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 You are in: Under Secretary for Management > From the Under Secretary > Remarks

Management Initiatives and Issues

Grant S. Green, Jr., Under Secretary of State for Management
Remarks to Deputy Chiefs of Mission for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Conference
Washington, DC
June 24, 2002

It is a great pleasure to join you today. As all of you are aware, American diplomacy is at the forefront of our response to the tragedy on September 11. As such, our management agenda is more essential than ever – not simply the need to assure adequate security, but the need to address the whole range of requirements that will give the United States the diplomatic infrastructure you and your staffs need to do your work.

At the same time, we are trying to keep you informed about management developments by participating in conferences such as this and through periodic messages to the field (which I hope you are receiving). Through these vehicles, we hope to give you updates on what we’re accomplishing and background on a variety of issues.

President’s Management Agenda
Let me give you a slightly more strategic view, starting with the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). The PMA is the process the administration laid out a year ago to rate agencies’ accomplishments in five government-wide initiatives and a number of agency-specific initiatives. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) tracks progress using a traffic light system of red – yellow – green.

I am pleased to report that OMB has given the Department "yellow" scores on our efforts to date for four of the five government-wide PMA elements: Strategic Management of Human Capital, E-Government, Budget and Performance Integration, and Competitive Sourcing. On one PMA element – Financial Management – we have a "green" score. All this means that OMB considers our plan of action in each area credible and credits us with having begun serious implementation of those plans. We are definitely off to a good start, but we need to keep our shoulders to the wheel since there is still a long way to go in each area before we get to "green" on the substance of each element.

Secretary Powell and I are committed to advancing the PMA and improving the Department’s scorecard on all its elements. I serve as the Secretary’s representative to the President’s Management Council, and attend the monthly meetings with the representatives from other agencies to review progress.

Let me run through each of the five government-wide initiatives for you, and discuss how they relate to State’s management agenda.

1.  Budget and performance integration, designed to produce performance-based budgets beginning with the FY 2003 budget submission.

We have set a number of changes in place to make integration work better. Examples: creating the new Resource Management Bureau under Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chris Burnham. It now manages the whole resource allocation process, whether international affairs (the Function 150 programs) or State operations. And all of the formerly disparate offices working on planning and resource allocation – FMP/BP, S/RPP, and the planning arm of M/P – are now located in the same bureau.

As part of this realignment, you saw a much simplified MPP process in the recent cycle – one which will allow the entire Department to move closer to meeting the PMA goals and at the same time establishing more meaningful priorities for allocation of resources.

The RM Bureau is also developing a new software tool – the Central Financial Planning System (CFPS) that will allow the Department to link budget, planning, and performance for the first time in one unified system. RM hopes to have the system fully on-line by 2004. This new tool is critical to making real progress in this area, and getting fully to "green" will obviously take some time.

2.  Strategic management of human capital, under which agencies will restructure their workforces to streamline organizations and make the government more citizen-centered.

As you know, the Secretary has proposed the largest expansion of the workforce in three decades. Our human resource priorities are to:

  • Improve the recruiting process (from 27 months down to 10). We’re trying to reduce that to about 8 months.
  • Hire the additional people we need to be "whole;" which I’ll elaborate on in a moment.
  • Train and develop our workforce. And
  • Provide for quality of life for employees and families and ensure not only job satisfaction but also retention of our best people.

Now, what did I mean by getting "whole"? We need more people. We face a real problem with attrition over the next decade, among Foreign Service generalists and specialists, and Civil Service employees. We need people to fill behind them - and then some. Over the next three years, we propose to hire an unprecedented number of new people, almost 1200. We need these folks to fill gaps, create a training float, and have sufficient bench strength for crisis management.

In addition, we propose to meet security, information technology, and consular needs with 550 additional people this fiscal year (includes 203 DS Emergency Response Fund positions, 12 S/CT ERF positions 186 DS worldwide security positions, 51 IRM positions, 71 Border Security Positions in the budget and 27 Border Security Program positions being reprogrammed since 9/11) and 232 in FY 2003 (includes 98 MRV funded consular hires and 134 security hires.)

