The Inman Report
Report of the Secretary of State's
Advisory Panel on Overseas Security


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.





The Inman Report
Report of the Secretary of State's
Advisory Panel on Overseas Security