STATE DEPARTMENT: Staffing Shortfalls and Ineffective Assignment System Compromise Diplomatic Readiness at Hardship Posts
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
Pagination or Media Count:
State is understaffed relative to its permanent positions-both in terms of the number and types of employees in its workforce. Therefore, it is difficult for the department to ensure that it has the right people in the right place at the right time. The impact of these staffing shortfalls is felt most at hardship posts, including some of strategic importance to the United States. As a result, diplomatic programs and management controls at hardship posts could be vulnerable and posts ability to carry out U.S. foreign policy objectives effectively could be weakened. Seven countries we reviewed, including three that we visited-China, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine-all had staffing shortfalls, in varying degrees. In addition, in these countries, many employees, including new or untenured junior officers, were either working well above their grade levels or did not meet the minimum language proficiency requirements of the positions to which they were assigned. However, the magnitude of this problem on an aggregate level is not fully known because State lacks certain human resources data, which makes it difficult for State to assess staffing limitations and capabilities worldwide.
- Administration and Management
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations