Most Important Results and Continuing Challenges

FY 2003 Performance and Accountability Report
Bureau of Resource Management
December 2003

During FY 2003, the Department responded on many levels to the many challenges the United States is facing. Highlights of the most important results and continuing challenges are shown below by strategic goal:

Results Challenges
  • The U.S. led unprecedented international coalitions to remove terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Transformation of NATO through new capabilities, new members, and new relationships to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
  • Participation by other countries in UN-sponsored and other international peacekeeping operations.
  • China hosted and facilitated six-party talks between the U.S. and North Korea. China's ongoing efforts have been key to North Korea agreeing to future rounds of discussion.
  • Facilitate reconstruction and establishment of a democratic political, social and economic system in Iraq.
  • Pursue the Road Map solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
  • Improve the status of relations between Pakistan and India on Kashmir.
Results Challenges
  • The Top Officials (TOPOFF II) exercise, the first major exercise for the new Department of Homeland Security, was significantly enhanced over TOPOFF I (May 2000) by emphasizing the vital foreign policy implications of major domestic terrorist incidents.
  • The Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) completed work on and fielded a number of products that substantially upgraded operational capabilities of the first responder communities throughout the U.S. as well as the security posture of USG departments and agencies.
  • Further expand cooperative R&D work with existing foreign partners (UK, Canada, Israel), and engage at least two additional foreign partners in programs of cooperative R&D that benefit all nations and support US objectives in the Global War on Terrorism.
  • Program expansion can only be accomplished with additional financial resources which can be used to leverage additional funding from our U.S. and foreign partners.
Results Challenges
  • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Homeland Security setting the terms under which officers of the two Departments will work together in the granting or refusal of visas.
  • Greatly increased the percentage of nonimmigrant visa applicants interviewed worldwide. New regulations implemented which limit waiver of personal appearance for nonimmigrant visa applicants to only a few categories of exceptions, such as diplomats, children, and the elderly.
  • Mandated a special worldwide review of management controls in September 2002 and again in August 2003. This is now being made a required annual report for all consular sections.
  • Changed the basic consular training course to strengthen material on fraud, malfeasance, ethics, and terrorism in addition to new material on interviewing techniques, accountability and management issues, and computer systems security. The time devoted to interviewing skills training in the Basic Consular Course has increased significantly, from the pre-9/11 6.5 hours to 16 hours.
  • Began collecting biometrics from non-immigrant visa applicants at San Salvador, Brussels, Frankfurt and Guatemala City.
  • The USA Patriot Act requires that U.S. visas use biometric identifiers by October 26, 2004. The Department began phased implementation of biometric (fingerprint) collection in September 2003. All posts will be collecting biometrics by October 2004.
  • Continue to expand datashare opportunities with federal agencies, maximizing the value of consular data to the USG while developing procedures to ensure proper use of this information.
  • Continue working on a number of programs with Canada and Mexico as part of the U.S.-Canada Smart Border Action Plan (30 point plan) and U.S.-Mexico Border Partnership (22 point plan). As concerns the movement of people, the Department is working on agreements to share Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Records for airline passengers entering the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. The Department is also working with both these countries (NEXUS with Canada and SENTRI with Mexico) to expand frequent traveler programs to allow faster crossings for bona fide travelers.
Results Challenges
  • The Department has led the interagency effort to implement the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The eleven PSI-participant nations have agreed to move rapidly on direct measures to impede trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, missiles and related items and have agreed on a set of principles that can guide interdiction efforts.
  • Entry into force of the Moscow Treaty, and initiation of U.S.-Russian working groups to exchange information and foster transparency regarding offensive nuclear forces and missile defense.
  • Significant recovery of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from financial and administrative crises of previous years, giving strong hope that it will fully carry out its responsibilities for implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • Impeded Iran's nuclear weapons program by locking in international consensus that Iran's clandestine nuclear activities are of great concern; Led the IAEA Board of Governors in September 2003 to adopt a resolution giving Iran an October 31 deadline to fully cooperate with IAEA investigations and answer all outstanding IAEA questions about its nuclear activities, as well as to sign and implement an Additional Protocol and to suspend enrichment related and reprocessing activity. Strengthened the international consensus against cooperation with Iran until all safeguards questions are resolved.
  • Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) States Parties need to take actions to improve their legal structures and enforcement against biological weapons activities, and coordinate with other BWC States Parties in controlling the biological weapons threat.
  • Agreement on a set of principles that can guide interdiction efforts.
  • Meeting the IAEA Statute's obligation to find Iran in noncompliance to the UN security council.
  • Continuing to build international consensus that the suspension of Iran's enrichment and reprocessing activities must transition into permanent abandonment of those activities.
  • Maintaining intense IAEA and international scrutiny of Iran's nuclear activities.
  • Ensuring that Iran sees no "carrots" for ending its sensitive nuclear pursuits until cessation of such activities can be fully verified.
Results Challenges
  • Projected reduction in coca cultivation in Colombia, for second year in a row.
  • Completion of agreement, including new safety rules, with Colombia to reestablish the Air Bridge Denial Program. Negotiations opened with Peru to establish a similar program.
  • Colombian Government security presence extended more than 150 of 160 municipalities previously devoid of any law enforcement presence. More than eighty Colombian nationals extradited to U.S. on narcotics or money laundering charges.
  • UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and Supplemental Protocol on Trafficking in Persons entered into force. Agreement reached on UN Convention Against Corruption, with signing ceremony set for December.
  • Assessments completed and assistance initiated or continued to 16 of 19 priority countries most vulnerable to terrorist financing. The multilateral Financial Action Task Force "graduated" five countries from its "blacklist" of Non-Cooperating Countries and Territories because of improvements in their anti-money laundering laws and practices.
  • Domestic - sometimes violent - opposition to coca eradication programs in Peru and Bolivia threaten to undercut government resolve in carrying out eradication programs that have proved successful in the past.
  • The inability of the Afghan national government to extend its security and law enforcement authority to outlying provinces continues to undercut Afghan and international efforts to curb opium poppy cultivation and heroin trafficking.
  • Lack of absorptive capacity and political will continue to hamper and slow the development of viable money-laundering regimes in many priority terrorist-financing countries.
  • More generally, lack of institutional capacity in many key countries - some of them havens for international crime - means that strengthening justice sectors will be a long and slow process.
  • Drug traffickers and other international crime groups continue to be exceedingly adept at making use of the latest technological advances and equipment to protect and advance their operations.
Results Challenges
  • The Passport Records Imaging System Management (PRISM) database has been deployed at all domestic passport facilities. Users can now immediately retrieve electronic records within minutes of passport issuance.
  • Implemented Passport Information Electronic Retrieval System (PIERS), an improved data management system that allows approved users worldwide to access passport records (through OpenNet). This system will also facilitate interagency data sharing as proper data sharing agreements are formulated.
  • The web site for international travelers,, recorded 198.5 million hits in FY 2003, averaging almost 544,000 hits per day, compared to 128 million hits with a daily average of 347,254 in FY 2002. Enhancements to the web site include an automatic date/time confirmation that travel safety information is current and additional electronic forms.
  • Development/deployment of a new Intelligent Passport that contains an embedded Integrated Circuit that will carry biometric data.
  • Implementation of the Intercountry Adoption Act.
  • Preparations for requirement that U.S. citizens have a U.S. passport for all travel within the Western Hemisphere.
Results Challenges
  • Achieved G-8 commitment to increase international cooperation to combat corruption, deny safe haven to corrupt officials, those who corrupt them, their dependents, and to identify and repatriate funds stolen through acts of corruption.
  • Continued implementation of the Inter-American Anticorruption Convention (IACAC) Follow-Up Mechanism. The IACAC is one of the most important, and the largest of the regional anticorruption mechanisms.
  • Completed negotiations of a comprehensive United Nations Anticorruption Convention.
  • For the first time, comprehensive programs in China were supported through DRL's Human Rights and Democracy Fund to press for structural reforms in the areas of rule of law and democracy.
  • Public-private partnerships and voluntary codes of conduct advanced respect for rule of law and worker rights. Worker rights provisions were negotiated for free trade agreements. Worker organizations multiplied in Middle East.
