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Great Seal logo   Secretary of State's Advisory Panel Report on Overseas Security



International law and custom hold the host government responsible for the protection of diplomatic missions. However, the United States and other nations often supplement security forces provided by the host government. The United States uses Marine Security Guards and local contract guards for this purpose. This program is particularly important in those numerous cases where the host is unable, or unwilling, to provide our overseas posts with adequate security. In this section of the report, the Panel provides comments and recommendations concerning local guard forces and Marine Security Guard Detachments.

The Panel studied individual post assessments of the foreign contract guard forces that are assigned to perimeter security duties at missions overseas. The picture that emerged from the post assessments is that the Department of State's guard force program is lacking in several areas. There is no consistency in the quality of the local guard force programs from post to post, even within the same country. The Panel found no correlation between the quality, training and preparedness of the guard force at a post and the level of threat.

The Department of State's Regional Bureaus allocate varying sums for contract guard forces to the posts. Also, widely varying pay scales for contract guards exist. Regional or post security officers are responsible for supervising the contract guard force. However, the level of training they receive does not appear to be adequate. Many of the problems cited by the posts, including illiteracy, lack of standardized equipment, and inadequate training, can be attributed in part to the fact that the Department of State has not published a guard force manual establishing minimum but precise standards. It is increasingly important, considering some of our posts in highly threatened environs, that the Department explore new and aggressive means of upgrading and standardizing the guard force program. In summary, the Panel believes that broad reforms are necessary in the guard force program.

Local Guard Forces
The local guard forces or contract guards at each mission are supervised by either a professional security officer (RSO) or by the Post Security Officer (usually an administrative officer), who, among his other duties, is responsible for the security of the post. The functions of the guards vary. Some are used as unarmed 'watchmen, gatekeepers or receptionists while others are armed police or military officials who are expected to deter unauthorized entry. The local guard forces are used for perimeter control at missions and residences, sometimes for internal control of our buildings, and sometimes for personal protection of the key members of the missions. By and large, the local guard forces serve as the first line of defense in the protection of our missions and personnel. Inadequacies in the guard forces can translate quickly into casualties in the event of an attack.

The Panel has seen the Department's 1983 Latin American Contract Guard Force Survey Report and believes that this report is a comprehensive and useful document that should be used as a guide for similar studies. The Panel also notes that the Department has entered into a contract to conduct a study of the guard forces and to prepare a procedural manual. It recommends that the 1983 Latin American Contract Guard Force Survey Report be provided to the contractors as a means of expediting their work in establishing a professional worldwide local guard force program. The Panel believes that the study should include a breakdown by geographical region of the types and use of guards, the cost, the trends, the contractual arrangements, the training, the equipment used, and the effectiveness of the guards.

The Panel recognizes the difficulty in standardizing guard forces world wide. The Department's Bureau of African Affairs stated Due to variations in local, political, economic and social conditions, we tend to believe that standardization may be feasible only on a geographic bureau basis.. The Panel agrees with this assessment, yet encourages a policy of professionalizing -- as much as possible -- all guard forces.

The Panel believes that the Department and its contractors should publish a procedural guard force manual that establishes policies and procedures for local guard forces on a regional bureau basis. The appropriate version of this manual should be distributed to all posts as well as to all concerned foreign affairs agencies. It should a) address standards for selection, background checks and training of the guard forces, b) address equipment to be used such as firearms, uniforms, and vehicles, c) identify the contractual arrangements that should be standardized as much as possible, d) outline legal ramifications of the use of force or liability for negligence on the part of the guards, e) clarify the funding as well as the types and levels of supervision to be exercised, and most importantly, f) clearly outline procedural guidelines and management techniques to be used by the security officer in charge of the supervision of the guard forces.

The largest contingent under the RSO's supervision is usually the contract guard force. Indeed, the annual cost to the Department of State to fund contract guard forces is estimated to be 50 to 60 million dollars. Yet, the training given to Regional Security Officers for the management of the contract guard forces appears to be inadequate. The Panel recommends that the Department of State provide comprehensive training to special agents in the Regional Security Officer training course on the subject of managing the guard forces. The instruction and detailed briefings should be provided on a regional basis with emphasis given to the unique aspects of particular posts. Similar training should also be given to Post Security Officers before they are sent to posts with local guard forces.

The Office of Security teas placed renewed emphasis on the training of guard forces. This involves sending Mobile Training Teams to various posts for the purpose of training post personnel, host government forces assigned to the mission and contract guard forces. The Mobile Training Teams are comprised of special agents who have received extensive training in the United States. A limited number of teams are now scheduled to travel to some posts. It would appear beneficial for the Department of State to continue expanding the Mobile Training Team concept so that guard force training can be provided both routinely and on an emergency basis to all posts. Continuous, updated training for guard forces will improve their competence and thus improve the safety of our personnel.

