Message From the Secretary
The Department of State's mission is to help the President shape a world of greater security, freedom and prosperity for America's sake and for the sake of people all around the globe who seek to build a better future for themselves and their children.
The men and women of the Department of State have played instrumental roles in the worldwide campaign against terrorism and in our government's efforts to end the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We have helped to strengthen our alliances in Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We have workedwith Russia and China to get beyond hostilities of the past and cooperated with them to help parties in war-torn regions like the Middle East find peaceful ends to conflicts. We continued to promote democracy and respect for human rights on every continent. We have been at the forefront of the global effort to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS. And we have worked to forge a new international consensus on how to help poor countries raise themselves out of poverty through good governance, sound economic, trade and environmental policies, and wise investments in their people.
In conducting our vital foreign policy mission, we have been effective and accountable stewards of the taxpayers' money.
For the sixth year in a row, independent auditors have given our financial statements an unqualified seal of approval. I am also proud to certify that the Department's management control systems meet the requirements of the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act. I cannot certify that the Department's financial systems fully comply with provisions of that Act because they do not yet conform to government-wide standards. We have, however, developed a remediation plan for reaching full compliance by Fiscal Year 2004.
We have made every effort to verify the accuracy and ensure the completeness of the financial and performance data presented in this report. In the few instances where information has not been provided, we give specific reasons why.
In last year's report, I noted that with the support of the President and broad bipartisan backing from Congress, we had made significant progress on building institutional capacity in three fundamental areas: human resources, information technology, and embassy construction and security. We must keep the focus on these key areas so that in the demanding years ahead the men and women of the State Department have the means they need to serve our country safely and successfully all across the globe on the front lines of freedom.
Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State