Diplomatic Security's Recent Growth Warrants Strategic Review : Report to the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate
State Department's (State) Bureau of Diplomatic Security (Diplomatic Security) is responsible for the protection of people, information, and property at over 400 foreign missions and domestic locations. Diplomatic Security must be prepared to counter threats such as crime, espionage, visa and passport fraud, technological intrusions, political violence, and terrorism. GAO was asked to assess (1) how Diplomatic Security's mission has evolved since 1998, (2) how its resources have changed over the last 10 years, and (3) the challenges it faces in conducting its missions. GAO analyzed Diplomatic Security data; reviewed relevant documents; and interviewed officials at several domestic facilities and 18 international missions. GAO recommends that the Secretary of State review the Bureau of Diplomatic Security -- as part of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) or separately -- to ensure that its mission addresses the department's priority needs. This review should address challenges such as: (1) operating with adequate staff, (2) securing facilities that do not meet security standards, (3) staffing foreign missions with officials who have appropriate language skills, (4) operating programs with experienced staff, and (5) balancing security with State's diplomatic mission. State agreed with GAO's recommendation and stated that it is completely committed to ensuring that Diplomatic Security's mission will benefit from the QDDR.