Some posts have employed unsuitable or incompetent guard forces partly because of the perception that there is no other alternative available within a specific country. Yet, other posts imaginatively have hired -- where permitted -- third country nationals to fulfill guard duties. The Panel recommends that the Department of State immediately seek alternatives to the use of local contract guard companies who do not meet even minimal standards necessary for the protection of our personnel or facilities. The use of American private guard companies or third country nationals must be pursued when the host government and legality permit.

Different terms sometimes are used to describe a guard. The term "watchman" commonly refers to a contract employee who is unarmed and fulfills a passive security role. The term "guard" normally refers to an armed individual who possesses training and skills similar to those of a police officer. Posts employ watchmen because of host government regulations prohibiting arming contract guards, because of cost and competency considerations, or because post personnel neither want nor see the need for armed guards. However, the employment of unarmed watchmen who cannot effectively repel criminals, terrorists or unauthorized persons from entry to an American facility or residential compound, is neither serious nor effective physical deterrence. In addition, at several posts there have been recent instances of our unarmed watchmen being seriously injured or killed by armed robbers. Thus, the Panel recommends that the Department train and appropriately arm all guards who serve in the role of providing physical deterrence, particularly at threatened posts. In those countries where the host government is unwilling to permit the use of armed contract guards, the host should be persuaded to supply its own forces for the protection of our missions and personnel.

The Panel has been advised that the Department has moved to consolidate funding for guard forces within the Office of Security. As stated earlier, this funding was included in the regional bureaus' budgets. Completion of the consolidation of the funding for contract guard forces within the Diplomatic Security Service will ensure it centralized management of the world-wide guard force program.

The 1983 Contract Guard Survey of Latin America recommends, for cost reasons, that the post request resources from the host government for personal bodyguard services prior to hiring their own guards. The Panel readily agrees that the United States Government should not relieve the host government of responsibility to protect diplomats under international law; however, the requests should be fully coordinated with the Department of State. The United States provides bodyguard coverage to only a few resident foreign diplomats in the United States, yet we are increasingly demanding more coverage from foreign governments for our personnel. Foreign Chiefs of Mission accredited to this country are senior officials and often have very strong ties to the leaders of their countries. Thus, reciprocity is becoming a political issue with some nations. The issue of cost must be considered in totality; in other words, although it may cost the post less to have host government guard forces protect the mission and residences, the United States Government will be required to pay reciprocally for the protective services that are afforded the foreign government in the United States. Thus, the Department of State should weigh carefully its requests to host governments for protection on a case by case basis, particularly when those requests require a large number of resources and when the United States Government is unwilling or unable to provide reciprocal measures. If political concerns and reciprocity are serious issues, the Department should provide its own funding for contract guards when warranted.

Technical surveillance systems that can be used to supplement a post's guard force, such as closed circuit television with motion detection and time lapse recording options, are available today. These systems are particularly useful where sufficient numbers of qualified personnel are not available. For example, a technical observation system, operated by a well trained person who can initiate appropriate response measures, can contribute towards cost-effective and efficient building and perimeter security. The Department of State should continue to acquire the most cost-effective and efficient state-of-the-art systems which can be used to supplement guard force operations and contribute towards a reduction in long-term recurring guard costs.

Marine Security Guard Detachments
The use of Marine Security Guard Detachments (MSG) at some United States overseas missions is a long-standing tradition. The Department of State appreciates the positive role that the Marines perform while the Marine Corps finds the program equally rewarding. There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of State and the Unites States Marine Corps which outlines MSG duties, utilization and support, and the limitations on their use outside of official premises.

The primary mission of the Marine Security Guard is to provide internal security guard services to diplomatic and consular missions. Marine Guards are also used to protect some offices of other agencies such as U.S.I.A. and A.I.D. These services include protection of personnel, property, and classified and administratively controlled material and equipment within these premises. The scope of their responsibility is generally considered to include only the interior of the premises including the area contained between the outer perimeter wall and the buildings. MSG's are not normally posted near, on or outside of the premise perimeter. This is because the protection of the mission is primarily the responsibility of the host government. Further, many countries would object to the posting of military personnel on their soil.

