Each year, in accordance with the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000,1 the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of State (Department) identifies the most significant management and performance challenges facing the Department and provides a brief assessment of the Department’s progress in addressing those challenges. We evaluate progress primarily through our compliance process, which tracks and assesses the Department’s efforts to implement corrective actions related to OIG recommendations. We determine challenges by taking a qualitative and holistic view of our body of oversight work, giving particular weight to common issues that appear to impact the Department systemically. While focusing largely on those issues that are most persistent and longstanding, we use the unique window our work gives us into the programs and operations of the Department to highlight emergent issues that we see becoming more pervasive in our reporting.
Although our methodology for developing this report—as just described—is largely unchanged, consistent readers will notice a few updates to the report’s format and substance this year. Aesthetically, we gave the report a more modern look and represented information graphically where possible to make the information contained in this report easier to digest and more visually compelling. Substantively, we streamlined our assessment of the Department’s challenges and progress toward addressing those challenges. At a fundamental level, the major management and performance challenges affecting the Department are unchanged. Although the Department continues to struggle with the same issues, we simplified and reframed the representation of these issues to make this report more accessible, not only to the Department, but to all OIG stakeholders, including Congress and the public.
With that in mind, OIG identified the following major management and performance challenges facing the Department:
- Safety and Security: Deficiencies that implicate the Department’s ability to ensure the safety and security of its personnel and their families, its facilities and other property, or its information.
- Stewardship: Deficiencies that implicate the Department’s ability to efficiently and effectively manage its significant resources, financial and otherwise.
- Staffing and Organizational Structure: Deficiencies that implicate the Department’s ability to manage its human capital and design and maintain an organizational structure that conveys clear lines of authority and responsibility.
Additionally, we highlight throughout this report some of the difficulties the Department faces when operating in contingency environments and crisis situations. Our oversight work offers examples that reveal weaknesses in the Department’s ability to quickly adjust in response to contingency and crisis situations. Although this clearly represents a challenge for the Department in the plain sense of the word, we prefer to assess it here as a cross-cutting issue that has implications for the three major challenges identified above.
Lastly, this document includes examples of OIG reports and findings completed in FY 2023 that illustrate these challenge areas. In addition to publicly available work, OIG issues Sensitive But Unclassified2 and Classified reports throughout the year. Although we are unable to discuss these reports publicly, many of the findings in them reinforce our assessment of these management challenges.
 The Reports Consolidation Act of 2000, § 3, Public Law 106-531 (amending 31 United States Code [U.S.C.] § 3516)
 Sensitive But Unclassified material is information that is not classified for national security reasons, but warrants/requires administrative control and protection from public or other unauthorized disclosure for other reasons.