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Diplomatic Security: State Should Enhance Its Management of Transportation-Related Risks to Overseas US Personnel.


US diplomatic personnel posted overseas continue to face threats to their security. According to State, personnel and their families are particularly vulnerable when traveling outside the relative security of diplomatic work facilities or residences. In many serious or fatal attacks on US personnel over the last three decades, victims were targeted while in motorcades, official vehicles, or otherwise in transit. GAO was asked to review how State manages transportation-related security risks to US diplomatic personnel overseas. For this report, GAO evaluated the extent to which State, with regard to transportation security at overseas posts, has (1) established policies, guidance, and monitoring; (2) provided personnel with training; and (3) communicated time-sensitive information. GAO reviewed agency documents and met with key officials in Washington, DC. GAO also reviewed policies from a judgmental sample of 26 posts-primarily higher-threat, higher-risk locations-and conducted fieldwork and met with officials at 9 of these posts. This is the public version of a sensitive but unclassified report issued in September 2016. GAO is making eight recommendations in this report to help State improve its management of transportation-related security risks by enhancing associated policies, guidance, and monitoring; clarifying its requirements for refresher briefings; and better communicating time-sensitive information. State agreed to take steps for all but one recommendation-the need to clarify its requirements for refresher briefings. GAO continues to believe this is needed as discussed in the report.

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