Snapshot: State Dept’s Largest Geographic Bureau and Its "Difficult" Headaches

The OIG recently published online its review of the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Some interesting items:
  • EUR is the largest geographic bureau in the Department of State (Department), with 322 direct-hire and 40 contractor employees domestically, and 1,863 U.S. direct-hire and approximately 10,000 locally employed staff positions overseas, in 50 missions and 29 constituent posts.
  • Total FY 2010 budget resources (domestic and overseas) for EUR are just under $604 million (excluding salaries for direct-hire Americans and foreign assistance). In addition to a geographic focus that stretches from Greenland to Vladivostok, EUR also operates as a de facto functional bureau in several specific areas of responsibility.
  • Led by an Assistant Secretary, a principal deputy assistant secretary (PDAS) and six DASes, EUR’s 17 offices oversee and support the work of 80 posts, accredited to 47 countries and four multilateral organizations. The bureau also supports the work of four special envoys.
  • At the present time, 25 of the 45 ambassadors at EUR’s 50 overseas posts are political appointees. (Five EUR posts are currently without ambassadors.) While most ambassadors perform admirably, the front office, office directors, and desk officers spend an inordinate amount of time handling issues related to a small number of “difficult” noncareer ambassadors. This has been a drain on human and resource capital, both at the posts concerned and in the bureau.
  • HR’s FY 2010 target for linked Afghanistan-Iraq-Pakistan assignments is 170. As in past years, the human resources division will fully comply with the Department’s linked assignments policy. Historically, EUR accounts for approximately 20 to 25 percent of all linked assignments, so it can expect to have between 34 and 42 of these assignments in the 2011 open assignments cycle.
  • Unlike in prior years, however, EUR is prepared to refuse linked assignments to a specific mission this year, once it can be demonstrated that the mission has done its fair share.
Source:State Department/EUR

Related item:
OIG Report No. ISP-I-11-22 – Inspection of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs – March 2011