As Deputy Chiefs of Mission (DCMs), you should, and will, play a critical role – either positive or negative – in the development of our new people and our eventual success in retaining these individuals as they move through the ranks. This unprecedented number of junior officers will require active mentoring and oversight by all of your middle and senior level officers to ensure that our newest talent prospers. Most importantly, your leadership is central to creating an environment which will promote the professional growth of our new people, generate job satisfaction, and support a culture where these officers are then prepared to become mentors themselves.

I also want to emphasize the importance the Secretary places on simply taking care of your people, or as he says, " taking care of the troops." This includes local hire Americans, Foreign Service Nationals, contractors, and of course, the families of our personnel stationed overseas.

Part of taking care of the troops involves their travel. The Secretary and I supported the Administrative (A) Bureau's efforts to loosen up interpretation of the Fly America Act and authorize business class travel for PCS trips over 14 hours. When anthrax interrupted our mail, Rich Armitage weighed in personally with the Post Master General to get a separate zip code for our folks’ personal mail. And the A Bureau is looking at improving service to our "pouch only" posts by exploring the concept of a "State Post Office."

Another high priority in the "people category" is training. Demand for training is increasing and will continue to do so. I am amazed that for so long we have asked our midlevel and senior officers to serve in positions requiring management and leadership skills but have rarely afforded them the opportunity to train in these areas. We are working to change that. The Director General and the Foreign Service Institute are working on making certain courses at FSI mandatory. As an example: the Washington Tradecraft course for officers returning from overseas beginning their first domestic assignment. There will also be a number of leadership and management training courses that will become mandatory.

As DCMs, your willingness to recognize requirements and accommodate training for both incoming and existing staff, perhaps even at the expense of brief staffing gaps, is pivotal to creating a culture - I repeat, creating a culture - that values training and supports professional growth.

The PMA element on Human Capital focuses on many other areas too, and the Department is either developing new tools or fine-tuning the ones already in place to help us achieve the goals of the PMA. Our Bureau of Human Resources has been working closely with both the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Office of Personnel Management, and they have reached substantial agreement on what needs to be done with regard to achieving the President’s PMA goals in this important area.

3.  Competitive sourcing, to increase competition for commercial-like activities performed by the government.

This PMA element is not, as some critics have suggested, focused on outsourcing government work. It is focused rather on making sure that, whatever the source, the things we do in terms of "commercial" activities get the U.S. Government the best possible service at the best possible price.

So, to begin work on this goal we have done a thorough inventory of everything we currently contract out in order to compare that with the items listed in the 1998 Federal Activities Inventory Act (known as the FAIR Act).

We also tasked former Ambassador Harry Geisel with preparing a "competitive sourcing plan," which he submitted this month well ahead of the OMB deadline. We will soon appoint a "competitive sourcing champion" for the Department as several other agencies have done. We are also taking steps to see that this competitive sourcing PMA element is incorporated into the Department’s workforce planning and management under the Human Capital PMA element.

State just awarded a packing contract that is the first major "results based" contract we've done. By focusing on the result we want instead of a laundry list of requirements, we're leveraging the talent of our private sector partners to provide our employees and their families with higher quality.

4.  Improving financial performance, to reduce erroneous payments and to have reliable financial information available on a timely basis.

We have made an excellent start in this area. Financial management has been a perennial problem for the Department, but I am confident that our current leadership in the RM Bureau will achieve full success in the near future. A testimony to RM’s hard work on this PMA element is OMB’s score of "green" on their efforts to date. I am also happy to report that, for the fifth straight year, the Department has received an "unqualified" (i.e., clean) audit opinion.

5.  Expanding electronic government, to prioritize and manage e-government projects and to create a citizen-centered web presence.

