Department of State and U.S. Information Agency

Executive Summary

The Department of State is the senior Cabinet department, created in 1789 by the first Congress. It employs approximately 26,500 people, including Foreign Service personnel, civil servants, and Foreign Service National employees. An estimated 16,000 of its employees are located overseas. The Department of State has primary responsibility for the formulation, implementation, and articulation of the foreign policy of the United States. It operates pursuant to Presidential guidance and congressional legislation, and in coordination with the National Security Council, the National Economic Council, and other executive branch agencies.

Both the United States Information Agency (USIA), which is charged with the conduct of public diplomacy, and the State Department face three principal challenges that make reinvention a timely imperative: the end of the Cold War and the advent of new global concerns and security priorities; the rising cost of conducting foreign affairs at a time when available resources are diminishing; and the increasingly complex inter-agency coordination requirements both in Washington, D.C., and in the field. With continued demands for U.S. involvement in world affairs, lessened resources, and a more complex range of participants in international affairs, it is clear that the stakes have never been higher for the effective integration of people, resources, and policy objectives in the foreign affairs arena.

As a result, the National Performance Review (NPR) has developed a range of initiatives related to the Department of State and the United States Information Agency--some innovative and some merely common sense. These recommendations focus on defining the State Department's mission, improving its performance, and modernizing the management systems and infrastructure that support the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Implementation of these recommendations will enable the department to address these challenges while most effectively using constrained resources. Similar consideration was given to USIA programs and operations.

This report proposes the adoption of new internal management mechanisms at the State Department that will enable it to face the challenges of the 21st century head-on.

The Secretary of State should be given the clear authority to coordinate and integrate the entire international affairs budget of the United States to ensure its consistency with the President's foreign policy objectives. Similarly, it is recommended that Chiefs of Mission (often the ambassadors) exercise fiscal and management control over all overseas resources within their areas of responsibility--a major divergence from current practice.

Logistical and administrative support associated with managing more than 275 diplomatic posts abroad has become increasingly complex and inefficient, and creates a growing strain on resources. It is imperative that both the State Department and USIA look for efficiencies and economies that result from the elimination of redundant programs, duplicative functions, and excess capacity in the infrastructure that supports the conduct of foreign affairs.

Consolidation of international broadcasting resources should be achieved, and this report also urges more subtle adjustments such as greater concentration on what increasingly appears to be the communications medium of the future--television. It is clear that the United States cannot afford to reach every possible foreign audience, so the nation's message abroad must target those audiences with the greatest return.

Furthermore, the department must reinvent its internal business processes. For example, managers are not currently motivated to spend time and resources collecting debts. If the department injected market dynamics into its daily operations, it would be strongly motivated to collect receivables as a matter of survival.

Through the creation of three reinvention laboratories--Consular Affairs, Business Facilitation, and Diplomatic Security--the State Department has begun to implement reinvention principles in some of its operations. In addition, recommendations generated by the department's three cluster groups--People and Empowerment, Organization Management, and Financial Management--will ensure that the process of change will be continuous. Likewise, USIA has embarked on a number of internal reinvention efforts.

Taken together, the nine issues covered in this report would save more than $100 million over six years. They would also result in savings of approximately 100 full-time equivalent positions.

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