiable threat to counter. GAO's report assessed that State did not address four specific elements identified in the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012. State's December 2014 letter provided explanations for these four elements, including the availability of information on existing agency websites, briefings provided to Congress, and State's lack of finding that foreign governments showed clear threats. We continue to maintain that the strategy did not include all of the elements that the law stated should be included, and State did not demonstrate that it provided relevant congressional committees with information that would fully address these elements. In December 2015, State noted that it remains in close contact with the relevant congressional committees across a range of security, economic and political with regard to the Western Hemisphere on a regular and continuing basis. State further noted that it provided an oral briefing along with its original submission of the report to Congress and answered questions posed by Congress. State officials said that they stand ready to provide further information in the appropriate setting should it be requested. However, State did not provide GAO with information about whether it had provided information to Congress specifically for the elements identified in the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012 that were not fully addressed in the strategy, nor provide additional information about whether State explained to the congressional committees why any absence of such information was not included in the strategy. Furthermore, GAO learned from the House Foreign Affairs Committee staff that State and the Office of the Director for National Intelligence provided a briefing to the committee regarding Iranian activities in Latin America on February 25, 2016. As of August 2016, GAO did not receive any documents related to the briefings because, according to State, the talking points document was considered deliberative and therefore could not be shared. According to State officials, they continue to monitor the issue and brief Congress as appropriate. As of December 2017, State noted that its position regarding this recommendation and the deliberative nature of the talking points document remains unchanged.