Archive

Archive for the ‘U.S. Department of State’ Category

Department of State OIG — Management Alert: Contract File Management Deficiencies

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Management Alert: Contract File Management Deficiencies (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in recent audits, investigations, and inspections, has identified significant vulnerabilities in the management of contract file documentation that could expose the Department to substantial financial losses. Specifically, over the past 6 years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all. The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.

About these ads

FY 2014-2017 Department of State and USAID Strategic Plan

April 4, 2014 Comments off

FY 2014-2017 Department of State and USAID Strategic Plan
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014 to 2017 sets forth the Secretary of State’s direction and priorities for both organizations. The Strategic Plan presents how the Department and USAID will implement U.S. foreign policy and development assistance.

Department of State by State

April 2, 2014 Comments off

Department of State by State
Source: U.S. Department of State

For about a 1% investment of the Federal budget, the State Department yields a large return for the American people by protecting U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, providing services, and reaffirming our country’s exceptional role in the world. The map below represents just some of the direct effects State Department programs have in American communities.

State of Global Partnerships

April 2, 2014 Comments off

State of Global Partnerships
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships leveraged approximately $829 million in public and private resources for diplomacy and development since 2009, and worked with over 1,600 partners from around the world.

Globally, countless partnerships have been launched. In this report, we’ve selected a few standout partnerships to illustrate the impact these efforts have had, or will have, in the future.

Textbook Diplomacy: Why the State Department Shelved a Study on Incitement in Saudi Education Materials

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Textbook Diplomacy: Why the State Department Shelved a Study on Incitement in Saudi Education Materials (PDF)
Source: Foundation for the Defense of Democracy
From press release:

Though first noted as problematic more than a decade ago by the Department of State, incitement and hatred continues to be taught from government textbooks to students in Saudi Arabia. Today, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) released a monograph exploring why a 2011 U.S. government-commissioned study on the subject has been withheld from the public, what is being taught in Saudi schools today, and how official incitement impacts U.S. national security.

Fact Sheet: Highlights of the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development Budget

March 6, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Highlights of the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development Budget
Source: U.S. Department of State

The President’s FY 2015 budget request for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is $46.2 billion. The request reflects continued American leadership in pursuit of stability and prosperity while making tough trade-offs to support national security, diplomatic, and development priorities.

Mindful of fiscal constraints, this budget provides American taxpayers a remarkable return on their investment in American leadership. With just over one percent of the federal budget, the State Department and USAID budget provides security, stability, prosperity, jobs, and opportunity as it addresses some of the most complex challenges of our time, ranging from extremism and fragile and failed states, to global food security and climate change. It also expands opportunities for diplomatic engagement with the governments and citizens in 190 countries, building partnerships that help protect U.S. interests, promote common values, expand economic opportunities at home and abroad, and empower the next generation.

2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

February 28, 2014 Comments off

2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
Source: U.S. Department of State

On February 27, 2014, Secretary Kerry submitted the 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (commonly known as the Human Rights Reports) to the United States Congress. The reports, now in their 38th year, are available on State.gov and HumanRights.gov. Mandated by Congress, the Human Rights Reports help inform U.S. government policy and foreign assistance. They are also a reference for other governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, legal professionals, scholars, interested citizens, and journalists.

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Compliance Follow-Up Review: The Department of State’s Choice of Environmental Resources Management, Inc., To Assist in Preparing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Compliance Follow-Up Review: The Department of State’s Choice of Environmental Resources Management, Inc., To Assist in Preparing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General

Based on the information provided and interviews conducted, OIG found that the process the Department used to select ERM to help prepare the Keystone XL SEIS substantially followed its prescribed guidance and at times was more rigorous than that guidance. The Department’s published guidance provides a general outline for the contractor selection process, and Department personnel managing the process drew on their previous experience to implement the process. For example, the Department used a selection panel of six Department employees to review the proposals submitted by the three third – party candidates that applied to serve as the SEIS contractor , and that panel interviewed each candidate. N either the selection panel nor candidate interviews are prescribed by the published guidance. Although in two instances the Department made reasonable deviations from its prescribed guidance , OIG found that these deviations d id not adversely affect the selection process. In one of the instances, f r example, the Department elevated the final contractor selection decision from the office director to a higher – ranking official, an assistant secretary .

State Department — Ukraine Travel Alert

February 19, 2014 Comments off

Ukraine Travel Alert
Source: U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the increased risks of travel to Ukraine because of the ongoing political unrest and violent clashes between police and protesters. Since February 18, there has been a sharp escalation in violence between protesters and police. The Ukrainian Security Services have announced that they may take extraordinary measures beginning the evening of February 18. U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a low profile and to remain indoors at night while clashes continue. As of February 18, the Kyiv Metro (subway) has been shut down and access into Kyiv by road has, according to credible reports, been restricted. The situation is currently very fluid and U.S. citizens in Kyiv should follow media reports closely as events develop. This Travel Alert dated February 18, 2014, replaces the Travel Alert dated January 24, 2014, and updates specific information on violent protests and transportation systems. This Travel Alert expires May 17, 2014.

