Friday, August 1, 2014

State Releases Report of the Best Practices Panel on Overseas Security

This afternoon the State Department released to the public the report of the Best Practices Panel, and also a fact sheet reporting on the progress it has made so far in implementing the Panel's recommendations. See the press release here.

This is not the 'Grant Green report' on Diplomatic Security Organization and Management - you know, the one somebody leaked to Al Jazeera in May but which has still not been released to the public - but rather a separate review, one conducted by outside experts and with a somewhat broader focus on risk management.

From the press release: 
Today, the State Department made public the report of the Best Practices Panel (BPP), as well as a fact sheet detailing the State Department’s successful efforts to implement 38 recommendations from the panel to better evaluate and improve organization and management of U.S. security platforms.

These actions represent another key step in implementing the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) guidance. Secretary Kerry has focused the Department on implementing the ARB’s recommendations to ensure that we are keeping our personnel safe while serving in a world of increasingly complex security challenges.

The independent ARB on December 19, 2012, issued 29 recommendations. Recommendation four called on the Department to establish a panel of independent military, security and humanitarian experts to identify best practices from other agencies and countries to evaluate U.S. security platforms at high risk, high threat posts. The Department subsequently convened the BPP, composed of five security professionals from several agencies and an international organization. The BPP delivered its final report to the Department on August 29, 2013.

The Panel’s work complemented the review by the independent ARB, adding critical context from the practices of other countries and agencies, as well as the private sector. The BPP made 40 recommendations, and the Department accepted 38. Many recommendations built upon those made by the Benghazi ARB including: establishing a Department-wide risk management model and policy; increasing hard-skills training for the foreign affairs community; and developing a security accountability framework. The Panel emphasized the importance of clear communication strategies on security matters.

The Department appreciates the work of the BPP and will continue the process of implementing its recommendations. The security of Department personnel worldwide remains an ongoing priority for the Secretary and Department leadership.

Click here to view the BPP report.

Click here to view the BPP implementation fact sheet.

The bottom line on implementation is that State rejected two of the Panel's recommendations, accepted and closed 30, and accepted but has not yet closed eight.

Those not accepted were: (1) that the Department should establish an Under Secretary for Diplomatic Security, and (2) that the Department should provide waivers to security standards only "subsequent to the implementation of mitigating measures as agreed by regional bureau or other program managers, advised by DS, and as informed by the Department risk management model."


Anonymous said...

TSB: In order to get comments on this post I think you will need a cooler picture or some music. At least that is what some Fortress Association people are saying. gwb

James said...

I know better than to even touch a report like that, much less read it. Weak people have been struck dumb and blind, I can't take the chance.

TSB said...

You're right. This needs something to punch it up. Dramatic music, maybe.

Anonymous said...

James: How did you know I was dumb and blind? Ok TSB, does this mean there won't be any good training place for State Security people? gwb

TSB said...

GWB: This panel is another group that called for the creation of a foreign service security training facility. Whether State gets one or not depends upon a couple key congressmen and how they interpret the public interest (AKA what's in it for them). Right now, it looks like there isn't enough in it for them.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Re: Anne Applebaum's review. I can't believe she actually read the book and wrote about it without blowing a gasket. Nice to know that her husband is the foreign minister of Poland and that anyone can be that diplomatic. gwb

TSB said...

Anne Applebaum is always gracious, so I'm sure she saved the blown gasket (in diplo-speak, "a frank exchange of views") for a private discussion with her husband. Maybe over wine. And I hope they both had a good laugh at HRC's expense.

Anonymous said...

TSB, James: The charge is that the Isreali's have been tapping Kerry's phone calls but I think it's more science than technology. gwb