The good news in this area is that State has moved from a "red" score to a "yellow." Less encouraging is that this new score results in part from our having adopted a "remediation plan" to resolve some internal IT and capital planning issues and thereby lay the foundation for further e-government progress.

As part of this aggressive e-gov agenda, we are well on the way to providing the hardware and software needed to build, as the Secretary puts it, a state-of-the-art State Department. Our highest priority technology initiatives are:

  • OpenNet Plus – to provide robust web access for all State employees by mid-FY 2003 based on increases we received in the FY 2002 budget.
  • Classified Connectivity Program - to provide classified connectivity and email to every eligible post by FY 2004 and provide a foundation for modernizing our outmoded telegram system.
  • Official Messaging - to replace the outmoded cable system by FY 2004.
  • Foreign Affairs Systems Integration (FASI) - test and evaluate the FASI system. FASI is currently being piloted at posts in Mexico and in India.

Our schedule is, in a word, ambitious. Our goal is to put the Internet and other tools of information age to work for U.S. diplomacy, and we are completely committed to accomplishing this goal.

Just like Turbo-Tax walks you through your 1040, Web-Move is a new e-gov application that walks an employee through planning for a move. Currently being piloted for employees leaving Washington, the A Bureau plans to expand it in the year ahead.

We've recently brought on line another new application called "Post Profiles" that will give everyone with OpenNet access to essential data about all of our posts. All of the regional bureaus, including EAP, have bought into the format so that people transferring from one place to another will find a common look and feel.

Right-sizing and Other PMA Initiatives
In addition to the five major PMA initiatives, there are a number of others involving selected agencies. The most important of these, from our perspective, is our participation under OMB’s lead in the interagency effort to rationalize overseas presence. This includes regionalization and rightsizing, where the Administration will work to improve the link between assignment of personnel to overseas posts with mission, funding, and embassy construction planning.

OMB is still working out the mechanics of how it wants to approach rightsizing. The General Accounting Office (GAO) is also lending its expertise to the subject. It has concluded a right-sizing review of mission staffing in France, which may serve as a model for future reviews and contribute to the formulation of a "rightsizing" framework.

Let me touch on a number of issues which, while not identified as part of the PMA, are nevertheless of exceptional importance to us.

Security
It goes without saying that security remains a critical concern for all of us. Our challenges are to:

  • Sustain security readiness as threat levels remain elevated;
  • Strengthen existing programs;
  • Have the flexibility to deal with the increasing threat worldwide; and
  • Exploit technology and dedicate additional personnel to help enhance visa and passport issuance and combat fraud.

The FY 1999-2000 Emergency Security Appropriation (after the 1998 embassy bombings) addressed only some immediate security concerns. It did not resolve long-term resource issues in global security programs. We must continue to leverage our security investments and continue upgrades worldwide while expanding our ability to respond to threats such as bio/chem attacks.

For our part, in addition to the increases we received in the FY 2002 budget for such things as Embassy security upgrades, we sought and received $222 million [adjusted for the $32 million giveback for aid to Pakistan] from the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act passed after September 11. We are using this funding for medical response, terrorism rewards, evacuations, emergency communications, hiring 203 additional security agents and 12 counter-terrorism professionals, and strengthening our domestic and overseas facilities against terrorist threats.

Facilities
Turning to State’s overseas facilities, our major concerns are pretty obvious: (1) security, (2) safety, and (3) working and living conditions. Many facilities are in poor condition and overcrowded, and most are not very secure. Too many still do not meet current security standards because they lack sufficient setbacks and blast protection. The average age of our facilities is over 40 years old. We have $700 million worth of deferred maintenance requirements. But we are "regularizing" the process. OBO - Overseas Buildings Operations - has developed a Long-Range Overseas Building Plan covering six years of planning data that will serve as a strategic road map for facilities and increase transparency in the decision-making process.