The MSG's carry out their primary mission by a) operating access controls and stationary and patrol coverage of classified facilities and operations, b) conducting inspections and patrols to ensure proper procedures for handling and storage of classified material within the premises, c) writing notices of security violations as Department of State security regulations direct, d) effecting and supervising destruction of classified waste, e) providing control of buildings and portions of buildings during construction or renovation of areas, f) providing special guard services for U.S. delegation offices for regional or international conferences at which classified information is kept, g) assisting in guarding the temporary overseas residences of the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and other ranking dignitaries as required, and h) providing internal security guard coverage on a temporary basis of the Principal Officer's residence when the life or safety of the protected official is in danger. The latter duty is rarely conducted by the Marines and it is subject to written orders and approval. Further, the assignment must be in response to a threat situation, and the MSG's must be armed and in uniform. The MSG's may also provide special guard services in the execution of interagency plans for dealing with emergency situations.

The MSG Detachments are operationally supervised by the Regional Security Officer (RSO) or the Post Security Officer (PSO). The RSO or PSO provides the guard orders, directions and instructions for the operations of the Marines at the post and ensures that they are properly housed and supported. The Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) is the senior member of the MSG Detachment and he supervises and administratively controls the Marines. He reports through the RSO or PSO to the Chief of Mission.

As described above, the MSG role is essentially defensive in nature. They serve as an in-house deterrent to limited acts of violence, as well as a defense mechanism to large scale riots. The Marines are expected to delay entry by hostile elements long enough to permit destruction of classified material and to assist in protecting lives of the mission staff until host government forces arrive. They are authorized, under the command of the senior Foreign Service officer present, to use weapons to protect their own lives or mission staff from direct and immediate danger. The specific use of force is outlined in the MSG post guard orders.

The Company Commanders (Regional Marine Officers or RMO's), who are appointed by Headquarters Marine Corps to major geographical areas receive little or no training in Department of State security programs. The Panel believes that this can result in misunderstandings and confusion on the part of the RHO as to his mission to be performed, the Department of State role, and his relationship to the posts in his region. Further, there is a lack of training for Post Security Officers (vis-a-vis Regional Security Officers) about managing the MSG Detachments. This is equally undesirable.

Not all embassies or consulates are assigned Marine Guards; in fact, less than one-half or only 126 of our foreign posts are protected internally by the U.S. Marines. The Department of State has requested substantially more Marines over the next three years. The Panel urges the Department to consider an MSG Detachment at most foreign posts throughout the world. At those very small posts with few Americans, and where it is not practical to supplement the post with at least six Marines, the Panel recommends that the Department reduce or eliminate the amount of classified or sensitive equipment and material at these posts. Further, the Panel believes that the Marines should be used only for purposes approved in the Memorandum of Understanding and all MSGs should be armed.

The Panel understands that the Department of State's increasing demands place a substantial strain on the Marine Corps for manpower resources. The Panel recommends that the Department of State cooperate with the Marine Corps in supporting its manpower needs and it should ensure that professional security officers provide regular guidance to the detachments, particularly at those posts where there is no resident RSO.


Some of the problems encountered in protecting personnel and facilities overseas can be attributed to a lack of uniform security standards and procedural guidance. Of the major foreign affairs agencies, only the Department of State has published a set of standards. Those standards were developed several years ago to impede forced entry into the Department's buildings and to protect personnel against acts of terrorism and mob violence. The standards do not address security measures for ancillary buildings.

The format, limited distribution, and apparent need for revision dilute the potential effectiveness of the Department of State standards. The standards are distributed to security officers and specialists. Posts without security officers may not have the standards available. Furthermore, the standards are subject to interpretation. For example, there is no direct relationship between the threat category of a post and the security measures that may be required. Lacking specificity in this vital area, the standards imply that every post requires the same level of protection.

The Department of State standards do not adequately address the need to employ interim measures to cope with fast-developing, threatening situations. Failure to use a truck to block the Beirut Embassy driveway on 20 September 1984 was cited by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as the most significant contributing factor to the bombing.

The Department of State standards provide reasonable guidance for office building security, including public access controls and safe havens. However, perimeter security -including walls, gates, guards, and vehicle barriers -- is not addressed adequately.

The Department of State acknowledged a need to adopt uniform standards, and stated that the requirement will be addressed in future meetings of the Overseas Security Policy Group. The Department of-State also acknowledged that the distribution of the standards should be widened and that the Foreign Affairs Manual would be an appropriate method for doing this. The Panel has been advised that the Department of State is pursuing an aggressive Research and Development effort in its attempt to acquire equipment and establish procedures and standards for improved perimeter security. The Department of State is sharing this information with the other foreign affairs agencies.

Physical Security of Other Foreign Affairs Agencies
The other foreign affairs agencies have not published their own physical security standards except for certain specific functions. AID and USIA are normally located in separate facilities overseas, and while they have not published their own standards, they have adopted, and follow to varying degrees, the 'Department of State standards. With the inadequacies of the Department's standards in mind, the complexities and resource implications of protecting all foreign affairs facilities and personnel create a problem of enormous proportions that requires immediate attention. For example, AID will receive approximately 5 million dollars of the Department of State's 1985 supplemental security funding; however, that amount is not sufficient to meet AID's total requirement to retrofit many inadequate facilities or acquire new office spaces. Furthermore, the 5 million dollars cannot be used for additional security specialists or support personnel needed to administer the Agency's security enhancement program.

The Panel believes that it would be ideal, from a management point of view, to establish one set of physical security standards for all foreign affairs agencies, but recognizes the difficulties this proposal would create for some agencies such as AID and USIA. One of the major arguments against a single set of standards is the reality that these agencies operate overseas for indefinite periods which often require that their operations be directed from temporary, leased facilities. In many cases, and for a number of operational needs, those facilities cannot be located within the Chancery or Embassy compound. For example, the USIA operates bi-national centers and libraries outside the capital of many countries in order to reach selected audiences. Voice of America radio sites must often be located in remote areas in order to reach their broadcast audiences.

Regardless of their location, however, the Panel is convinced that the agencies must follow a set of current physical security standards. While our Embassies will continue to be the primary targets for acts of terrorism, hardening them will surely highlight the vulnerability of AID, USIA, and other agencies' facilities to future terrorist attacks.

The Panel has learned recently that USIA has initiated appropriate action to develop physical security standards for its facilities overseas. AID has advised the Panel that the development of physical security standards was one of that Agency's highest priorities.

The Department of Commerce expressed to the Panel its concern for "the increased threat of terrorist attack to US government offices in leased facilities away from the embassy chancery, as well as to US business interests overseas, that will occur as the present embassy security-enhancement program progresses." To cope with its perception of the threat to approximately 30 commercially leased Foreign Commercial Service facilities, as well as US companies abroad, "The US and Foreign Commercial Service is presently establishing systematic inspection procedures for all its installations, domestic as well as foreign." The Commerce Department has requested that the Department of State, through its Regional Security Officers, provide assistance in the conduct of the inspections. The adequacy of security standards will be examined during the inspections. In examining its overall security requirements, the Commerce Department is evaluating its 1981 Overseas Security Support Agreement with the Department of State to determine how well it is meeting the needs of the US and Foreign Commercial Service. The Commerce Department also expressed its desire to become an active participant in the deliberations of the American Private Sector Overseas Security Advisory Council, the Interdepartmental Group on Terrorism, and the Overseas Security Policy Group. The Panel commends the Department of Commerce for its initiative and aggressive efforts to improve the safety of its personnel and facilities overseas.

Physical Security Procedures Guide
The Department of State has not published a procedural guide to assist posts, particularly those without security officers, in maintaining effective physical security measures after a security system has been installed. The Panel believes that posts without professional security officers may be vulnerable because they may not fully appreciate the capabilities and/or limiting factors of their security systems.

The Department of State has reviewed the need to establish a physical security procedural guide to assist posts in maintaining effective security. It has determined that such a guide is needed and has initiated appropriate action to develop one. The guide will be a supplement to the revised physical security standards and outline the correct procedures that should be followed in the use of a security system. According to the Department of State, the manual will include "procedural considerations, typical operational scenarios, and general guidelines for security planning."

New Threat Category List
The Department of State and some of the other foreign affairs agencies indicated that the current Post Threat Category Listing, produced quarterly by the Department of State's Threat Analysis Group, is used as one means of establishing priorities to allocate resources and develop security measures. While the current listing has been of value to consumers in identifying threat levels for the short term, it has not proven to be of similar value when addressing long term threats. Security professionals and post officials experience difficulties with establishing priorities and developing long range plans because of the frequent changes in the posts' threat categories. Furthermore, agencies such as USIA and AID which use the listing are not afforded an opportunity to provide input during its production. Thus, the Panel concludes that a requirement exists to establish a Special Threat Category Listing to address long-term threat projections. This new listing would not replace the current listing but would serve as an additional planning tool for management.

Residential and Personal Security
Although the United States has increased the level of resources to cope with the threats of terrorism and mob violence directed against diplomatic personnel and facilities, crime involving United States employees and their families overseas continues to be a serious problem that has not been adequately addressed by the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies. The lack of a uniform personal and residential security program has caused morale problems because of employee perceptions of unequal treatment, in terms of security services, which is provided by the agencies.

The Panel believes that the Department of State and the other foreign affairs agencies need to focus additional attention, particularly in the area of resources, on residential and personal security overseas. While the Panel notes the recent efforts of the foreign affairs agencies in developing new standards through its members on the Overseas Security Policy Group, the Panel is concerned because the publication of those standards has been delayed by the Department of State. As the last agency to clear the standards for release, the Department of State has taken several months to clear the standards. The Panel is convinced that the Department of State must expedite the publication of the standards.

Overseas Security Policy Group
To remedy some of the inconsistencies in the level of security afforded to facilities, personnel, and homes overseas by the foreign affairs agencies, the Department of State took the lead and established an interagency working group entitled the Overseas Security Policy Group. The group is chaired by the Secretary of State's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security and includes the directors of security from the other foreign affairs agencies.

The Panel expressed some concern for the informal status of the group because its membership and proposed activities were not defined in a formal charter. The Department of State has instituted appropriate procedures to formalize the establishment of the group. The duties of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security, as chairman of the group, have been added to the Foreign Affairs Manual. Furthermore, the Office of Security is working with the Office of Legal Affairs and the other members of the group to develop a formal charter.

The Panel supports the concept of the Overseas Security Policy Group and believes that a coordinated approach by the foreign affairs agencies will improve the security of our personnel and facilities overseas.

Armored Vehicle Program
The Panel is satisfied that the technical standards established for the armored vehicle program, including light and fully armored vehicles, are reasonable. However, the Panel is concerned with the new Department of State armored vehicle policy statement that was released recently. While the Panel concurs with the new policy, it noted that a vital link was omitted from the policy statement. Specifically, the armored car policy statement does not contain procedures governing the use of the vehicles. The Department of State has assumed that posts are already aware of the correct procedures and use of armored vehicles.

Procurement of Foreign-Made Official Vehicles
In October, 1984 the Department of State revised its policy for the acquisition (purchase and lease) of official motor vehicles by authorizing posts to procure foreign-made vehicles to provide greater flexibility and more economical vehicle operations overseas. While it has been a policy of the Department of State to procure US manufactured vehicles for official purposes, the Department of State reassessed its policy in light of:

-- tighter operating budgets and increasing costs;

-- the automobile market has become more internationalized and improved levels of maintenance and service are available overseas:

-- costs to maintain American-made cars or modify them to meet local requirements have increased; and

-- the growing concern for personal security with the use and identification of U.S.-made vehicles.

Some posts expressed their concerns about driving large American cars in overseas locations that are better suited, in terms of maneuverability, to smaller foreign cars. Furthermore, the conspicuousness of driving a large American car, they argue correctly, runs counter to the security philosophy of maintaining a low profile in high threat areas. Given a reasonable period of time for implementation, the revised vehicle procurement policy should eventually allay these concerns and result in an improved level of personal security. The policy contains a reasonable degree of flexibility to address "unexpected and urgent need(s), or to enhance a security situation".

Security Inspections and Surveys
Acquisition of new buildings, installation of sophisticated and expensive security systems, and the publication of physical security standards are vital ingredients in an effective post security program. However, without effective program monitoring, the Panel concludes that the "back to business as usual" attitude will return to threaten the effectiveness of our domestic and overseas security programs. Therefore, the Panel believes that an efficient and effective program of security inspections and surveys can serve as an important monitoring tool for security program directors.

The Panel is aware that the foreign affairs agencies now conduct security inspections and surveys of their facilities within the United States and overseas to ensure compliance with security policies. For example, the Regional Security Officer assigned to a post is required to conduct a comprehensive security survey every two years. The survey addresses all aspects of security and covers all agencies in the Mission. In addition to the surveys, the Regional Security Officer conducts a number of other security inspections including residential security inspections to determine the adequacy of security for employees' homes.

In addition to the inspections and surveys done at post by the Regional Security Officer, a host of other security inspections are conducted by the other foreign affairs agencies. At a minimum these inspections are done annually, and it is not uncommon for a post to host concurrently several agency security officers. At many high threat posts, these inspections are conducted more frequently.

The Panel is also aware of numerous complaints voiced by several posts for the flurry of visiting security officers to posts before, during, and particularly after a threat situation. While the purposes of the visits are not questioned, the demonstrated lack of coordination between agencies has resulted often in confusion, conflicting recommendations between agencies on appropriate security requirements, and on at least one occasion, embarrassment to two Departments.

The Panel is convinced that the subject of security inspections and surveys should be placed on the agenda of the Overseas Security Policy Group in order to identify the cause of existing difficulties and to develop appropriate solutions. The whole range of issues related to the need for so many inspections and surveys should also be examined. When and where appropriate, the group should attempt to reduce the number of separate agency inspections with a goal of promoting joint inspections.


