State Department: Management Weaknesses in the Security Construction Program, Report to the Chairman, Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 4MB]

The $2.1 billion Diplomatic Security Construction program was started in 1986 to build secure new diplomatic facilities at high-risk posts around the world. Initially, the State Department took a number of steps to improve program execution, including reorganizing the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations and contracting with Sverdrup Corporation for construction support services. Moreover, the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations was authorized to add 133 new staff positions. Nevertheless, the State Department has made limited progress so far in implementing the program and still lacks reasonable assurances that its security construction program objectives are being met. Several factors have contributed to delays and cost increases. These include difficulties in filling authorized staff positions at the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations, the division of responsibilities between the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for construction security management, poor program planning, problems with site acquisition, changes in security requirements, and inadequate contractor performance. GAO concludes that the scope and magnitude of project delays and cost increases indicate systemic weaknesses in program management. The State Department has taken several recent steps to improve security construction.

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