Domestic Infrastructure and Operations
Domestically, in the aftermath of September 11, the security and working conditions of our employees in the United States also became a major concern. We are moving aggressively to improve both.

Our biggest domestic facilities project is the construction of a new USUN mission building in New York City. This includes relocating USUN staff to temporary space, and funding security and above-standard construction for the new building.

The other major undertaking is the on-going renovation with the General Services Administration of the Truman Building (Main State), which includes many security upgrades.

I hope you’ve already had the chance to visit the new "Foggy Bottom" employee shopping and service concourse in the basement of the Truman Building. We're also making improvements to lobbies and to the Cafeteria (now under renovation), and putting in place a branding and wayfinding plan for Main State to improve the hospital-corridor look with visual images that constantly remind our employees of our mission in the world.

FY 2002 Appropriations
All of these management initiatives take money, of course, and insufficient funding has been a problem for a number of years. Although it won’t be fixed in one year, I’m pleased to report that our prospects are looking up. The FY 2002 Appropriations Act that Congress passed represents a significant increase in State’s resources for this fiscal year. Under it, we received $7.36 billion, an increase of $760 million above last year’s funding levels.

The President submitted a request for $322 million for the State Department as part of the FY 2002 Emergency Security Supplemental, mostly for embassy construction in Kabul and Dushanbe, public diplomacy, security and Peacekeeping Activities.

Our FY 2003 budget includes:

  • $100 million for the next steps in the hiring process. We will be able to bring on board 399 more foreign affairs professionals, and be well on our way to filling our gaps.
  • $553 million to maintain critical security programs, while integrating other initiatives designed to protect our people and facilities.
  • $1.3 billion to support our commitment to upgrade the security of overseas facilities.
  • And $177 million to provide state of the art IT equipment to our people everywhere.

Leadership
PMA shows the importance the Administration gives to management. On his first day in the Department, Secretary Powell announced that he is not only the President’s principal foreign policy advisor, which you would expect, but also State’s CEO. He takes this latter role very seriously. I meet with him often, including at a daily evening wrap-up that includes only the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, myself, and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Others have tried to attend, but no one else has been let in. The meetings serve several purposes - review the day’s events, clarify things we want to do. But maybe most important: it communicates to the rest of the Department the importance the Secretary places on management issues.

I commend to you the comments the Secretary made on leadership a few months ago in the February State magazine. A couple of his points I think we should all keep especially in mind:

  • "Dare to be the skunk at the picnic." This doesn’t mean to mistreat your colleagues or staff. But make the rough decisions, challenge people who need it, and reward those who perform best.
  • "The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them." Encourage people to share their ideas and opinions with you. Be open to new ideas.

Conclusion
In closing, I would like to make a quick plug for your participation in raising Congressional awareness for the work we do overseas. We have opened a small office on the Hill staffed by our consular and H bureau colleagues. This gives us a much needed foothold.

This is not enough, though, to convince the American people and the Congress that funding State Department resource needs is money well spent. Unlike DoD, we do not have either a visible presence in Congressional districts or a natural constituency on the Hill. And the linkage of our work overseas to creation of jobs and increased business in the U.S. are much less clear. However, you do much to assist U.S. business overseas and have many success stories to tell for your efforts. Congress and the American public would benefit from a greater appreciation of our work. You should brief visiting Codels and staffers on our successes, and I encourage you to continue speaking about your work when you are in the United States. Although we are legally barred from asking the public and the business community to lobby Congress on our behalf, we can properly encourage the American companies that we help to publicize our management successes.

I have been terribly impressed both in Washington and as I visit posts abroad with the dedication and hard work of our people under what are often very difficult and dangerous circumstances. With your support, the management initiatives I have outlined - as well as other new initiatives that we will develop over time - will help rectify what are often unacceptable situations. I want you to know that as long as the Secretary is heading this Department and I am in my job we will do our very best to give you the tools you need to do yours.

Thank you for your attention. I welcome your questions.



Released on July 12, 2002

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