Unlike most U.S. Government organizations, the foreign affairs agencies are required by the nature of their missions to locate their facilities in overseas environments over which the U.S. can exert only limited control and which thus make our presence highly vulnerable to a number of potential threats. Non-Americans must also be granted a substantial measure of access to these facilities to transact legitimate business encompassing the entire range of U.S. foreign policy interests, including such areas as consular and travel matters, business and commercial affairs, cultural and information exchange, and foreign assistance programs. Thus, circumstances dictate that only limited options exist in selecting sites for, and establishing access to, our offices in foreign countries.

Within these constraints, however, there does exist room for valid and appropriate security concerns to be taken fully into account in managing our overseas activities. The history of attacks and assaults against our facilities has enabled us to draw some conclusions and act on them. We have increased the number and quality of protective methods such as Public Access Controls, protective film on windows, closed-circuit television and improved perimeter defenses. The use of explosive-laden vehicles has, however, proven to be a particularly devastating weapon, and major new efforts to defend against this form of attack have been taken.

Unfortunately, perimeter defenses against incursions of a suicide vehicle are effective only when there is sufficient space to prevent the vehicle from gaining close access to a building. In many cases, embassies and other buildings are located directly along busy public roads and streets that cannot be closed or changed. In other cases, embassies are tenants in buildings they occupy exclusively or, in some cases, share with others. In still other cases, the buildings embassies occupy, whether owned or leased, do not lend themselves to modern security defense techniques because of their age or architecture. And finally, there are cases where our chanceries are rented from landlords who do not permit structural or other permanent security-related changes to be made to their buildings.

The process of obtaining new buildings abroad (whether through construction or purchase) or renovating existing ones is excessively complex, time consuming and has been inadequately funded. This has meant that we have fallen further and further behind on capital projects.

The threat of technical penetration of United States diplomatic facilities has been of major concern since World War II. The techniques used by hostile governments have shown a steady increase in sophistication and subtlety. The threat is greater now than it has ever been and United States missions are at risk in many parts of the world. While the greatest risk to United States diplomatic facilities is within the Soviet Union, technical attacks have occurred in a number of other facilities worldwide.

From the foregoing the Panel has drawn some general conclusions:

-- The United States must control the buildings in which it does business overseas.

-- Location is the paramount consideration in the avoidance of assault and penetration of every kind. Being on the busiest or most fashionable street or corner may have been an asset in earlier days; today it is a liability.

-- Co-location with occupants whom the United States neither chooses nor controls presents a substantial risk for assault and penetration.

-- Proximity is a vital concern when other buildings abut or are so close that modern electronic and audio techniques can make it extremely difficult to safeguard national security information.

-- Age, architecture, and design are crucial to the ability to defend against penetration and assault. Many buildings simply cannot be upgraded to the standards that are necessary today.

-- Adequate funding and a new approach to overseas construction are essential. The old, business-as-usual approach cannot meet the new requirements.

The Department of State's Office of Foreign Buildings and the Central Intelligence Agency recently prepared two separate analyses of the condition and location of the chanceries and principal offices of the Department's 262 overseas posts. In particular, each building was assessed for three security characteristics: (1) whether it met the Department's current minimum physical security standards for construction quality and distance from the external perimeter barriers; (2) whether it shared a 'common wall' with adjacent structures; and (3) whether the Department shared the structure with other non-U.S. Government tenants, and thus did not completely control the building. These three characteristics represent a significant security threat by terrorist and/or hostile intelligence access and targeting of our facilities. Each one presents a valid reason for either relocating from the current space into improved facilities, or undertaking extensive and usually very expensive renovations of the property to improve basic security.

The Panel has concluded that 126 of the posts require replacement for one, two or (in two cases) all three of the reasons cited above. In some cases, at least at the present time, the amount of risk from any of the threatening categories would be marginal. However, another lesson the Department of State has learned in the past twenty years is that things change. The peaceful neighborhood, city, or country of yesterday can be a hotbed of terrorism, insurgency, or violence tomorrow. Buildings that were designed, located, and constructed most carefully in the past may now be unacceptable from a security standpoint.

The Panel believes that this situation cannot be allowed to continue unchanged. As shown by the bombings and takeovers of our embassy buildings in the Middle East in recent years, as well as by the levels of electronic and other eavesdropping activities by our adversaries, there are simply too many risks to our diplomatic personnel and activities at posts with these vulnerabilities to allow these buildings to remain potential targets for such threats.

There is no prescription that will guarantee the safety and integrity of every workplace overseas, but it is possible to reduce known and foreseen risks by embarking on a deliberate effort to modify those buildings that do meet the location criteria, and by relocating and moving from those buildings that do not.

The Department's Office of Foreign Buildings has recently completed a detailed analysis of the requirements for undertaking a Building Program of this size. The 126 posts could be replaced or renovated within a seven year time frame, given the requisite resources along with certain proposed legislative changes in the Department's basic authorities in the areas of budgeting, personnel recruitment and procurement. The program would require an estimated 1,013 personnel and a total of nearly $3.5 billion over five budget years, as well as the application of a number of new procedural and organizational methods.

The Panel strongly recommends that the Department of State embark on this long-range plan to renovate or replace its office buildings at those 126 listed posts in order to minimize the potential for future security-related incidents that could lead to significant damage, loss of life, or compromise of national security information.

The Department of State is not the sole U.S. civilian agency having a large number of vulnerable office facilities overseas. The United States Information Agency (USIA), Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service, and Agency for International Development (AID) also have a number of vulnerable facilities located outside of Department of State compounds throughout the world.

USIA identified 121 separate overseas facilities that did not meet these physical security standards and that were candidates for relocation or upgrading. The Foreign Commercial Service does not at this point know which of its 34 separate overseas facilities need specific security improvements. These facilities will be surveyed to gather this data in the near future. AID identified 40 of its major separate installations as not meeting minimum physical security standards and requiring replacement or major renovation. Relatively minor security upgrades are suggested for an additional 15 smaller AID facilities.

Thus, a total of at least 210 separate USIA, Foreign Commercial Service and AID offices are candidates for inclusion in the Building Program. It is extremely important that these facilities be included in this program because they could also become the target for terrorist or other security threats, particularly as the State Department compounds are increasingly made less vulnerable. In addition, several thousand U.S. Government employees, American as well as Foreign Service National (FSN), work in these buildings.

Given the magnitude and the technical nature of this work effort, the Office of Foreign Buildings should take the lead in managing this program on behalf of these agencies, particularly when a construction or renovation project is called for. In fact, it would be best if the program were developed and presented to the Congress as a coordinated joint effort involving the Department of State, USIA, Foreign Commercial Service, AID and all other agencies affected by it.

The development of this Building Program will require a great deal of preparation and analysis. The specific security-related environment and conditions at each facility must be carefully reviewed. Not all buildings will need the same treatment. In some cases, it may be possible to effect the necessary improvements through providing specific equipment or undertaking various levels of building renovation. At other posts leased facilities could be relocated to better buildings and sites. A number of current facilities will undoubtedly need to be replaced by new construction projects. In each case, priorities for the extent and timing of the work will need to be established. These priorities should be based on a number of important criteria, such as the threat level, condition and location of the building; the site itself and the adequacy of perimeter barriers; and comparative cost.

The Department has learned much about managing and administering large-scale, world wide security activities as a result of recent efforts, such as the 1980 Security Enhancement Program and the 1982 European Security Supplemental. These programs have clearly demonstrated the necessity of assuring that the administrative and logistical offices that support these security activities receive adequate levels of additional resources. Without these resources, they cannot effectively perform their important support functions, and the result will be missed deadlines and unfinished projects. Among these key support activities are the Office of Foreign Buildings, the Executive Office of the Bureau of Administration, the Office of Operations, the Office of Personnel, and the Comptroller's Office. The Department should assure that adequate administrative and logistical support resources, in terms of personnel, funding and systems and procedures, are available to these offices to support the significantly increased level of security and construction activity that will be required to meet future security threats.

The two Department of State areas that will be most immediately involved in the planning and execution of the recommended Building Program are the Physical Security Division of the Office of Security and the Office of Foreign Buildings. The technical and managerial expertise in the fields of construction and security renovations are concentrated in these two staffs, which currently work closely together on a wide range of projects. In order to clarify the roles of these two offices in the new office building program, the security personnel necessary to support these projects should report directly to the Office of Foreign Buildings. It would also be appropriate for the related support personnel in the communications and automated systems fields to report directly to the Office of Foreign Buildings, for purposes of maintaining more centralized control over this program. The expanded application of two managerial techniques currently in use is also encouraged. These techniques are the "turn-key" project concept in which a single contractor is given total responsibility for a project from start to finish under the Department's general overview, and the "critical path" technique of managing a project by identifying and monitoring key points at which bottlenecks and delays could develop.

