Improvements Needed in Providing Security at Overseas Posts

Gao ID: ID-82-61 September 30, 1982

GAO reported on the Security Enhancement Program's management and administrative functions. The program was initiated by the Department of State to make structural improvements to overseas posts, purchase additional protective equipment, and provide electronic storage and retrieval of classified materials in response to the increasing danger to the lives of U.S. citizens and property overseas.

Inadequate planning, coordination, and property management have caused delays in implementing security improvements at overseas posts. State overestimated its ability to complete the projects. After 2 years, only four posts have been completed. GAO has concluded that it will take more than 5 years and $175 million to fully upgrade 70 posts, and an additional $125 million will be needed to provide at least some improvements to another 55 posts. Accountability for materials purchased and shipped to posts is a major problem. There is no inventory system for recording purchases and shipments and no centralized way of notifying posts of what enhancement items they will receive and when. There have been extensive delays in getting responses to inquiries concerning the enhancement projects. Most of the posts which GAO visited had problems accounting for equipment received in the past. Two of the posts GAO visited, and 15 of the 38 posts scheduled for security enhancement projects in fiscal year 1982, do not have regional security officers. The Agency for International Development, the United States Information Agency, and the Drug Enforcement Administration disagree with State over planned security improvements and ultimate authority over security for their offices located outside the U.S. embassy or consulate compound. These differences need to be resolved. U.S. officials overseas are glad to receive improved security; however, they do not like the installation delays which they are experiencing.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Harry R. Finley Team: General Accounting Office: International Division Phone: (202) 512-5187

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