There have been recurring calls to evaluate and realign, or "rightsize," the number and location of staff at U.S. embassies and consulates and to consider staff reductions to reduce security vulnerabilities. The Office of Management and Budget is implementing this rightsizing initiative by analyzing the U.S. overseas presence and reviewing the staffing allocation process. This report uses a systematic approach to assess overseas workforce size and identifying options for rightsizing, both at the embassy level and for making related decisions worldwide. GAO's framework links staffing levels to the following three critical elements of overseas diplomatic operations: (1) physical/technical security of facilities and employees, (2) mission priorities and requirements, and (3) cost of operations. Unlike an analysis that considers the elements in isolation, GAO's rightsizing framework encourages consideration of a full range of options, along with the security, mission, and cost trade-offs. Policy makers could use this information to decide whether to add, reduce, or change the staff mix at an embassy.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of Management and Budget||1. To facilitate the use of a common set of criteria for making staff assessments and adjustments at overseas posts and encourage decision makers to consider security, mission priorities and requirements, and costs, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should ensure that GAO's framework is used as a basis for assessing staffing levels in the administration's rightsizing initiative, starting with its assessment of staffing levels and rightsizing options at U.S. embassies in Europe and Eurasia.|