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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 10, 2000


Today I am announcing initiatives to further improve the security of American men and women serving their country in diplomatic and consular missions overseas and to ensure that the United States performs these activities in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

I intend to request $1.1 billion in my budget for fiscal year 2001 for embassy security initiatives including construction of new facilities, additional protective measures for existing facilities, and the full cost of maintaining a high level of security readiness. The budget also includes a sustained commitment to this effort, including $14 billion over the next 10 years in security enhancement funding and new construction. I will again ask the Congress to provide advance appropriations for the construction of new facilities in future years to provide a solid foundation on which to plan and execute the embassy security construction program.

We must continue to reexamine how we manage and protect all US Government employees who work overseas. Last year, following on the excellent work of Admiral Crowe and the Accountability Review board, the Secretary of State appointed a panel, chaired by Lewis Kaden, to review our overseas operations. The Overseas Presence Advisory Panel included a distinguished array of individuals with diplomatic, military and governmental experience, as well as important members of the business community. The Panel's report last November recommended a wide range of improvements in rightsizing, managing, improving, and protecting our staff who work abroad. The report also recommended changes to the way our representatives overseas work as a team in support of American interests and in the management and financing of US Government overseas facilities.

The Panel has made an important contribution to our Nation's security and the conduct of international affairs. My budget proposals reflect and fully support their recommendation that a greater commitment is needed in this critical area. I also agree with their recommendation for review and improvement in the way we manage our overseas presence.

I have asked the Secretary of State to lead a cabinet committee to implement the Panel's recommendations regarding rightsizing. This process will look at the full range of agency staff who serve in US missions abroad, and make recommendations about the appropriate levels and skills with which we should staff our embassies in the new century. It will also review and make recommendations regarding the management, financing, and computerization of overseas facilities.

I ask the Congress to join me in working to protect America's presence throughout the world and to ensure that we maintain the best and most effective presence overseas to serve America's interests.