State DepartmentOverseas Staffing Process Not Linked to Policy Priorities Gao ID: NSIAD-94-228 September 20, 1994
In staffing its overseas posts, the State Department does not use an objective, quantifiable methodology that ranks posts on the basis of U.S. foreign policy priorities. Several internal State Department studies since 1988 have expressed concern about this situation. Senior State officials have acknowledged that the current personnel resources planning and allocation processes fail to adequately link personnel resources with policy priorities. This report discusses State's efforts to improve this process and the process State used to identify the 17 posts to close in 1993 and 1994.
GAO found that: (1) State does not use an objective, quantifiable methodology based on U.S. foreign policy priorities for determining the number of personnel needed at overseas posts; (2) using a rank ordering of posts could ensure that lower-ranked posts do not have more staff than needed; (3) senior State officials have acknowledged that the personnel management and allocation process does not adequately link personnel resources with policy priorities; (4) State officials are working to develop a resource management strategy to meet priority goals; (5) since 1991, State has been developing a methodology to establish staffing level benchmarks for individual countries based on their importance to U.S. interests; and (6) State did not base its post closure decisions on agencywide policy priorities, but rather on geographic bureau objectives and priorities.Recommendations
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: Team: Phone: