Office of Inspections

Sandra Lewis
Assistant Inspector General for Inspections




The Office of Inspections provides the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for Global Media with systematic and independent assessments of mission leadership, policy implementation, resource management, and management controls. Inspections assess the effectiveness of programs; identify potential efficiencies and cost-saving measures; encourage self-evaluation and correction; and identify problems and recommend solutions.  The office’s work encompasses both overseas and domestic operations.

Inspections cover three broad areas as set forth in the Foreign Service Act of 1980:

The Office of Inspections also conducts thematic reviews of programs and operations such as foreign assistance oversight, U.S. embassy security, consular affairs management, and efforts to counter terrorism, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and other crisis and post-conflict areas.  

The Office of Inspections also occasionally conducts compliance follow-up reviews to assess the implementation of recommendations made in previously published inspection reports.

The Foreign Service Act of 1980 requires that an inspection of each Foreign Service post and each domestic bureau be conducted at least once every 5 years, although this requirement is routinely waived every year by Congress.  OIG’s methodology for investing its resources includes a risk management approach to prioritize projects and to ensure that our discretionary inspections address high-cost programs, key management challenges, and vital operations. The OIG retains a quick-reaction capability to address requests made on short notice by Congress or senior Department officials. Inspections staff also conduct extensive outreach activities, briefing attendees of Foreign Service Institute courses as well as numerous officers, including ambassadors, before they depart for post.