Six years of audits and investigations by the State Department office of inspector general turned up $6 billion worth of contracts with missing or incomplete files. In a March 31 report (pdf), the OIG says contract management is a major challenge for the department and "creates conditions conducive to fraud."
But talks with the Mexican government "may not produce the immediate transfer of him," said John Feeley, head of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, while before the House Homeland Security Committee.
Agencies are letting noncompetitive contracts awarded on the basis of "unusual and compelling urgency" run past the one year limit they're not meant to exceed.
Before traveling to certain dangerous countries, State Department employees are supposed to undergo security training, but the department doesn't always ensure they do so. Trainees are taught to evacuate smoke-filled buildings, provide emergency medical care, drive defensively, survive a vehicle rollover, and become aware of improvised explosive devices.
Asylum seekers to the United States who provided "insignificant material support" to a terrorist organization will no longer find that an automatic barrier to their application under a Feb. 5 rule issued by the departments of Homeland Security and State.
Several years into the social media revolution, federal agencies find themselves also discovering social media analytics, panelists during a Feb. 11 event said.
Recurring weaknesses put "at significant risk the integrity" of the State Department's cybersecurity program, warns the departmental inspector general.
If an agency posts misinformation or information that's misinterpreted or subject to negative attention, it's best to acknowledge it, correct it and move on, said Nicole Stillwell, community and brand manager for the State Department's bureau of consular affairs office of policy coordination and public affairs new media.
Public diplomacy does not have a clear way to measure its effects, said Walter Douglas, minister counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India. U.S. public diplomacy has in recent years focused heavily on countering anti-American views in Muslim-majority countries. One lesson Douglas said he has drawn from his experiences is that it helps to discuss the importance of religion to Americans.
Federal agencies reported $3.8 billion in cost savings related to real property in recent years, but their decisions about what counted as savings were inconsistent and sometimes dubious, the Government Accountability Office says.