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12

DECEMBER 2014

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

TALKING POINTS

New DS High Threat

Directorate Struggles

to Gain Traction

T

he State Department’s O ce of the

Inspector General has released its

report on the Bureau of Diplomatic Secu- rity’s High reat Programs Directorate,

the new unit established in the wake of

the Benghazi attack investigations.

In the September 2014 report, the OIG

found that the two-year-old directorate

“su ers from signi cant sta ng gaps

and position shortages,” and that while

it advocates for high-threat posts in the

department, “it does not have the author-

ity to cause peer bureaus to implement

its recommendations.”

e report was not all bad news, how-

ever.

e IG also found that the director-

ate was successful in creating a culture of

shared responsibility for security within

the department. It had “forged strong

partnerships with regional security

o cers and counterparts in regional and

functional bureaus.”

e High

reat Programs Directorate

was established in the wake of the Sept.

11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. facility in

Benghazi, and is consistent with recom- mendations made by the Accountability Review Board assembled by then-Secre-

tary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to

investigate the facts and circumstances

surrounding that event.

e directorate is responsible for 30

high-threat posts in Africa, the Middle

East and South Asia.

e other 190

posts where embassies operate are still

under the supervision of the Diplomatic

Security Bureau’s International Program

Directorate.

“No formal mechanism exists for

realigning sta responsibilities between

the two directorates,” the OIG report

found, and the fact that the department

has not published the directorate’s For-

eign A airs Man-

ual chapter has led

to confusion as to

the two director-

ates’ respective

authorities.

Overall,

according to the

Homeland Secu- rity Policy Institute

at

e George

Washington Uni-

versity, the report

“paints a picture

of an o ce whose

leadership is doing

the best that it

can,” as it tries to

address ongoing threats to U.S. missions

overseas while “working within a large

and often slow-moving bureaucracy.”

e institute says it is “critical” that

the high threat directorate gets the sup-

port that it needs, “in terms of person-

nel, authority and intra-departmental

coordination.”

e State Department is working on

implementing the IG’s recommenda-

tions. As spokesman Alec Gerlach told e Washington Post , “ is is a timely snap-

shot of the progress being made, and we

welcome and agree with the IG’s further

recommendations for diplomatic security.”

—Editorial Intern Trevor Smith and

Associate Editor Debra Blome

What Do You Need to

Know About Ebola?

T

he 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest

since the deadly virus was identi ed

in 1976 and is primarily a ecting a num-

ber of countries in West Africa. Informa-

tion, and misinformation, on the crisis

and the virus can be found all over the

Internet. We’ve compiled a directory of

useful and credible resources to consult

when looking for answers and guidance.

State Department Alerts and Warn- ing. e Department of State issues trave

l

alerts at its travel.state.gov site, which,

among other things, warn travelers of the

potential implications for U.S. citizens of

screening procedures, travel restrictions

and reduced ights due to the outbreak

of the disease.

e site’s “Ebola Fact

Sheet” o ers detailed information and

updates.

USAID: Fighting Ebola.

In response

to the Ebola outbreak, USAID has

deployed a Disaster Assistance Response

Team (known as DART) to West Africa

to coordinate the U.S. government’s

response to the outbreak.

e agency’s

“Fighting Ebola” web pages contain the

latest news, fact sheets on care and infor-

mation on ways you can help.

e USAID

Impact blog, “On the Front Lines of the

Epidemic,” features stories and photo-

graphs that highlight how the United

States is mobilizing to ght Ebola.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . e Ebola pages on the C

DC

site aim to educate people on basic facts

about the virus. It explains what to look

for if you think you may have contracted

Members of USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team Josh

Kearns and Doug Ebert with one of the hygienists at Island Clinic

in Liberia.

USAID