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MARCH 2015


Last year the GAO, Congress’ watch-

dog, undertook a comprehensive and

balanced review of State’s diplomatic

security policy and procedures.

The findings were published on June

25: “Diplomatic Security: Overseas

Facilities May Face Greater Risks Due

to Gaps in Security-Related Activities,

Standards and Policies.” For the full

report and recommendation status, go


GAO found, among other shortcom-

ings, that State has not fully developed

and implemented a risk management

policy for overseas facilities.

Further, State’s risk management

activities do not operate as a continu-

ous process or continually incorporate

new information. For example, in some

instances updating standards took more

than eight years.

The report’s thirteenth recommen-

dation dealt with this shortcoming by

requiring the development of a risk

management policy and procedures

that include identification of the roles

and responsibilities of all stakeholders.

Futher, the policy and procedures are to

be continually updated.

This recommendation has far-reach-

ing implications in that its implementa-

tion could also provide a cornerstone

for the diplomatic security training

programs being offered by the Foreign

Service Institute.

Isn’t it time that the State Department

moved more swiftly to address these

findings and recommendations before

another six-month period passes? Move-

ment on the recommendations would

surely help with AFSA’s congressional


James (Jim) Meenan

FSO, retired

Fairfax, Va.