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U.S. Department of State — 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report

January 16, 2015 Comments off

2014 Fiscal Transparency Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State hereby presents the findings from the FY 2014 fiscal transparency review process in its Fiscal Transparency Report. This report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency developed by the Department of State in consultation with other relevant federal agencies, identifies governments that are potential beneficiaries of FY 2014 foreign assistance funds, assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements, and indicates whether those governments made significant progress towards meeting the requirements.

Final Coburn Oversight Report Finds Major Problems in DHS

January 15, 2015 Comments off

Final Coburn Oversight Report Finds Major Problems in DHS
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

On his final day serving in the U.S. Senate, Senator Tom Coburn released an oversight report, A Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Missions and Performance, which finds the Department of Homeland Security is not successfully executing any of its five main missions.

“Ten years of oversight of the Department of Homeland Security finds that the Department still has a lot of work to do to strengthen our nation’s security,” Dr. Coburn explained. “Congress needs to review the Department’s mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility.”

The following are some of the report’s key findings:

  • The Department of Homeland Security spent $50 billion over the past eleven years on counterterrorism programs, including homeland security grants and other anti-terror initiatives, but the department cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result.
  • As of 2014, 700 miles of the Southern border remain unsecured.
  • DHS is not effectively administering or enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, and only 3 in 100 illegal immigrants will ever face deportation.
  • DHS spends more than $700 million annually to lead the federal government’s efforts on cybersecurity, but struggles to protect itself and cannot protect federal and civilian networks from the most serious cyber attacks.
  • DHS has spent $170 billion for natural disasters since 2002, in part because of an increased federal role in which the costs of small storms are declared “major disasters.”

Despite these findings, Senator Coburn expressed optimism about the Department’s future if Congress acts soon to address the problems identified in this report. “I am confident that Secretary Jeh Johnson is leading the Department in the right direction,” Senator Coburn commented. “One of the biggest challenges that Sec. Johnson and DHS face is Congress and its dysfunctional approach to setting priorities for the Department. Congress needs to work with the Department to refocus its missions on national priorities and give Secretary Johnson the authority to lead and fix the Department.”

Fact Sheet — New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms

January 9, 2015 Comments off

New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms
Source: U.S. Department of State

Data in this Fact Sheet comes from the biannual exchange of data required by the Treaty. It contains data declared current as of September 1, 2014. Data will be updated each six month period after entry into force of the Treaty.

Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba

December 19, 2014 Comments off

Charting a New Course on Cuba
Source: U.S. Department of State

Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba.

It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba. Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect – today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.

We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state. With our actions today, we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities. In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help.

See also: Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes (John Kerry, Secretary of State)
See also: Briefing on Changes in U.S. Policy Toward Cuba (Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs)

Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, Public Diplomacy, 1917-1972, World War I

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, Public Diplomacy, 1917-1972, World War I
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, Public Diplomacy, 1917–1972, World War I. This is the first chapter in a retrospective volume which will augment the series’ coverage of U.S. public diplomacy. While the series began to document the subject in a sustained and concerted way starting with the second administration of President Richard M. Nixon, previous FRUS coverage of U.S. public diplomacy efforts have been far less consistent. This retrospective volume will fill that gap, which stretches from the First World War to the early 1970s. This compilation covers World War I; subsequent compilations, which will document up to the end of the first Nixon administration, will be published as they are completed. The compilation also features the first inclusion of film in a Foreign Relations of the United States volume.

To Walk the Earth in Safety (2014)

December 9, 2014 Comments off

To Walk the Earth in Safety (2014)
Source: U.S. Department of State

The 13th edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety describes the programs and partnerships that comprise the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) Program. Since 1993, the U.S. has led the international donor community in reducing the harmful effects of poorly secured, unstable or illegally traded conventional weapons of war. We have contributed over $2.3 billion to more than 90 countries around the world.

Inspection of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, High Threat Programs Directorate

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Inspection of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, High Threat Programs Directorate (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General

Key Findings

+ The establishment of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, High Threat Programs directorate in 2013 enabled the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to enhance its focus on the security needs of overseas posts most susceptible to risk and threat.

+ The High Threat Programs directorate suffers from significant staffing gaps and position shortages. In order to continue to meet its goals, the Department needs to staff the directorate fully.

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