  • Community of Democracies established as viable multilateral instrument for consolidating democracy. Advances in democracy are now backed by institutions for mutual support, in several regions, to cope with potential crises in democracy.
  • Accelerating the rate of implementation of global anticorruption and transparency commitments such as those adopted in the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption, regional mechanisms, and treaty law.
  • Work continues in pressing for positive results in the make-up of the UN Commission on Human Rights to enable serious resolutions and effective measures addressing the worst human rights violations.
  • Regional capacities to deal with recalcitrant regimes (e.g., Burma, Zimbabwe, Cuba) are still growing.
  • Additional steps to increase interagency coordination and information sharing are necessary to sharpen global strategies and individual program implementation.
Results Challenges
  • Began the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Promoted regional and global economic growth through enhanced growth of financial markets and international cooperation on assistance programs.
  • Developed diversified, reliable supplies of energy to reduce dependence on any one source.
  • Managed economic aspects of U.S. engagement with the frontline states in the battle to defeat terrorism.
  • Protected and expanded transportation and communications networks through international cooperation on cargo and passenger security measures, Open Skies agreements, and telecommunications negotiations.
  • Coordinated international efforts to block terrorists' funds and terrorists' ability to use the global financial system.
  • Concluded and obtained ratification by Congress of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Singapore and Chile.
  • Managing a growing workload on an increasing number of issues related to economic prosperity and security including terrorist financing, post-conflict economic reconstruction and trade negotiations.
  • Resolving differences with 33 hemispheric partners over desired scope of Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement by January 2005 deadline. Most difficult issues with Brazil, other Mercosur members and Caricom countries.
  • Managing workload inherent in stepped up negotiation of Bilateral Free Trade Agreements.
  • Resolving differences blocking resumption of Doha Round WTO negotiations among WTO members regarding Singapore issues (investment, services, etc), agricultural subsidies and other issues.
Results Challenges
  • Thanks to the Global Health Security Action Group and other bioterrorism activities, countries can take more appropriate action in case of a bioterrorism attack.
  • Progress continues in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Diplomatic outreach efforts have mobilized political leadership around the world, a basic step in the fight.
  • Key conservation management agreements were renegotiated to include forward-looking provisions of current international fisheries law and practice.
  • CSD reforms are a leading example of UN reform efforts and are helping to catalyze a shift in emphasis from norm-setting toward implementation of sustainable development.
  • A range of cooperative activities in the areas of climate change and clean energy technologies initiated or advancedwith 13 bilateral partners and through multilateral initiatives.
  • The U.S. hosts ministerial-level Earth Observation Summit to promote the development and financial support of an integrated and sustained earth observation system, designed to link climate, terrestrial and oceans observing datasets.
  • Significant progress is made through DOS-led White Water to Blue Water Initiative to energize partnerships to address integrated approaches to watershed and marine ecosystems management in the Caribbean.
  • The worst of the AIDS epidemic lies ahead. Implementing the President's Emergency Plan will help alleviate the effects.
  • Most countries have inadequate systems to detect or respond to either natural or deliberate (terrorist) outbreaks of disease and climate forecasts which can influence such things as the vulnerability of living resources and the likelihood of disease outbreaks.
  • Illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing activities and increasing or transferred fishing vessel capacity continues to undermine efforts to manage fisheries resources.
  • Maintain focus on promoting good governance, economic growth with emphasis on poverty reduction and investment in people as best way to address social needs in the Western Hemisphere.  Ensure that these approaches form centerpiece of January 2004 Special Summit of the Americas.
  • Science and Technology agreements need to better serve the interagency and broader scientific community by addressing such issues as intellectual property, liability, and taxation issues in practical terms and in streamlining the process for authorizing negotiations of agency-level agreements.
Results Challenges
  • Contingency planning and effective response averted a humanitarian disaster in Iraq. The Department's work and participation in interagency efforts ensured that adequate food, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid were provided to populations in need.
