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


Unlike most U.S. Government organizations, the foreign affairs agencies are required by the nature of their missions to locate their facilities in overseas environments over which the U.S. can exert only limited control and which thus make our presence highly vulnerable to a number of potential threats. Non-Americans must also be granted a substantial measure of access to these facilities to transact legitimate business encompassing the entire range of U.5. foreign policy interests, including such areas as consular and travel matters, business and commercial affairs, cultural and information exchange, and foreign assistance programs. Thus, circumstances dictate that only limited options exist in selecting sites for, and establishing access to, our offices in foreign countries.

Within these constraints, however, there does exist room for valid and appropriate security concerns to be taken fully into account in managing our overseas activities. The history of attacks and assaults against our facilities has enabled us to draw some conclusions and act on them. We have increased the number and quality of protective methods such as Public Access Controls, protective film on windows, closed-circuit television and improved perimeter defenses. The use of explosive-laden vehicles has, however, proven to be a particularly devastating weapon, and major new efforts to defend against this form of attack have been taken.

Unfortunately, perimeter defenses against incursions of a suicide vehicle are effective only when there is sufficient space to prevent the vehicle from gaining close access to a building. In many cases, embassies and other buildings are located directly along busy public roads and streets that cannot be closed or changed. In other cases, embassies are tenants in buildings they occupy exclusively or, in some cases, share with others. In still other cases, the buildings embassies occupy, whether owned or leased, do not lend themselves to modern security defense techniques because of their age or architecture. And finally, there are cases where our chanceries are rented from landlords who do not permit structural or other permanent security-related changes to be made to their buildings.

The process of obtaining new buildings abroad (whether through construction or purchase) or renovating existing ones is excessively complex, time consuming and has been inadequately funded. This has meant that we have fallen further and further behind on capital projects.

The threat of technical penetration of United States diplomatic facilities has been of major concern since World War II. The techniques used by hostile governments have shown a steady increase in sophistication and subtlety. The threat is greater now than it has ever been and United States missions are at risk in many parts of the world. While the greatest risk to United States diplomatic facilities is within the Soviet Union, technical attacks have occurred in a number of other facilities worldwide.

From the foregoing the Panel has drawn some general conclusions:

-- The United States must control the buildings in which it does business overseas.

-- Location is the paramount consideration in the avoidance of assault and penetration of every kind. Being on the busiest or most fashionable street or corner may have been an asset in earlier days; today it is a liability.

-- Co-location with occupants whom the United States neither chooses nor controls presents a substantial risk for assault and penetration.

-- Proximity is a vital concern when other buildings abut or are so close that modern electronic and audio techniques can make it extremely difficult to safeguard national security information.

-- Age, architecture, and design are crucial to the ability to defend against penetration and assault. Many buildings simply cannot be upgraded to the standards that are necessary today.

-- Adequate funding and new approach to overseas construction are essential. The old, business-as-usual approach cannot meet the new requirements.

The Department of State's Office of Foreign Buildings and the Central Intelligence Agency recently prepared two separate analyses of the condition and location of the chanceries and principal offices of the Department's 262 overseas posts. In particular, each building was assessed for three security characteristics: (1) whether it met the Department's current minimum physical security standards for construction quality and distance from the external perimeter barriers; - (2) whether it shared a 'common wall' with adjacent structures; and (3) whether the Department shared the structure with other non-U.S. Government tenants, and thus did not completely control the building. These three characteristics represent a significant security threat by terrorist and/or hostile intelligence access and targeting of our facilities. Each one presents a valid reason for either relocating from the current space into improved facilities, or undertaking extensive and usually very expensive renovations of the property to improve basic security.

The Panel has concluded that 126 of the posts require replacement for one, two or (in two cases) all three of the reasons cited above. In some cases, at least at the present time, the amount of risk from any of the threatening categories would be marginal. However, another lesson the Department of State has learned in the past twenty years is that things change. The peaceful neighborhood, city, or country of yesterday can be a hotbed of terrorism, insurgency, or violence tomorrow. Buildings that were designed, located, and constructed most carefully in the past may now be unacceptable from a security standpoint.

The Panel believes that this situation cannot be allowed to continue unchanged. As shown by the bombings and takeovers of our embassy buildings in the Middle East in recent years, as well as by the levels of electronic and other eavesdropping activities by our adversaries, there are simply too many risks to our diplomatic personnel and activities at posts with these vulnerabilities to allow these buildings to remain potential targets for such threats.

There is no prescription that will guarantee the safety and integrity of every workplace overseas, but it is possible to reduce known and foreseen risks by embarking on a deliberate effort to modify those buildings that do meet the location criteria, and by relocating and moving from those buildings that do not.

The Department's Office of Foreign Buildings has recently completed a detailed analysis of the requirements for undertaking a Building Program of this size. The 126 posts could be replaced or renovated within a seven year time frame, given the requisite resources along with certain proposed legislative changes in the Department's basic authorities in the areas of budgeting, personnel recruitment and procurement. The program would require an estimated 1,013 personnel and a total of nearly $3.5 billion over five budget years, as well as the application of a number of new procedural and organizational methods.

The Panel strongly recommends that the Department of State embark on this long-range plan to renovate or replace its office buildings at those 126 listed posts in order to minimize the potential for future security-related incidents that could lead to significant damage, loss of life, or compromise of national security information.

