Overseas Presence: More Work Needed on Embassy Rightsizing

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of State is leading an interagency assessment of staffing needs in U.S. embassies and consulates to improve mission effectiveness and reduce security vulnerabilities and costs. This process, called "rightsizing," was begun in response to the recommendations of the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel. In the aftermath of the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, the Panel determined that overseas staffing levels had not been adjusted to reflect changing missions and requirements; thus, some embassies and consulates were overstaffed, and others were understaffed. The ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. November 27, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of State is leading an interagency assessment of staffing needs in U.S. embassies and consulates to improve mission effectiveness and reduce security vulnerabilities and costs. This process, called "rightsizing," was begun in response to the recommendations of the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel. In the aftermath of the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, the Panel determined that overseas staffing levels had not been adjusted to reflect changing missions and requirements; thus, some embassies and consulates were overstaffed, and others were understaffed. The Panel recommended a rightsizing strategy to improve security by reducing the number of embassy staff at risk. The Panel also recommended the establishment of a permanent committee to regularly adjust the U.S. presence, and the adoption of explicit criteria to guide decisions on the size and location of posts. A State-led interagency committee conducted pilot studies at six embassies in 2000 to (1) develop a methodology for assessing staffing at embassies and consulates during the next five years and (2) recommend adjustments to staffing levels at the embassies studied. The interagency committee formed teams that visited U.S. embassies in Amman, Jordan; Bangkok, Thailand; Mexico City, Mexico; New Delhi, India; Paris, France; and Tbilisi, Georgia. The pilot studies did not result in a staffing methodology at all embassies and consulates, as had been anticipated. The interagency committee said that it was impractical to develop explicit criteria for staffing levels at all posts because each post has unique characteristics and requirements. Contrary to the Panel's recommendations, the committee's report also questioned the need for rightsizing and establishing a permanent committee to adjust U.S. presence. The report did recommend the relocation of the regional finance centers in France and Thailand, and it identified instances in which additional study was needed."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 27, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Overseas Presence: More Work Needed on Embassy Rightsizing, report, November 27, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292466/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.