See also:

Protecting Iconic Species for Future Generations: A New National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking

February 14, 2014 Comments off

Protecting Iconic Species for Future Generations: A New National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking
Source: U.S. Department of State

To protect threatened species like elephants and rhinoceroses for future generations, today the President approved a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The Strategy strengthens U.S. leadership on countering the global security threat posed by poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, which is decimating iconic animal populations. Because of the actions of poachers, today species like elephants and rhinoceroses face the risk of significant decline or even extinction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, we are taking action to stop these illicit networks and ensure that our children have the chance to grow up in a world with and experience for themselves the wildlife we know and love.

The new Strategy establishes three strategic priorities: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships with international partners, local communities, NGOs, private industry, and others to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade.

Annual Report on Assistance Related to International Terrorism: Fiscal Year 2013

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Annual Report on Assistance Related to International Terrorism: Fiscal Year 2013
Source: U.S. Department of State

This report includes descriptions of programs that directly counter international terrorism, such as programs delivered by the Bureau of Counterterrorism. This report also includes descriptions of programs that may have other primary purposes, but that also contribute indirectly, but substantially, to countering international terrorism in one way or another. Such programs include criminal justice assistance provided by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, as well as with assistance related to nonproliferation and destruction of conventional weapons provided by the Bureaus of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Political and Military Affairs.

Fact Sheet: Keystone XL Pipeline

January 31, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Keystone XL Pipeline
Source: U.S. Department of State

On January 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of State (“the Department”) released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final Supplemental EIS). The analysis in the Final Supplemental EIS was done consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act and is in response to TransCanada’s application (May 4, 2012) for a Presidential Permit to construct and operate the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The President’s authority to approve or deny a cross-border pipeline permit is delegated to the Secretary of State or his designees in Executive Order 13337.

The analysis in the Final Supplemental EIS builds on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released on March 1, 2013 as well as the documents released in 2011 as part of the previous Keystone XL Pipeline application.

The proposed Keystone XL project consists of a 875-mile long pipeline and related facilities to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Alberta, Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana. The pipeline would cross the U.S. border near Morgan, Montana and continue through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska where it would connect to existing pipeline facilities near Steele City, Nebraska for onward delivery to Cushing, Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast area.

The Final Supplemental EIS is not a decisional document on whether to approve or deny the proposed project. The Final Supplemental EIS is a technical assessment of the potential environmental impacts related to the proposed pipeline. It responds to over 1.9 million comments received since June 2012 (from both the scoping and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement comment periods). The Final Supplemental EIS reflects the most current information on the proposed Project as well as discussions the Department has had with both state and federal agencies. Notable changes since the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released in March 2013, include: an expanded analysis of potential oil releases; an expanded climate change analysis; an updated oil market analysis incorporating new economic modeling; and an expanded analysis of rail transport.

Terrorism Designations FAQs

January 14, 2014 Comments off

Terrorism Designations FAQs
Source: U.S. Department of State

There are two main authorities for terrorism designations of groups and individuals. Groups can be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under Executive Order 13224, a wider range of entities, including terrorist groups, individuals acting as part of a terrorist organization, and other entities such as financiers and front companies, can be designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs).

Travel Alert — U.S. Department of State — Russian Federation

January 10, 2014 Comments off

Travel Alert — U.S. Department of State — Russian Federation
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens planning to attend the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia that they should remain attentive regarding their personal security at all times. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place in Sochi, Russia, from February 7 to March 16, 2014. This travel alert expires March 24, 2014. Full information about the Olympic and Paralympic games for U.S. citizen visitors is available on the Sochi Fact Sheet and the Country Specific Information for the Russian Federation on our website, travel.state.gov. The Department strongly recommends that all U.S. citizens residing or traveling abroad enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive pertinent safety and security information.

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update

January 8, 2014 Comments off

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was created on January 14, 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary ad hoc international forum brings together over 80 countries, organizations, and industry groups with a shared interest in combating piracy. Chaired in 2013 by the United States, the Contact Group coordinates political, military, and non-governmental efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, ensure that pirates are brought to justice, and support regional states to develop sustainable maritime security capabilities. The European Union will assume the chairmanship in 2014.

Through its five thematic working groups, the Contact Group draws on a wide range of international expertise and adopts a problem-solving approach to piracy, working closely with Somali officials from the central government and regional administrations and officials in Indian Ocean States. Working Group 1, chaired by the United Kingdom, focuses on operational naval coordination, information sharing, and capacity building; Working Group 2, chaired by Denmark, addresses legal and judicial issues; Working Group 3, chaired by the Republic of Korea, works closely with the shipping industry to enhance awareness and build capabilities among seafarers transiting the region; Working Group 4, chaired by Egypt, aims at raising public awareness of the dangers of piracy; and Working Group 5, chaired by Italy, focuses on disrupting the pirate criminal enterprise ashore, including the illicit financial flows associated with maritime piracy.

This unique international partnership is contributing to a significant decline in piracy off the Horn of Africa. Thanks in part to the Contact Group’s concerted efforts, there has not been a successful pirate attack on a commercial vessel off the Horn of Africa in more than a year and a half, and pirates no longer control a single hijacked vessel.

Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2014

January 6, 2014 Comments off

Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2014 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State

This Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2014: Report to the Congress is submitted in compliance with Sections 207(d)(1) and (e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Act requires that before the start of the fiscal year and, to the extent possible, at least two weeks prior to consultations on refugee admissions, members of the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives be provided with the following information: (1) A description of the nature of the refugee situation;

(2) A description of the number and allocation of the refugees to be admitted and an analysis of conditions within the countries from which they came;

(3) A description of the plans for their movement and resettlement and the estimated cost of their movement and resettlement;

(4) An analysis of the anticipated social, economic, and demographic impact of their admission to the United States; (5) A description of the extent to which other countries will admit and assist in the resettlement of such refugees;

(6) An analysis of the impact of the participation of the United States in the resettlement of such refugees on the foreign policy interests of the United States; and

(7) Such additional information as may be appropriate or requested by such members.

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update

October 28, 2013 Comments off

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was created on January 14, 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary ad hoc international forum brings together over 80 countries, organizations, and industry groups with a shared interest in combating piracy. Chaired in 2013 by the United States, the Contact Group coordinates political, military, and non-governmental efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, ensure that pirates are brought to justice, and support regional states to develop sustainable maritime security capabilities. The European Union will assume the chairmanship in 2014.

Through its five thematic working groups, the Contact Group draws on a wide range of international expertise and adopts a problem-solving approach to piracy, working closely with Somali officials from the central government and regional administrations and officials in Indian Ocean States. Working Group 1, chaired by the United Kingdom, focuses on operational naval coordination, information sharing, and capacity building; Working Group 2, chaired by Denmark, addresses legal and judicial issues; Working Group 3, chaired by the Republic of Korea, works closely with the shipping industry to enhance awareness and build capabilities among seafarers transiting the region; Working Group 4, chaired by Egypt, aims at raising public awareness of the dangers of piracy; and Working Group 5, chaired by Italy, focuses on disrupting the pirate criminal enterprise ashore, including the illicit financial flows associated with maritime piracy.

This unique international partnership is contributing to a significant decline in piracy off the Horn of Africa. The last successful pirate attack on a major merchant vessel in the region occurred on May 10, 2012.

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXXIII, SALT II, 1972-1980

August 21, 2013 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXXIII, SALT II, 1972-1980
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXIII, SALT II, 1972–1980.

This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important foreign policy issues of the Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford presidential administrations. Because of the long-term nature of the SALT II negotiations, however, this volume also includes the period of the Jimmy Carter administration, as Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter worked to resolve the complex, evolving, and interrelated issues necessary to reach an agreement. All three presidents sought to go beyond the Interim Agreement signed at the Moscow Summit in May 1972 through the achievement of a formal treaty on strategic arms. The negotiations were a central component of foreign policy for all three administrations, demanding sustained attention at the highest level of government. This volume offers a rare direct comparison of bureaucratic processes and leadership styles as well as the personal and institutional interplay across these administrations.

State Department Travel Warning: Egypt

August 21, 2013 Comments off

State Department Travel Warning: Egypt
Source: U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Egypt and U.S. citizens living in Egypt to depart at this time because of the continuing political and social unrest. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 3, 2013.

On August 14, the Government of Egypt declared a State of Emergency that includes a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. in select governates, including Cairo and Alexandria. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens who choose to remain in Egypt to comply with local regulations and follow local media for updates applicable to your specific location.

Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012, the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, and the July 2013 change of government, shows little sign of abating. Demonstrations have, on numerous occasions, degenerated into violent clashes between security forces and protesters, and between protesters supporting different factions, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. There have been instances of the use of firearms as well. While most violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including downtown Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, and Port Said, there are recent reports of more widespread political and social violence, including armed attacks, in other areas of Egypt. Of continued concern is gender-based violence in and around protest areas where women have been the targets of sexual assault.

The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse.

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update

July 23, 2013 Comments off

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was created on January 14, 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary ad hoc international forum brings together over 80 countries, organizations, and industry groups with a shared interest in combating piracy. Chaired in 2013 by the United States, the Contact Group coordinates political, military, and non-governmental efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, ensure that pirates are brought to justice, and support regional states to develop sustainable maritime security capabilities. The European Union will assume the chairmanship in 2014.

Through its five thematic working groups, the Contact Group draws on a wide range of international expertise and adopts a problem-solving approach to piracy, working closely with Somali officials from the central government and regional administrations and officials in Indian Ocean States. Working Group 1, chaired by the United Kingdom, focuses on operational naval coordination, information sharing, and capacity building; Working Group 2, chaired by Denmark, addresses legal and judicial issues; Working Group 3, chaired by the Republic of Korea, works closely with the shipping industry to enhance awareness and build capabilities among seafarers transiting the region; Working Group 4, chaired by Egypt, aims at raising public awareness of the dangers of piracy; and Working Group 5, chaired by Italy, focuses on disrupting the pirate criminal enterprise ashore, including the illicit financial flows associated with maritime piracy.

This unique international partnership is contributing to a significant decline in piracy off the Horn of Africa. The last successful pirate attack on a merchant vessel in the region occurred on May 10, 2012.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 785 other followers