The Department of State is not the sole U.S. civilian agency having a large number of vulnerable office facilities overseas. The United States Information Agency (USIA), Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service, and Agency for International Development (AID) also have a number of vulnerable facilities located outside of Department of State compounds throughout the world.

USIA identified 121 separate overseas facilities that did not meet these physical security standards and that were candidates for relocation or upgrading. The Foreign Commercial Service does not at this point know which of its 34 separate overseas facilities need specific security improvements. These facilities will be surveyed to gather this data in the near future. AID identified 40 of its major separate installations as not meeting minimum physical security standards and requiring replacement or major renovation. Relatively minor security upgrades are suggested for an additional 15 smaller AID facilities.

Thus, a total of at least 210 separate USIA, Foreign Commercial Service and AID offices are candidates for inclusion in the Building Program. It is extremely important that these facilities be included in this program because they could also become the target for terrorist or other security threats, particularly as the State Department compounds are increasingly made less vulnerable. In addition, several thousand U.S. Government employees, American as well as Foreign Service National (FSN), work in these buildings.

Given the magnitude and the technical nature of this work effort, the Office of Foreign Buildings should take the lead in managing this program on behalf of these agencies, particularly when a construction or renovation project is called for. In fact, it would be best if the program were developed and presented to the Congress as a coordinated joint effort involving the Department of State, USIA, Foreign Commercial Service, AID and all other agencies affected by it.

The development of this Building Program will require a great deal of preparation and analysis. The specific security-related environment and conditions at each facility must be carefully reviewed. Not all buildings will need the same treatment. In some cases, it may be possible to effect the necessary improvements through providing specific equipment or undertaking various levels of building renovation. At other posts leased facilities could be relocated to better buildings and sites. A number of current facilities will undoubtedly need to be replaced by new construction projects. In each case, priorities for the extent and timing of the work will need to be established. These priorities should be based on a number of important criteria, such as the threat level, condition and location of the building; the site itself and the adequacy of perimeter barriers; and comparative cost.

The Department has learned much about managing and administering large-scale, world wide security activities as a result of recent efforts, such as the 1980 Security Enhancement Program and the 1982 European Security Supplemental. These programs have clearly demonstrated the necessity of assuring that the administrative and logistical offices that support these security activities receive adequate levels of additional resources. Without these resources, they cannot effectively perform their important support functions, and the result will be missed deadlines and unfinished projects. Among these key support activities are the Office of Foreign Buildings, the Executive Office of the Bureau of Administration, the Office of Operations, the Office of Personnel, and the Comptroller's Office. The Department should assure that adequate administrative and logistical support resources, in terms of personnel, funding and systems and procedures, are available to these offices to support the significantly increased level of security and construction activity that will be required to meet future security threats.

The two Department of State areas that will be most immediately involved in the planning and execution of the recommended Building Program are the Physical Security Division of the Office of Security and the Office of Foreign Buildings. The technical and managerial expertise in the fields of construction and security renovations are concentrated in these two staffs, which currently work closely together on a wide range of projects. In order to clarify the roles of these two offices in the new office building program, the security personnel necessary to support these projects should report directly to the Office of Foreign Buildings. It would also be appropriate for the related support personnel in the communications and automated systems fields to report directly to the Office of Foreign Buildings, for purposes of maintaining more centralized control over this program. The expanded application of two managerial techniques currently in use is also encouraged. These techniques are the "turn-key" project concept in which a single contractor is given total responsibility for a project from start to finish under the Department's general overview, and the"critical path" technique of managing a project by identifying and monitoring key points at which bottlenecks and delays could develop.

As part of the recent FY 1985 Security Supplemental request, the Department was given special authorities to contract directly with suppliers for needed goods and service, and to enter into personal services contracts with U.S. citizens overseas. Unfortunately, the implementation of these measures has been hindered by ambiguities in the extent of this authority and possible legal considerations. In order to maximize the benefits flowing from these special authorities and to permit rapid response to security requirements, these ambiguities should be clarified.

The Department could also benefit from improvements in the automated data processing (ADP) and word processing (WP) systems and procedures currently applied to security activities. In particular, the Department lacks an effective data base management system that can provide senior management with rapid, comprehensive and accurate status reports on both individual security projects and the overall security function. At the present time, such information is assembled from a number of sources in a time-consuming process. As a result, it is difficult to guarantee that the Department is making the best use of its resources, or that it is even possible to monitor security activities on a day-by-day basis. The Department should develop and implement a comprehensive, centralized data-base management system that will be updated regularly. This system would permit regular reports on the status of all security- and construction-related projects to both management and operational personnel in the Department.

A final consideration in planning the buildings program concerns the future use of Foreign Service National (FSN) employees by the foreign affairs community. Currently, over 11,000 FSN's are employed in a wide range of positions at virtually all overseas posts. It is a well- and long-known fact that there are security-related drawbacks to employing FSN's. However, there are measures that would do much to minimize the potential dangers to our national security posed by the use of FSN's. In particular, the new Building Program provides the opportunity to include separate sensitive and non-sensitive work areas in the planning process for all future facilities. As a policy, Foreign Service National employees should-be restricted from access to the sensitive work areas.





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