News & Policies
Embassy Security: The President's 2002 Budget reaffirms the steadfast commitment to the safety and security of the men and women serving our Nation overseas. The budget includes $1.3 billion to address infrastructure needs including the construction of new, secure facilities and to improve security operations including additional security officers essential to the prevention and deterrence of terrorist attacks. The continued engagement and leadership of the United States in international affairs will not be diminished by the actions of terrorists as we have demonstrated in the wake of the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. On the contrary, it only strengthens our resolve to advance our values and U.S. interests throughout the world.
Information Technology (IT): The 2002 Budget presents an opportunity to reinvigorate efforts to expand the use of IT in foreign affairs. The budget includes a substantial increase for investments in a modernized secure communications capability incorporating new tools and applications, opening access channels to the Internet to take full advantage of its information and communication capabilities, and sharing information among agencies in the foreign affairs community.
Assistance for Counternarcotics Activities: The 2002 Budget requests funding to maintain and expand programs begun with $1.3 billion in the 2000 Emergency Supplemental to support Plan Colombia. Colombia is the source or transit point of 90 percent of the cocaine and over half of the heroin in the United States, and those percentages are increasing. Neighboring countries, such as Bolivia and Peru, have conducted effective coca eradication programs, but maintaining their success will require vigilance and U.S. support. Any successful counterdrug strategy in the region must include funding to bring greater economic and political stability to the region and a peaceful resolution to Colombia's internal conflict. The United States must capitalize on the groundwork of programs funded thus far including the expansion of Andean eradication and interdiction, sustained alternative development programs, and continued attention to justice and government reform initiatives. The budget also requests funding for Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, and Panama, under this initiative to strengthen their efforts to control drug production and the drug trade.
Tropical Forest Initiative: The President is committed to increase resources for the protection of tropical forests. In 1998, Congress passed the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA). The President supports, and the 2002 Budget will make more funds available for "debt-for-nature" swaps and other market-oriented methods authorized under the TFCA to protect tropical forests.
Consistent with the overall effort to reduce subsidies that primarily benefit corporations rather than individuals, the international affairs budget includes savings in credit subsidy funding for the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The Export-Import Bank provides export credits, in the form of direct loans or loan guarantees, to U.S. exporters who meet basic eligibility criteria and who request the Bank's assistance. The budget proposes savings of approximately 25 percent in Export-Import Bank's credit subsidy requirements through policy changes that focus the Bank on U.S. exporters who truly cannot access private financing, as well as through lower estimates of international risk for 2002. These changes could include a combination of increased risk sharing with the private sector, higher user fees and more stringent value-added tests. The budget also eliminates OPIC credit subsidy for 2002. OPIC has been unable to spend all of its existing subsidy budget authority in any of the past two fiscal years, and will carry enough subsidy into 2002 to fully fund its current level of credit programs. This redirection effort anticipates that the role of the Export-Import Bank and OPIC will become more focused on correcting market imperfections as the private sector's ability to bear emerging market risks becomes larger, more sophisticated, and more efficient.
De-layering the Bureaucracy to Promote Effective Foreign Policy: American foreign policy can be made more effective by empowering highly talented and motivated foreign policy professionals. The Department of State will empower line officers at the center of foreign policy by using their expertise and reducing the number of middle management positions that complicate lines of authority within the Department and hinder the development and presentation of a coherent foreign policy.
Using IT More Effectively: The Department of State intends to make full use of all the tools of the ongoing technology and information revolution. A long-term investment strategy for new technology is necessary to address the many needs of foreign policy professionals. The Secretary of State has personally committed to transform the way IT is used to communicate, gather, and share information within the Department and the 2002 Budget is the initial step toward that goal.
Reforming Management of Human Resources: Current personnel policies and work force planning threaten the Department's ability to recruit and retain the highest possible caliber work force to meet the challenges and opportunities of American foreign policy. The Department will complete a comprehensive examination of current and future workforce needs to ensure that it is prepared for the challenges of 21st Century diplomacy. The Department of State will create and implement policies to ensure that it recruits, hires, and retains Foreign and Civil service officers with the right skills needed to fulfill the Department's strategic and performance goals.
Using Best Practices in Facilities Management: A safe and secure work environment that supports the work of all agencies overseas is essential for the effective promotion of U.S. national interests. The organization that builds and manages American overseas facilities must be committed to the most effective and efficient means of providing top-flight service. The 2002 Budget provides the necessary funding to make this happen. The Department of State will identify, review and change as necessary business processes that are not consistent with the best practices of private industry and the U.S. Government. It will meet the secure facility needs of the foreign affairs community.