  • The Department supported operations to assist refugees' return and reintegration to Afghanistan, and Angola among other countries. Over 520,000 refugees returned to Afghanistan and roughly 70,000 refugees returned to Angola in FY 2003.
  • The Department funded an expanded UNHCR capacity to identify and refer refugees for resettlement to the United States, which is expected to result in greater refugee admissions.
  • The World Food Program's efficient and coordinated response to the food crisis in southern Africa averted starvation.
  • Lack of security continues to put at risk refugees and those who assist them.
  • Security challenges in overseas refugee processing locations will continue to impede USG efforts to maintain a robust resettlement program.
  • Information on refugee health remains difficult to collect and analyze. The Department will continue to support collaborative efforts to standardize methodology and improve collection of data on mortality and nutrition in refugee situations,humanitarian emergencies and other conflict settings.
  • Despite a strong U.S. commitment, contributions from other donors perennially fall short of world food needs. The Department will continue efforts to mobilize donor contributions to the World Food Program, including "twinning," an approach that matches non-traditional donors of cash with non-traditional donors of food.
Results Challenges
  • President Bush delivered the 213th State of the Union address before the largest worldwide audience ever on January 28, 2003. Tens of millions of people around the globe were able to have access to the speech live on television, and on the Internet, in multiple languages.
  • Since its inception in 2001, the Department's Chinese-language Internet service, Meiguo Cankao (MCGK), has firmly established itself as the authoritative source on America and its policies and a main source of world news for Chinese readers. MCGK gets an average of 20,000 requests for pages daily and is read by the major Chinese sites. MCGK's material invariably appears with attribution, notable given the tightly controlled nature of the official Chinese news environment.
  • One hundred thirty one students from communities at risk in countries of priority in the War on Terrorism are studying in U.S. high schools under the Partnerships for Learning YES Youth Exchange.
  • As of July 2003, the Department's publication, A Responsible Press Office: An Insider's Guide, has been distributed in 18 languages. Presidential/prime ministerial spokespersons have reported using the publication with staffs, in seminars and in organizing their offices. One prime minister began open discussions with the press after reading the volume and a presidential spokesperson in another reported the publication "saved our lives."
  • A major effort is needed for more effective communication with the Muslim and Arab worlds and to counter the impact of hostile influences.
  • Anti-American editorial slants in much of the Arabic press make it difficult to get out our message. Pan-Arab satellite television has become the most important element in forming Arab public opinion, but anti-American commentary dominates many of the stations. We are placing greater emphasis on placement of positive articles on the U.S. and gaining more access for American speakers on the air in order to give more objective exposure to the general public on USG policies.
  • The Department needs to augment current public diplomacy evaluation techniques, and rely more on expert professional resources to help base our programs on solid public opinion attitudes and information. A culture of measurement must reach all public diplomacy structures.
  • Border and visa security issues, SARS and the War in Iraq affected exchanges in 2003 and are expected to continue as challenges to the exchange of persons in 2004.
  • The Department will continue to intensify its reach to younger and wider audiences throughout the world.
Results Challenges
  • Eighty percent of our diplomatic missions overseas that were at low and medium threat security levels have been brought to a high threat defensive posture thereby affording the Department's employees with greater protection.
  • The Department has tripled the number of background re-investigations completed annually to ensure the integrity of our workforce and protect national security information.
  • For the first time in several years the Department has reduced hiring deficits in Foreign Service career tracks and has robust pipelines for future hiring.
  • The Civil Service hiring process has been augmented with creative pipeline type approaches that seek to minimize staffing gaps in those skill areas that have frequent vacancies.
  • The Department's network availability was increased to 98%, providing more reliable communications to Department employees worldwide than ever before.
  • The implementation of the OpenNetPlus program accomplished the Secretary's highest IT priority plus providing worldwide desktop Internet access for over 43,000 Department users.
  • Sustain recent improvements and support the expansion of critical security initiatives around the world.
  • The Department worked with OMB to develop a capital replacement program that requires agencies with an overseas presence to pay their fair share of urgent, security-driven capital construction projects undertaken to replace embassy and consulate compounds at the most vulnerable posts thereby encouraging rightsizing and accelerating construction.