As part of the recent FY 1985 Security Supplemental request, the Department was given special authorities to contract directly with suppliers for needed goods and service, and to enter into personal services contracts with U.S. citizens overseas. Unfortunately, the implementation of these measures has been hindered by ambiguities in the extent of this authority and possible legal considerations. In order to maximize the benefits flowing from these special authorities and to permit rapid response to security requirements, these ambiguities should be clarified.

The Department could also benefit from improvements in the automated data processing (ADP) and word processing (WP) systems and procedures currently applied to security activities. In particular, the Department lacks an effective data base management system that can provide senior management with rapid, comprehensive and accurate status reports on both individual security projects and the overall security function. At the present time, such information is assembled from a number of sources in a time-consuming process. As a result, it is difficult to guarantee that the Department is making the best use of its resources, or that it is even possible to monitor security activities on a day-by-day basis. The Department should develop and implement a comprehensive, centralized data-base management system that will be updated regularly. This system would permit regular reports on the status of all security- and construction-related projects to both management and operational personnel in the Department.

A final consideration in planning the buildings program concerns the future use of Foreign Service National (FSN) employees by the foreign affairs community. Currently, over 11,000 FSN's are employed in a wide range of positions at virtually all overseas posts. It is a well- and long-known fact that there are security-related drawbacks to employing FSN's. However, there are measures that would do much to minimize the potential dangers to our national security posed by the use of FSN's. In particular, the new Building Program provides the opportunity to include separate sensitive and non-sensitive work areas in the planning process for all future facilities. As a policy, Foreign Service National employees should-be restricted from access to the sensitive work areas.


The sheer size and complexity of the Building Program proposed in this Report represents a startling deviation from the workloads and priorities that have been previously applied to overseas building activities. Over 344 offices in as many as 130 countries may be involved in one way or another in this work effort over the coming decade or longer. As such, new methods are called for to assure that this program can be implemented effectively. New methods for budgeting and funding the process must be installed since the present method clearly would not suffice.

The current budgeting procedures used by the Department of State for its foreign buildings activities have several disadvantages. These procedures lead to delays and stretch-outs in the amount of time required to complete a building project. They can cause decisions on priorities and funding to be based on project costs rather than on security or other operational criteria. They can force building projects, which are essentially capital investments, to compete for funding against other non-investment programs in the budget. Finally, they do not permit flexible responses to short-term real estate opportunities that regularly arise overseas.

Given the indisputable requirement for these new facilities, and the magnitude of the resources and overall workload involved, the Panel believes that a new funding approach is needed to assure that these projects will be funded adequately and accomplished expeditiously. This new approach, termed the Capital Budgeting system, will permit significantly greater flexibility and will enable decisions on buildings to be made outside of a situation, such as the present one, that unjustly forces capital investments to compete for funding against day-to-day operations. The Department of State should seek the approval of Congress to implement this new Capital Budgeting system for planning and funding the office buildings required to minimize the security-related threats to our overseas facilities.


American citizens living or traveling abroad as well as American business people and installations have been the targets of terrorist attacks in many parts of the world. Incidents such as kidnapping of newsmen and academics in Lebanon, missionaries in Africa, and businessmen in Latin America, and the killing of Rockwell employees in Iran are examples of the threat faced by non-official Americans abroad.

The United States Government does not have a direct responsibility for providing a secure environment in which non-official overseas Americans can work, live, or travel. There is, however, a moral obligation to provide assistance, advice, guidance, and information that can enable citizens, businesses, or other organizations to enhance their own protection.

In most cases non-official Americans are served by the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate. Americans resident in foreign countries are always urged to register with the Embassy or Consulate and to be in touch during a time of crisis or unrest. In addition, an important step has been taken to enhance the security coordination between the overseas private Americans and the United States Government.

The Department of State has established a formal organization, the American Private Sector Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)) To promote coordination between American overseas business and private sector interest and Department of State overseas security programs..

The Council, which has a full-time staff, is located in Washington and plans to conduct its first meeting on July 1, 1985.


Panel Members

Admiral Bobby R. Inman, USN (Ret.), Chairman
Senator Warren B. Rudman
Congressman Daniel A. Mica
Ambassador Lawrence S. Eagleburger
Ambassador Anne L. Armstrong
Lieutenant General D' Wayne Gray, USMC
Mr. Robert J. McGuire
Victor H. Dikeos, Executive Secretary

Staff Members

John P. Shumate, Staff Director
Robert Beaudry, Staff Member
David McCabe, Staff Member
Marry Manchester, Staff Member
Mark A. Safford, Staff Member
Nina J. Stewart, Staff Member
Jean M. Blatz, researcher
Janet Goldman, researcher
Peggy Coyle, secretary
Nancy Hall, secretary
Betsey Fountain, receptionist

[end of document]

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